Why you Should Enjoy your Child and Teenage Years
If you're an adult reading this, I'm sure you can relate to wishing you could be an adult when you were a child. What a mistake that was! I am very new to adulthood and already want to cancel my subscription. Unfortunately, that isn't possible. Another thing I wish is that I hadn't wanted to grow up so fast and had just lived in the moment and focused on acting my own age instead of trying to act like someone who was way older than me. Whether that was something as simple as believing I could buy a house at sixteen or starting to drink alcohol at the age of thirteen (btw, I really don't condone under-age drinking - never thought I'd find myself saying this but the law is there for a reason). Instead of wanting to buy a house at such a young age (I blame X Factor on making sixteen look like it was such a grown-up age when in reality you are literally still a child), I wish I had just focused on playing with my toys and not thinking up ways of how I would get the money to buy said house. Instead of starting to drink alcohol at such a young age (even though I don't drink anymore), I wish I had stuck to J20's and lemonade and waited until I was eighteen to start drinking (or just not drink at all). But this post isn't about what I wish I had done as a child/teenager instead of wanting to grow up. This post is about why today's children and teenagers should enjoy this time instead of wishing they were adults...
Let's start off with children. Children are incredibly precious and are either keen to grow up or are forced to grow up too fast. While I think it's important to not keep children in a bubble and be too overprotective in keeping them from the 'real world', I still think that we need to just let kids be kids and let them do the things that kids do. Yes, we should start teaching them (life?) skills from an appropriate age, such as making their bed, getting themselves dressed, cleaning their room, etc. However, it is also important that we keep them as kids by giving them plenty of time to play with their toys, to engage in free and creative play, and to have plenty of time playing outdoors. Some of my happiest childhood memories involve lots of outdoor play and the living room and my bedroom floors being absolutely covered in toys to the point where you couldn't see any of the floor. This is what childhood should be about. It shouldn't be forcing them to grow up too quickly by getting them to constantly help out with the housework or, even as far as schools are concerned, making them sit at a desk for around six hours a day. They potentially have their entire working lives to sit at a desk for hours on end each day - this isn't what childhood is about! In schools, children should have ample opportunities for playtime and shouldn't have to sit at their desks doing work every day, five days a week.
And then there are teenagers. This is probably the stage where you most want to be an adult and can't wait to grow up. I was like this and now I'm the grand old age of twenty, I really regret wishing I could be an adult (is it possible to take wishes back?). This is the stage where you start wearing make-up for the first time, possibly start drinking alcohol (although I don't condemn underage drinking), start getting a whole host of hormones and other things going on in your body, start getting feelings for people, have your first kiss, possibly have sex for the first time. We spend so much of our time wanting to be adults that we forget that we are still growing up and that what we really should be doing is acting our age and being teenagers, instead of trying to act older than we actually are. Ever get judged at eleven years old for still watching a few children's programmes? I know I certainly was and felt pressured to stop watching these shows, even though I still really enjoyed them and their target age group was 7-12-year-olds. From pretty much the day you step foot in your secondary school, you are being 'prepped' for the 'real' world, and what I really mean by that is that you are not being taught the things that will actually help you in life, but instead are being taught the stuff you will need to memorise for an exam that probably won't even matter in a few years time. Teenagers should be able to just be teenagers and shouldn't have to worry that they can't remember what x equals (I mean, who even knows?!) or that they don't really understand why the author made the curtains blue (is it really because the character's sad or is it because the author just decided the curtains should be blue?).
I think that we can all agree that children and teenagers are spending too much of their time wishing they were adults because for some reason they look at us and think it looks like a whole lot of fun (if you are below the age of eighteen and think like this, then trust me, I don't see how it looks fun and if it does to you then trust me, it isn't). If you are a child or teenager reading this (or if you have a child or teenager at home with you, please feel free to show them this), please just enjoy your child and teenage lives and stop wishing to be an adult so much. You might think it's fun because you can do what you want, which is true to an extent I guess but there is absolutely nothing fun about paying bills, having to find a job, not being able to socialise as much as you'd like for a variety of reasons, plus realising that the world is actually quite shit.
Look, kids, adulting life just isn't that great. I don't want to put you off it because it does have some good points. But it is essentially full of a load of stress (and I've only just entered the world of adulting so who knows how I'm going to cope with it for the rest of my life) and I would give absolutely anything to be back in school and see my friends at least five times a week (I'm lucky if I see mine five times a year nowadays - but then again, I suppose everyone's in the exact same boat for the time being). Please just live your best child and teenage lives without wishing them away on a false perception of adulthood.
Adults: what is one thing you wish you could go back and tell your child/teenage self?
Love Beth xx