Education Social

Why do children want to be adults and adults children?

niños adultos

Childhood is a stage of evolutionary development during which children learn to manage the environment in which they live and somehow shape that genetic part of their personality through learning . The most direct referents of these children are usually mothers and fathers, relatives and people around them or even more distant models that they observe through other means.

Children learn by observation, mainly

Observation and imitation is their main source of learning from which they generate their own ways of seeing the world, or should. What happens on many occasions is that this learning is based on the exaltation of youth. Most of the things are designed for young consumption or to try to always feel as young as possible, as if being old is a bad thing.

They sell us anti-aging creams, cars that make you look younger, the most modern clothes, music… practically everything is designed so that the person who consumes feels permanently youthful. Not surprisingly, at the neuromarketing level it is what works best because transferring the youthful spirit implies transferring a more impulsive, more enjoyable, less reflective mind. That is, more consumer. And extending this for a long time is what is best for the consumer society.

In this sense, there is no balance because the youngest population also has increasingly earlier access to tools for adults or young people when they are still children. While we sell eternal youth, at the same time we demand that children mature much faster, because they have access to information from adults, but at the same time, they are not well explained how they work.

Children are not stupid

We treat children as if they were stupid, but what they are is ignorant of all the information to which they have access, on which they live overstimulated. They must be explained how things work to avoid adult behavior when they are still children. We must not rob them of their childhood prematurely. We should not pressure them to have to decide on adult things, because they do not have enough responsibility yet because all they want is to play. And they have to keep playing.

It is clear that without children there are no adults , but adults in turn when they reach that age in some cases refuse to continue growing and generate the so-called Peter Pan syndrome that keeps them in the illusion of continuing to be children.

Why do children want to be adults?

As we said, children want to be adults basically because it is their future and their motivation is generated by that observation of what others do. Some of the totally normal reasons are:

  • Independence , freedom and autonomy. Children yearn to be independent, as they see from their adults who believe they are. Perhaps because they, being so dependent on adults, believe that once that age is reached they will be able to do whatever they want. As is normal, children want to have authority so that they can make their own decisions. When they are little, their limitations in decision-making are limited because their adults must educate them in differentiating good from bad, in having critical thinking and emotional intelligence to help them make those decisions. However, during childhood, lack of experience and ignorance limit these decisions that are sometimes not the right ones, so they must have tutors to guide them in some way. The child wants to be free to drive his own car, or travel where he wants, but with the innocence of a child who still doesn’t know how to achieve it. Let’s explain. Let’s educate them. The child wants that dependence, but because he does not want to feel ignored by adults in his needs.
  • Responsibilities . Children are maturing and know that when they are older they will have to have certain responsibilities, so they play and fantasize about having them: a profession, managing money, managing the home, a car, etc. This is something that children learn to manage little by little, but let’s remember that children still understand some of these responsibilities as part of a game, hence the problem of wanting to demand responsibilities from them beyond what they are capable of managing.
  • Privileges . Related to the above is the sensation of feeling privileged for having access to what in the future will also be able to do: go to vote, drive, enter certain places or even consume substances restricted for adults, with the danger of false control over what you have That is why information is so important so that they make mistakes as a result of their own and normal ignorance.

Why do adults want to be children?

On the other hand, there is the opposite case, those adults who want to be children again or who refuse to be adults like Peter Pan. They also have their reasons:

  • Less responsibilities . When we were little, we wanted to have them and now that we know what they imply, they can overwhelm us: work, bills, family… When we were little, we only saw the good parts, because the child had no real responsibility for them, but once that stress arrives, it can make us not want to face it Logically this is something that has to be worked on and educated throughout life.
  • Less stress. Adults long for the simplicity and innocence of childhood without complex worries and current stress.
  • Less social pressure. As we grow, and from a very young age, situations begin to be demanded of us and expectations are raised that generate group pressure for having to meet them. Professional, financial and social expectations that have us bound by the judgment of others. As a child everything was more permissive.
  • Re-imagine and create . Children have an enormous capacity for creativity and imagination that is limited in adulthood because it becomes more inhibited by other factors that end up limiting our way of thinking.
  • Play again . The game should not be lost throughout life because it keeps us active and makes us age better, both cognitively and physically. We long for the time when everything was a game and when adult responsibilities or social pressure itself limits us the time dedicated to play that was practically unlimited in childhood.
  • Discover . The innocence and the discovery of life and the surprises that it teaches us as we grow up makes us live experiences that we will always remember. When young everything is new, and we have a world to discover. As we grow, this discovery is limited, although we must not lose the desire to discover and learn new things.
  • Being young again but with adult experience . When we are older, we tend to look back and relive sequences of our lives that we would surely do otherwise with the experience accumulated later. Who hasn’t thought of that! “To be young with what I know now.” But that’s not possible, unless you’re Marti Mcfly and you have a machine that goes back in time. Also, surely doing it with the adult experience would take away from that excitement of doing things for the first time.


Recommendations for not putting pressure on children for being adults.

The developmental stages of our lives are for something and we must respect the age of the child. Children are children, but without children there will be no good adults either. Therefore, some recommendations for not putting pressure on children at that maturity that they do not need to have are:

  • Respect the stage of development . It is important to know how the stages follow one another, learn about it and look back with the fact that you too were a child. Demand according to age and respect the innocence of the child.
  • Play . It is the basis of learning, and we are the guides of the good game.
  • Encourage creativity and imagination.
  • Learn to manage emotions .
  • Promote the use of critical thinking .
  • Find out about what they do , what they read, the video games they consume, the television series, etc. Also, that is also going to rejuvenate us in a way or keep us up to date.
  • Develop communication and complicity . The child needs to feel in an environment of trust, because sometimes they want to mature by trying to let themselves feel ignored by adults.

And above all, respect the nature of aging and enjoy it. If aging , do it optimally.

Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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