As you might have guessed, I have quite a few problems with the status of children in the world I live in. I'm not going to say it's entirely one-sided though. While children are treated abusively in a lot of ways, there are also some ways in which parents get shortchanged. The central theme seems to be trading freedom and responsibility for safety and entitlement, and forcing this choice on all children.

The biggest single problem is the conventional concept of "education". I'm planning to write a separate article about how abysmally inefficient schools are at teaching, but they usually are very abusive to children too, at least for the earlier years. Most involve forcing children to spend several hours a day in a room with all of their rights - the right to leave the room, usually even to use the toilet - subject to the whims of a "teacher". They're corralled into a room where they have no privacy and even communication between students is almost entirely prohibited, they often aren't even allowed to leave their seats without permission, sometimes they even have to "raise their hand" before asking a question (and screw you if the teacher "accidentally" doesn't see your hand). I don't have first-hand experience with the system in recent years, but when I was in kindergarten we had to "take a nap" at the end of each class while the teacher graded our homework (read: lay down and pretend to sleep and not make any noise or you'll be yelled at). No, I am not making this up. There were a lot of horror stories like this in just one year of school.

Another thing I want to mention about the schooling system is how degenerate the teacher's monarchy is in practice (what a surprise!), even at college level. Within a class the teacher usually has absolute power to give and grade assignments however they want. Almost every college professor I've had gave at least some assignments that had little or nothing to do with the subject of the course, gave unclear instructions or failed to use blackboard correctly and made the students pay the cost of the mistake, or similar. And there's basically no way for the student to do anything about this crap. And don't even get me started on classes with assignments that can't be graded neutrally, like essays...

Age-gating is also relevant. This takes many forms, and all of them are completely illegitimate:

Children are seen as objects that must be protected and cared for. But of course that 'protection' overrides any right to do anything remotely "dangerous" for the sake of accomplishing something worthwhile or growing as a person, and in many cases even overrides their locational freedom (although, as above, this rarely has to be actually exercised, which does mitigate the evil).

A point I need to make about parental authority is this: since our parents brought us into this world knowing we would be helpless and need to be provided for for our first few years, during those years, children actually don't owe any obedience, because their parents are only accomodating the needs that they created. You don't start to owe obedience until you could feasibly survive on your own (which actually wouldn't be too hard for a pre-teen even without relying on effective foster parents; you could make yourself useful enough to others by doing chores and yardwork and such to earn your living).

Conversely, once those years are up and the child is mature enough to survive without their parents, the parents have fundamentally fulfilled their duty. They are not abusers if they stop providing for most or all of their children's needs once they're twelve. This would seem a lot less harsh than it does if most parents placed nearly as much emphasis as they should on teaching their children practical skills from an earlier age.

Even before that age, most parents go way beyond their duties in a way that's very harmful to the long-term personal growth of the child (and then of course turn around and abuse their children with punishment before they have the information to understand why what they did was wrong and often with intrinsically illegitimate punishment, like time-outs, and by sending them to the afore-described abusive schools). Children are entitled to food and shelter, but not to dessert, enormous collections of toys, or their parents and older siblings feeling forced to partake in their games (and to outright lie and profess to be enjoying them). In fact, letting small children have that kind of power over others is wrong, dishonest, and destructive. Children need to see other people assert their unwillingness to do something they aren't obligated to if they're going to learn to stand up for their own rights.

And child labor laws are the epitome of this facet of the problem. The best thing for the economy and the children's personal growth is to get them into the workforce as early as possible. They should be treated like other human beings: encouraged to produce and contribute, and once they reach an age where they could reasonably support themselves, their parents should not continue to provide everything for them and allow them to squander eight hours every day playing games. My parents allowed me to do that for most of my teenage years, and I look back with nothing but regret on those wasted years. Purely recreational activities can have a place, but a life - especially in the years from ten to twenty - without learning or accomplishing something significant every day is a truly wasted life.

Also, stop fucking using the word "minor". People who have been on the Earth for less than 18 years are not "minor" people. And no it's not just an arbitrary word; it matters what words we use for these things, because that influences our ideographic perception of the concept.


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