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Freechild provides training and consulting about adultism. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-489-9680 for more info!
According to Adam Fletcher, founder of The Freechild Project, Adultism is the addiction to the attitudes, ideas, beliefs, and actions of adults. It is a major concept in the organization of society: Adultism prevails in every sector, including government, education, social services, and families. It's defeat is often seen as a bad thing, as adults are generally only capable of seeing their own abilities as those that are truly needed to the function and well-being of our world.
The problem with adultism is that ignores, silences, neglects, and punishes children and youth simply because they are not adults. Every young person experiences adultism from the day they are born until the day the world around them recognizes them as an adult.
The Freechild Project believes that adultism is part of the structure of society and its institutions, including families, schools, churches and the government. Because of the long history of adultism and its pervasive nature in our societies, essentially all people suffer from this oppression. The resulting internalized oppression and distress patterns are severe. For example, adultism is expressed by treating the young person as weak, helpless and less intelligent than adults. For many, there is verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Oppression of young people conditions them to accept all other oppressions that exist in the society.
The following resources are websites and publications Freechild has found that can help young people and adults understand adultism better, and work for social change in this area.
Publications & Websites
An outstanding article that helps explore adultism, written by long-time youth worker John Bell of YouthBuild.
Kivel, P. (2006) "Adultism." from Helping Teens Stop Violence: A Practical Guide for Counselors, Educators, and Parents. Hunter House Publishing.
Adultism -An edition of the School Mediator: Peer Mediation Insights. Includes definitions, quotes, and more.
Kelly, B. "Youthism' and Ageism in Our Movement?" Next Left Notes.
Sazama, J. (2004) Get The Word Out! Youth On Board. pdf.
Checkoway, B. (1998) Adults as Allies. WK Kellogg Foundation. pdf.
Wright, J. "Treating children as equals." New Universal Magazine. Wright is the editor of Motherwear magazine. In this article she details how parents are complicit in adultism and how we can fight adultism at home.
Youth Wisdom Project. (2004) "Making Space - Making Change: Profiles of Youth-Led and Youth-Driven Organizations." Movement Strategy Center. pdf.
Velazquez, J. Jr. and Garin-Jones, M. "Adultism and Cultural Competence", Child Welfare League of America.
"Unit on Adultism", originally published on the Creighton University website. pdf. A four-session course on adultism, including: Session One: Introduction to adultism, exploration of stereotypes and putdowns of young people, and analyses of youth/adult interactions. Session Two: Focuses on how young people are mistreated or discriminated against in adult-defined institutions, how young people can internalize mistreatment against themselves and other youth, and explores strengths of young people. Session Three: Examines the conditioning process of becoming an adult, identifying the costs and privileges of adulthood and the requirements for being an adult ally to youth. Session four: Goes over tools to organize and take action against adultism.
- This university-based project from Canada and the EU explores social justice, and places adultism in the context of societal reasoning and explores the effects of adultism on young people.
From the "American Pictures" project by Danish photographers Tony Harris and Jacob Holdt. Explores adultism in the context of all social oppressions, including racism and sexism.
Workshop on Teens & Authority - The National Coalition Building Association of Northern Virginia offered a two hour workshop called "Teens & Authority". Scroll 2/3rds of the way down for a description.
Freechild Project Resources
Resources to Fight Ephebiphobia This Freechild Project webpage includes facts and resources on the extreme fear of young people.
- This Freechild Project webpage includes facts and resources on ways to end the oppression of young people.
OrganizationsOffers multiple workshops to combat adultism in organizations, particularly where young people are involved as decision-makers.
A nationwide advocate for youth rights and the end of adultism.
The Freechild Project
Survey of North American Youth Rights, or SNAYR,
is brought to you in partnership with the National Youth Rights Association
For more information visit the Youth Rights Network
Return to the SNAYR homepage