Parents, your child’s specific location and current activity should be none of your goddamn business. (Yeah, I know this one will get love.)

When I was young, I walked the streets of downtown Vancouver at age 6. I took the bus on my own to the YMCA. After class there, I wandered around downtown before going home. As a teenager, I walked through Calcutta’s slums alone.

My parents knew where I was in very general terms, and I was expected to show up for meals and bedtime. Other than that, I did what I wanted outside of school.

Modern parents seem to have this idea that children are incapable of taking care of themselves. This may be true, if they are never given any freedom or the right to make their own decisions, but it’s not true otherwise.

So what I see is that modern adults get to 18 and suddenly the supervision stops and guess what? A lot of them are incapable.

The conversation around adulting is absurd. “Adulting” is simply the removal of close support and supervision. More of life is now up to you. (Minus, of course, your boss, who also has far more control over you than a boss did 40 years ago.)

This isn’t to say that taking care of oneself is necessarily easy. It’s harder now, in many countries (and especially in the US) than it was two generations back, because jobs are shittier, inequality is up and the social safety net has been reduced. No question, it’s harder. But it’s not harder than it was, say, in the 30s.

We are what we do. We become what we do. Children who are subject to constant monitoring, who cannot make their own decisions about what to do, who cannot be free, never learn to be free. When they are suddenly given the partial freedom we grant after high school, is it a surprise they don’t know how to “adult?”

Nor are children possessions. They are people. They deserve a reasonable amount of freedom, an amount that is far more than we currently grant in the US and Canada. The idea that they are incapable is ridiculous, for most of history, children (and certainly teenagers) had many of the same responsibilities as adults far younger than we now allow.

Yeah, it’s good we don’t have actual child (pre-pubescent) labor. It’s not good that we keep them firmly under thumb.

(And yeah, it’s not about danger. The danger is miniscule, and such danger as exists is almost all from family and other known adults, not from strangers.)

Children treated like they can’t make choices and can’t handle freedom will not learn how to make good choices or handle freedom.

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