Children are adults in tiny bodies.
Human children are geniuses, with the power to master language, social, and intellectual skills in just a few years.
Compared to adults, children are learning masters.
They possess the highest evolved human trait of empathy: children can feel and think as you do. In fact this is, in part, how they learn: by putting themselves imaginatively in your place and mimicking you.
We want them to grow up to be healthy human adults, but we often wait until they leave the house to treat them as equals, peers.
What would happen if we treated them like important adults when they are three or four? What if we nourished and reinforced adult behavior and responsibility at the age of two? What if we can accomplish this while still allowing them to be free and creative - like a respected ï»¿a valued adult friendï»¿?
Of course, children still need guidance and help, but we can accomplish this by feeling and thinking with children, using our adult superpower of empathy.
I suggest that we bring into the vocabulary of early childhood development the word "mentor" as a synonym to "parent."
Because when we think of "parents," we have massive preconceptions that traditional parenting has indoctrinated within us. We have hundreds of thousand years of evolutionary baggage.
We must re-see and re-think our parenting that has gone unchecked and unchanged for 50,000 years of accelerated.
If we think of parents as mentors for children, imagine what the results might be.
We would treat them far better, regarding them as peers and children. We would raise happy, healthy adults because they have been treated that way their whole lives.
Below is an amazing TedTalk video on neuroscientific research in children by Alison Gopnik. If you are like me, her ideas will revolutionize the way you think about children. She shows how children are really geniuses.
We should interact with children as if they were responsible adults
I mean that we should engage children as important, individuals, deserving the respect of an adult. If we value children as if they were adults when young, they will grow into respectful and kind teenagers.
Treating teenagers as equals, empowers them with a healthy, mature self-concept. Being their mentor is an equal relationship rather than a hierarchical one.
But, this does not work if we wait until they are teenagers to try and carve them into obedient adults.
We must start treating infants as adults, and raise them through childhood with love, kindness, and respect. As they mature, we treat them more like adults, real people.
When parents wonder why their teenagers are rebellious and obnoxious, often it is the result of all those years of being parented as if they were subhuman.
Placing ourselves in the role of mentor, in addition to parent, will help us treat children with adult-like maturity, kindness and respect.
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