Last Updated 02 Aug 2020

Ageism: How Children and Teens Are Unfairly Stereotyped

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Ageism: How Children and Teens are Unfairly Stereotyped Jazzie Collins Pacific High School Abstract Over the years, children and teens have been portrayed as immature and sometimes even stupid. Many adults think that they are incapable of many things and deserve no respect. However, young people have made many accomplishments in history. They have invented things and some have even become emperors. Kids and teens deserve more respect than they are getting. Children and teens are constantly being degraded as “stupid” and immature”.

They are put down and disrespected just for their age and adults often see them as incapable, weak and silly. In some cases they could be considered right but believing that all children are foolish is completely wrong. “Children should be seen, not heard,” a phrase often heard in olden times and even sometimes today, is a prime example of ageism. It is degrading to them as human beings. The law enabling citizens in America to have freedom of speech does not exclude children and teenagers. If it did, there would be many things today that we would be without.

Many inventions we have now came from the minds of young ones. For example, the earmuffs, a popular and stylish way to protect your ears from the bitter cold of winter, were invented by a 15 year old boy from Maine. The protective winter gear called Wristies was created by a 10 year old girl in the year 1994. There are numerous inventions from the minds of teens and children. Chester Greenwood, living in Farmington, Maine, invented earmuffs at the age of 15. While testing out a new pair of ice skates, he became frustrated with trying to protect his ears from the harsh cold.

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Feeling very bulky, itchy and, overall uncomfortable, his scarf did no help. So instead, he made two ear-shaped loops from wire and had fur sewn into them by his grandmother. Chester then improved them by adding a steel bar to the top of the separate ear muffs, helping to hold them in place on a person’s head. Afterwards, he had the new and enhanced version of his invention patented. Then, with Greenwood’s Champion Ear Protectors, he established Greenwood’s Ear Protector Factory and made a large fortune supplying ear muffs to U. S. soldiers during World War I.

Chester then went on to patent many more inventions. In 1977, Maine’s legislative declared December 21 as “Chester Greenwood Day” to honor Chester Greenwood as a great contributor to cold weather protection. Another form of winter gear coming from the mind of a child was something called a Wristie. Wristies resemble wrist bands and are designed to worn under a coat and gloves to block out the wind, snow and cold from entering any unprotected gaps. The brain behind these was a 10 year old from Bedford, Massachusetts named Kathryn Gregory.

Kathryn invented and trademarked Wristies and, also while a kid inventor, started Wristies Inc. , a company that manufactured and sold Wristies. The young entrepreneur has made deals with the Girl Scouts, Federal Express and McDonalds and in 1997, Kathryn Gregory became the youngest person ever to sell on QVC, the television shopping show. Kathryn Gregory may have been the youngest person to ever appear on QVC, but King tut was the youngest Egyptian pharaoh to ever rule over Egypt in ancient times.

When Tutankhamun’s father died, coincidentally right after being forced to step down from his throne, Tutankhamun was made pharaoh at the young age of 9. In that same year, he married his half sister Ankhesenpaaten. King Tut, as he was later known as, then became the youngest ruling Egyptian pharaoh. He is still famous today due mainly to his great wealth and young age of ruling. Adults aren’t always wiser than children and teens. In many households, the child has to take care of their parent or guardians whether it be financially, mentally, physically or sometimes all three.

Usually, when the cold or teen is taking care of their parent or guardian financially, it is because the adult either blows all of their money on drugs and alcohol, the adult was laid off their job and has yet to find another or sometimes, the adult is simply incapable of working. In any case, the responsibility is left up to the minor to pay bills and put food on the table. Another kind of situation that is quite common is in households where the parents or single parent has undergone an injury or has acquired some sort of mental disability and are unable to really take care of themselves.

It is also present in households where something has happened in the parent or guardian’s life and they’ve slipped into such a depression that they no longer care for anything, leaving their kids to take on the responsibility of caring for not only the adult in the house but also for themselves and each other. They then must make sure things get done such as putting food on the table and making sure the bills are paid. In the movie/novel “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, a young man named Gilbert Grape must take on the responsibility of taking care of his morbidly obese mother and brother, Annie, who is mentally handicapped.

Gilbert Grape must also repair their old farmhouse all on his own because of his father’s death. Ever since his father’s death, Gilbert’s mom has been able to do nothing else but eat, leaving her unable to care of neither her children nor herself. A real-life example of a situation of the child having to care for their parent is that of a girl named Rebekah Knerr. Ever since Rebekah Knerr was very a young (around the age of 2), her father has had a mental illness causing him to disappear off to somewhere for long periods of time without telling anyone where he is whenever he gets too stressed.

Because of this illness, he will disappear for a few days up to, at the most, 2 weeks. Ever since Rebekah was young, she has had to take care of her dad by going along with him everywhere he goes and making sure he doesn’t wander off. It is a very stressful and aggravating job and requires a great amount of maturity and patience. An amount of maturity and patience teens and children are often underestimated of. When it comes to teens and children, credit it almost never given to the ones who truly deserve and have earned it.

It is almost non-existent. But those who look down upon them are fools themselves, because children and teens everywhere show more strength and maturity the adults in their lives. Some kids are young inventors and others are entrepreneurs and created many of the wonderful and handy inventions we have today. There is definitely more to children and teens that meets the adult eye. References Life of King Tut. (2009). Retrieved January 6, 2010, from http://www. king-tut. org. uk/life-of-king-tut/index. htm

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Ageism: How Children and Teens Are Unfairly Stereotyped. (2018, Feb 06). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/ageism-how-children-and-teens-are-unfairly-stereotyped/

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