What is a Child’s Place?

Photo By Warren Wong Via Unsplash

Growing up that was a term that I heard very often from my mother and my elders. To stay in a child’s place or in other words stay out of grown folks’ face, no back talk, and do what they say without question. Now that is all fine and dandy and in certain situations I will completely agree but there were many things with that saying that I feel crippled me in the early years of my adult life.  Not being able to voice how I was feeling in certain situations or not being “in the know” of certain things made it difficult for me to navigate through life when I first moved out of my home. I made a lot of mistakes because to be very honest, I was afraid. 

Afraid that what I said would always be taken out of context or that I was somehow wrong for having feelings that went against any authority in my life. I took a lot of things that I probably should not have due to this choice of parenting.

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It was instilled in me very early not to challenge what ever fell under the word “authority”. Teachers, other elders and especially not my own parents. I noticed that when I knew that I was being treated unfairly I did not know how to stick up for myself so it naturally became bottled up and turned into anger. It turned into me beginning to handle my business incorrectly and mishandling information because I did not know how to properly advocate for myself. But when I became a parent of my own, I vowed to be different. I allow my children to say what they need, even if I don’t always agree and even if it makes me uncomfortable. They have the right to say to me (in the appropriate manner) what they think is fair or unfair when it comes to the decisions that they make for themselves. Also, the things that I choose for them as their mother. Given they are not involved in adult matters such as personal things or finances, I allow them to go to the doctor and fill out their own paperwork and I allow them to speak to adults about the things they feel they don’t agree with (of course with me present). Expressing themselves freely and in a confident manner has always been the goal. Children should not be limited to a “child’s place” they should be able to vocally express themselves, learn how to understand when something is not correct and advocate for themselves so they are openly expressive adults.


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