I’ve been writing about different ways adultism effects people for my forthcoming book on discrimination against children and youth. Studying a number of ways adultism effects young people, adults, and whole communities, following is part of the summary of what I’ve found.
The Threatening Effects of Adultism
Since adultism is the bias towards adults, young people face it constantly in the organizations and programs that are intended to serve them. Depending on its expression, young people who face adultism in words and treatment may feel physically threatened because adults are always in positions to emotionally, physically, and psychologically harm them.
Even if no harm is imminent, adults routinely use forceful and threatening enough words and gestures to create a feeling of fear and resentment. This kind of environment is not engaging, is not enlivening, and cannot truly teach anything positive to young people of any age.
Youth programs cannot maintain any level of “success” in the presence of these imminent threats towards the very people they’re supposedly serving. The ecology of the child or youth hasn’t been improved or enriched; instead, its been held constant. Young people living in constant fear will ensure the failure of any program and organization eventually.