So much of our culture appears committed to the belief that the boundaries between adults and children are fluid if not nonexistent. People of all ages wear similar clothes, engage in similar activities, are entertained and informed through the same social media.
It’s easy to forget that relationships between children and adults do not take place on a level playing field. The roles and responsibilities are very different. Protection is always part of any adult’s role. Their advanced maturity and self-control should ensure a safe haven for the children they come in contact with. Without this security, children cannot develop the skills they need to avoid risky, impulsive behaviors that can put them in grave danger.
Most adults understand their responsibility to protect young children or those who appear more vulnerable than their peers. It’s the older child or adolescent whose behavior is provocative or defiant that sometimes evokes the need to respond in kind. It’s in those situations that adults do well to remember that it is their responsibility to “manage the double struggle”. In other words, to keep one’s own emotions in check, and help the child de-escalate and regain control.
For more information about managing the double struggle, check out Larry K. Brendtro’s book “Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future” available at http://www.Amazon.com