At work, I’m considered somewhat of an expert in dealing with children. It’s hilarious because I don’t actually have kids; I’ve just worked with them for so long that I’ve learned how to talk to them. My partner always jokes that no matter if kids want to talk or not, they’ll always talk to me.
Why? Because I treat them like children, not like little adults. Yet when I talk to them, I don’t talk down to them. I treat them with respect, and in return they treat me with respect. Plus, it helps that I’m not their mother/father/aunt/uncle/teacher/older sibling.
I liked this article about what a well-behaved child looks like. It points out that a well-behaved child isn’t the one sitting quietly. It’s the child who acts like a child, who’s curious and engaged. The well-behaved child isn’t necessarily sitting still, but isn’t running around out of control either. Children need to be children. If we treat them like adults now, they’re likely to act like children later on in life.