What’s Adultism Anyway?

It’s disregarding the intelligence, needs, and opinions of children

Another -ism may be just enough to ruin your summer holiday, but here’s one that begins to make sense the more you think about it. “Adultism” is the way relationships among adults and children are commonly accepted by both parties to be directed by the adult. Yes, parents, educators, and other adults must take responsibility for the care and well-being of children, but that’s not the point. Youth are entitled to agency in their lives … choice and ownership.

Adultism is the dismissal or minimization of the opinions, knowledge, culture, and life experiences of young people simply because they are young.

Understanding adultism is most helpful when we apply it to the messaging we send out to young people. It’s about agency:

The School Discipline Crisis
You can’t talk about student discipline and behavior today without discussing the complex reasons for it.mseanewsfeed.com

John Bell, the founder of YouthBuild, and the author of one of the earliest papers on adultism, suggested that adults consider their interactions with youth through the following lens: