EDUCATION MATTERS: Young Adults Who All Too Soon Cut Ties with Childhood; NEVER MIND THE BULLOCK

The Birmingham Post (England), April 25, 2005 | Go to article overview

EDUCATION MATTERS: Young Adults Who All Too Soon Cut Ties with Childhood; NEVER MIND THE BULLOCK


Byline: Plain speaking from ex-teacher Brenda Bullock

It seems to me sometimes these days that the relations between youngsters and adults have reached rock bottom.

We have, it appears, bred generations of youngsters whom nobody likes. People seem to view them as violent and dangerous, to the extent that they call the police to disperse groups of youngsters doing nothing more dangerous or sinister than standing in a group, talking. We've certainly come a long way from the Victorian view that 'children should be seen and not heard.' Nowadays, it seems, children are thrust into adulthood at a ridiculously early age, (a cynical ploy, perhaps, by governments wanting to cash in on the teenage vote).

By the age of 18 children can vote, die or kill in war, drink themselves silly with alcohol, give permission in hospital for a serious operation and there is even a move afoot to allow 18 year-olds to be MPs.

Campaigners now want the age of consent for girls changed from 16 to 14. One wonders where it will all end. Soon, it seems, children will have no childhood at all: they will be thrust into the world of frightening adult responsibilities while they are scarcely out of nappies.

What is ironic about all this, of course, is that all this casting children adrift from parental advice and control, thus making parents impotent to guide and discipline children, is all done in the name of children's rights

A whole raft of legislation from the Court of Human Rights has given children rights and responsibilities that they are just not ready to exercise sensibly. The natural order of life, that adults prepare children to take their place in society as responsible citizens, has been replaced by the mawkishly sentimental view of children as angelic and wise beings, 'trailing clouds of glory' from Heaven, as Wordsworth said. …

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