The Pain of Youth

How ageism harms young people in our society

Andrew Sage
4 min readSep 8, 2020
Photo by shawn henry on Unsplash

Look at the way that society treats young people, both children and young adults. We’re disrespected, disregarded, and disdained. No one listens to us. No one pays attention to us. Clearly, no one cares about our future.

Ageism is one of the most rampant, yet least spoken of, forms of prejudice in our society. The prejudice against and discrimination of people based on their age may not be as big a problem as capitalism. But we’re going to need to address our ongoing and systemic domination of the youth eventually.

In our society, the youth and the elderly are institutionalized: in schools or nursing homes. For the youth, it’s so they can be brainwashed. For the elderly, it’s so they can be forgotten. It wasn’t always this way.

Photo by Virgil Cayasa on Unsplash

Young people are people. Humans. Like anyone else, we learn, grow, and develop. We don’t understand everything, but that’s okay. Age is not a measure of wisdom. We make mistakes, we need help, and we need support, just like every other human being.

Yet, we’re first in line to be crushed by capitalism.

Young people, specifically children, have no autonomy over their time, bodies, activities, or choices. Children are subject to the whims, both benevolent and malevolent, of the adults around them. Such an arrangement leaves them wide open for abuse and no way out.

Let’s put it plainly: children are property.

Our treatment of children today is akin to the treatment of slaves. In fact, in this article I delved into the origins of our “parenting style” in the Caribbean:

Children are dying due to their parents denying them medical attention. Children are being assaulted and molested with no recourse. Children of colour are abused by the state and harassed by schools. Children’s wills and creativity are being broken and subjugated by “educational” institutions more concerned with test scores and standardization.

Look at this post that went viral recently:

It’s a list of regulations that children, in the middle of a pandemic, must follow as they attend virtual school in their own homes. Schools exist to control and subjugate children, and these rules are yet another natural consequence of their purpose.

Children, in the most vulnerable stage of their life, are subject to violence, the threat of violence, emotional manipulation, intimidation, and brainwashing.

Kids are constantly faced with various kinds of parental authorities, school authorities, state institutions, and a mass culture all intended to mould them, to get them to jump on command, take orders, and do what they’re told.

The domination of children serves not only to destroy and rebuild these unique young humans but also to maintain authoritarian systems of control and violence. If we are serious about bringing down this destructive global system, we need to attack it wherever it manifests, including our own personal lives, behaviours, and mentalities.

We all need to work to address the harms that children are victim to in our society. We need to educate and engage with those around us. We need to confront the rampant violence that has been so normalized by our culture. Most importantly, we need to build new relations, based upon mutual respect.

The concept of owning children arose out of patriarchal norms. Men owned women through marriage, as well as children. Women raised the children, and if they were disobedient and not well behaved, then it was a poor reflection on the man. He would be seen as unable to control his property.

These roles are still somewhat enforced by our modern society. However, before the rise of the “nuclear family”, children were raised by the entire village. They could move and learn freely and were taught important lessons, guided, and trained to transition smoothly into adulthood by their entire community.

We don’t need to subjugate children. We just need to love them, protect them, and raise them to be decent human beings.


Traditionally, children were seen as pure and divine. Even sacred. Everyone starts as a child, and children are the key to our future.

We must work on listening, nurturing, loving, and protecting children, wherever and whenever we can. We must advocate for children and facilitate their growth and their voices. We need them now more than ever.

Free the youth.

You can follow Saint Andrew on Twitter @_saintdrew and subscribe on Youtube where I share my thoughts, opinions, and art. You can also buy me a coffee.

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Andrew Sage

I’m a writer of words, an artist of arts, and a thinker of thoughts. Founder of Saint Who and Andrewism. Follow me on Twitter @_saintdrew.