The Real World’s Abrupt Appearance in Kid’s Lives

Childhood is flooded with an immense amount of fantasies and picture-perfect scenarios that crowd a child’s small mind with false notions about the real world. Reality sneaks up on kids with consequences that leave innocent teenagers shocked. The cause can be traced back to the lack of preparation provided for reality. The importance of gradually handing out freedom and responsibilities to kids is what the preparation for the real-world needs.  


Being a high schooler is filled with overflowing mentions of college, careers, and never-ending decisions that will change the course of your life. Kids that can’t even drive yet are making decisions that greatly impact their future. These kids are receiving the effects of immense pressure to be an adult.  


The switch from middle school to high school feels like someone has pushed you into a lake full of alligators, snakes, and mucky weeds that don’t ever go away. In middle school years it feels like nothing matters and consequences could last a couple days. Stepping into high school means stepping into an evaluation that chooses who you become and your status as an adult. Kids are not ready to make this rapid change due to reality being a hazy concept of the future as a kid. It would be less jarring and overwhelming if kids were more prepared and gradually exposed to reality at a younger age.  



Freshman, Lillian Capron says, “It’s important to be prepared because when you graduate you need to have a plan in mind of what you want to do career wise so you can start a new way of living.” 


Kids aren’t becoming aware of the hardships and challenges that come along with the coming of age until that age has come. With this being said, children need to be exposed to these hardships and challenges earlier than they have been. Now, they can’t just suddenly one day wake up as a 10-year-old and suddenly have to address conflicts with their boss. However, they should be gradually handed situations where maturity and responsibility are key.  


An experience may be as simple as an issue with a friend. Instead of, as a parent or guardian, stepping in and taking care of it for the child, have the child figure out how to go through with the issue as a mature and respectful person. This doesn’t mean they can’t be assisted, but they should have the feeling that they are responsible for handling the conflict. 


Another scenario could be when the child was absent from school for a day and is expected to make up multiple assignments on top of classwork ahead of them. The child should be responsible for perhaps getting notes on the lesson from friends, using all resources to understand the material, and even emailing the teacher for help with any other conflicts.  


By having children practice being a responsible person throughout childhood years, their transition into the real world won’t be as jarring. They won’t be overwhelmed. They will have accurate expectations for the world. 


It is hard seeing kids struggle, but adults today would be nowhere if they hadn’t made mistakes and learned how to deal with them on their own. College students would not survive a single semester if they didn’t know how to communicate with authoritative figures for help, information, and support.  


Letting a kid have more freedom is especially important in the process of preparation. Rules are important. Very important. It’s how we live. Without rules the world would be pure chaos. However, with too strict rules we would all go insane.  


There are certain places and countries in the world where certain rules are extremely strict. When people experience what it’s like to not abide by those rules they go “rogue” and become what’s seen as rebellious even if it isn’t looked that way to other places. Graduating and becoming a legal adult is like that. Teens graduate high school. They become legal adults. Some go to college. These kids now have to automatically know how to handle certain situations because they are on their own. They have to choose between right and wrong. They have to choose what type of person they are going to be.  


However, some people may prevent exposure to risky situations, that occur all the time when an adult, from occurring for valid reasons. A reason being is they don’t want that kid getting involved themselves in those activities themselves, for example. This is where trust comes into play. 


Trust is an extremely important factor when it comes to this exposure occurring. It is important for guardians to trust their kids to be responsible. That responsibility may be learned and/or taught.  


Long story short, kids having those opportunities to see glimpses of the real world and what it’s like when they’re an adult is important and needs to be more welcomed at a younger age. It’s extremely important for the process of growing up. Becoming an adult is hard, but we all will need to go through it. So, let’s allow it to be easier. 


“Pain is a part of growing up. It is how we learn.”- Dan Brown