As an adult, it’s not uncommon to look at the life of a child with a degree of envy. In among all of our larger worries, from health to debt and beyond, who could resist looking at the way children go through life, the innocence they get to have, and wishing we had more of that? We’re probably all guilty of it, from time to time.
However, as much as it would be great to lose the adult worries for a while, we should be cautious with what we wish for. Although, at close quarters, it may look like our kids have a simple life and a carefree existence, it’s really not that easy to be a child in the modern world. And as much as we adults work hard to give our kids what they want, we need to balance that with the ability to give them a break from time to time.
Our kids have never faced more testing
School days are the happiest days of your life, or so the saying goes. In truth, the person who coined that saying probably hadn’t been to university, where you have the same absence of deep responsibility, but a larger budget and your own place to live. While you’re at school, however, your entire existence is driven by school, and the amount of testing that is now foisted upon kids is far beyond what most of us experienced at their age. It’s a pressurised situation, at a time when you’re nothing like fully formed, and kids are being subjected to a level of stress that isn’t good for them.
The outside world sees kids through a harsh eye
If you spend enough time looking at headlines it would be easy to imagine today’s children as feral broods of future criminals. The constant message is that modern kids need a dose of discipline – even though studies show that the current generation of kids care more about the environment, and are more socially aware, than many of those that have gone before them. Perhaps people need to lay off modern kids, let them enjoy their children’s discos, and encourage this enthusiasm for a more ethical world.
Scrutiny is everywhere
When most of us imagine the life of a child, we imagine something pretty much like our lives at their age. The truth is that, whatever age you are, the world that today’s kids live in is very different to the one that we inhabited as kids. If you had an embarrassing moment as a teenager, it might have been the talk of the class, or maybe the school, for an afternoon. Now, those same moments are captured on mobile phones, shared on social media and can travel far and wide. And it doesn’t even need to be something that has actually happened – rumours are easier to spread, which has made bullying a multi-dimensional evil for children to fear.
It’s easy to look at our adult worries and wish we were back in childhood – and it’s great to do whatever we can to make life easier for our kids – but we should never imagine that life is easy for children.