Not Growing Up Fast Enough, Perhaps?I think a lot of the time, the problem is not that children are growing up too fast, it is that modern, mainstream culture has gotten the process of helping children grow up wrong. What's more, that same culture has some very odd ideas about what childhood is about.
The idea that childhood should be a special space that exists separate from adult life is a very new one, in terms of human history. As a side note, it does make you wonder what is so wrong with our society that we feel the need to isolate our children from its workings so that they can be happy - in fact, it's a very good indicator that our work arrangements are not going to make adults happy either.
Whilst it's true that children need and want their own space to play (the same is true of adults), their deepest desire is to grow up and take their place in the world.
Instead, society has turned childhood into a fetish. and youth into an obsession. I think this fetish that adults have for the ideal of childhood is also substantially responsible for the very disturbing sexualisation of children. And the failure of proper mature role models goes a long way to explain the problems that people have mentioned in other Stories in this Group. Without a proper process of maturation, children will adopt behaviours and attitudes that are not appropriate nor respectful. Whilst discipline is certainly important, the removal of good role models is what causes the most crucial problems, in my opinion.
Indeed, many biologically fully grown adults frequently act like children, (which is certainly reinforced by society's obsession with youth), and so they can hardly be good role models even with the best intentions.
What is needed for matters to improve is not even more protection of this notion of innocence (which is purely a false ideal created by adults based on their own issues) but the creation of proper paths of maturation, so that they learn age-appropriate behaviour, and how to evolve into mature, repsonsible adults. In short, to grow up better, and to not have that process delayed or stunted.