- Child—Generally situated anywhere between the ages of birth and adulthood, in my analysis childhood focuses on birth to the age of youth.
- Youth—Between the ages of child and adult is a unique position called youth. Varying according to cultural tradition, youth can include ages 12 to 18, 12 to 21, 12 to 25, or even 12 to 34.
- Adult—Generally agreed on as a period of general social acceptance, adulthood is commonly seen as the period from age 18 through to being seen as a senior, or older person.
- Older—Also called seniors or geriatrics, older people are treated as a distinct population starting around age 65. They may demonstrate physical or mental signs of aging, or simply be treated differently because of their age.
These four roles in society determine attitudes towards them, and in turn, treatments of them. They aren’t necessarily negative all the time; instead, the treatment variates according to environment, culture, socio-economic background, physical ability, and other identities.
However, in the vast majority of circumstances throughout our society, adults are treated most favorably. Adultcentrism is a dominant feature throughout communities, governments, homes and families, faith-based communities, and even schools.
Adultcentrism is based on adultism, which is bias towards adults. This bias is the central force in causing the three resultant phenomena of pediaphobia, which is the fear of children; ephebiphobia, which is fear of youth; and gerontophobia, which is fear of older people. While all of these are reliant on each other for their emphasis and power, each is rooted in the primary bias towards adults.
The Relationships Between Age Discriminations
Consistently favoring adults leads to these discriminations in a variety of ways. Namely, adultism is used internally by individuals to justify their fears of alternating age groups of which they don’t belong or don’t favor.
Adults may dislike children because they appear remote from behaving, acting, looking like, or becoming adults. This dislike is rationalized by developing a fear due to the perception of remoteness among children. This fear of children is pediaphobia.
I have long contended that in order to address any of these, we must name them accordingly. Now I know that to name any of them, we must name all of them and see how they’re reliant on each other. How’d I do?