You know what really grinds my gears? (I've always wanted to say that) This nonsensical notion that children these days are growing up too fast. If a child wants to do something harmless for them, yet somehow dangerous to society, people say it. If a child knows something that some adults don't, they're "grown". It's bad enough that children have to deal with this "You're too young to understand" bull. In addition, they're super geniuses for knowing how to pronounce big words at the age of five?
Which brings me to my first point: The "You're too young to understand" statement. Ageists just love to say that when they don't know what they're talking about. Why can't kids play certain games? They're too young to understand the rules. Why can't kids have allowance? They're too young to understand the value of money. Maybe if our paranoid little society would stop trying to block everything from "tomorrow's future", then the young person would be able to understand. "But, OMG, that means they're growing up too fast!" "Durr, if you tell them the truth, their heads will explode due to too much information!" Wrong.
Would someone please explain to me just when the "appropriate age of learning" was formed? Hell, even infants can learn. Why is it so surprising to see some children know more about certain things than some kids, and even adults? I hear it all the time: "I didn't know that much about _______ until I was in my 20s." "Back in my day, kids didn't know nothin' about _______. Kids today grow up oh, so fast." ...or maybe the kids in question received the info at an earlier age than you and your friends did, genius.
In this day and age, it's shocking to some adults to see boys and girls kissing and having play dates, when they "should" instead be having the same boy's only/girl's only clubs that cause other adults to believe they'll grow up to be homos. Apparently, even human nature needs age limits. "Kids don't know nothin' about love. They just want to be grown." It's not "wanting to be grown", it's called "infatuation", people. Infatuation. Yes, it happens to kids, too.
When women wear makeup, people generally say it looks good on them; they say it brings out her eyes, and so on. Decrease that 30-year-old woman's age by 20 years. "Oh, my God, she swears she's grown!" "They have plenty of time for that when they get older, why are they throwing their childhood away like this?!" A little girl is (generally) not thinking about "being grown", she just thinks makeup looks cute. You know, like the 30-year-old woman in my metaphor? 20 years won't pass within 20 seconds just because she has yellow fingernails, purple toenails, and orange lipstick, so put the asthma pump down and calm the hell down.
Power Wheels is known for those motorized vehicles that children like to drive. "Children driving?! Nooooo! That's reserved for my age group!" If the parents are responsible, the kids won't be in the streets anytime soon, so shut up. In a way, those vehicles are educational. Hell, I'd rather ride with a person who had childhood experience in a Power Wheels jeep than someone who just grew up watching everyone else drive.
That's my next point: education. Many adults spend too much time bailing children out of their problems, and not enough time teaching them how to get out on their own. Don't give your child the answers to his/her homework; teach them how to do it so they won't ask you again five minutes later. If your kids fight over ___________, let them solve it on their own instead of stepping in just to hit both of them. Educate your kids about drugs, drinking, and smoking as soon as possible; don't wait until you find them behind the wheel of a wrecked car and you start contemplating whether to throw them out of the house. Obviously, it's hard to take care of children, but that's no excuse for driving down Route Easy and handling the problem yourself or ignoring it. And then they wonder why their children grow up to be dependent bums.
Most of the things that children learn in school will never be seen again when they grow up. Why not replace the filler classes of elementary school (*cough*Music*cough*) with classes that teach what they need to know about life, like how to manage bills or the difference between fantasy and reality, since their parents are "too busy" or "unprofessional" for that? I bet you'd be surprised how much faster they'll "grow up" if the educational system did that. Plus, it makes much more sense to teach them while they're young, therefore making it easier to remember, than just expecting them to automatically grasp the information "when they get older", like a lazy parent or an ageist would do.
Most children and teens are not as stupid and impressionable as our society claims. Maybe if people stop assuming everything and actually look past an under-20's age, it could become more obvious than it already is that they have minds of their own and that most age restrictions are full of crap.