OPINION: Is Our Childhood Over Already?


Photo Credit: Alexis Allen

Everett Negron-Taylor, OwlFeed‌ ‌Opinion‌ ‌Editor‌ ‌

Editor’s Note: This article discusses self-harm and substance abuse. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Childhood: innocence, happiness, peace, imagination. There are so many different ways to describe what a childhood experience should be like, all cute and cuddly. 

The harsh reality is that it wasn’t like that for a lot of kids, but now it is all coming to a close and we have no more time to be the children we were never able to be.

Most people love to say that they lived and had the best childhood, got it all, or the best they could have gotten and were still happy about it. People say this because they don’t want to seem ungrateful and have people think lowly of them, not seeing or understanding that it is okay to feel the way they truly do. Never let your feelings be invalidated. 

It is crazy because as we come close to this year’s end, we are forced to face the reality that we are going to be adults very soon, or already are adults. Personally, it feels as though a lot of us had to grow up a lot sooner than we should have. 

It is absurd because when I look back on life, thinking about it over and over and over again, it starts to burn. Wanting, trying to look at the best parts of childhood, but all that comes are the deplorable, distressing, pitiful things that have happened. 

And it is not just me. So many people in the world have had to deal with this, but what makes it worse is that we are still just kids, we were just kids, seeing, learning, hearing such terrible things from such a young age. 

“I’d say from the beginning it was good, I felt like I had a normal childhood because I didn’t realize what was happening,” said AFHS senior Madison Heustess. “I thought that every kid has a similar experience.” 

There are some things we could have done differently in our childhood, making it better for ourselves but we didn’t. But we should not have to think that way at all, thinking that we should have done something different to make ourselves happier at that moment. It is not our jobs as children to have to worry or think that way. Yet, from a young age, many of us are pushed and pushed and pushed to a breaking point, so others can be happier.

“I used to live for the day I could leave my parents, loving the idea. I would never have to see them again, it would become one of the only things I would think of daily,” said Ruee Taylor, an independent therapist. “My sister [Paige] and I used to talk about how we would leave together. Our biggest dream was to be the best teachers, teaching at the same school, connecting with kids and hoping to brighten their day.”

Taylor continued, “That was only a few years before [my sister] started to drink. Obviously, we were underage, and I didn’t know how to take it at first but I didn’t want to upset her or anything like that so I didn’t say anything to her about it.”  

Her parents never found out about it, but Paige being the oldest, their parents were always more strict on her than any of the rest of us so she was constantly getting yelled at and punished, and it became a lot for her to handle. 

“I’m not sure when it started, but I started to see scars and burn marks on her, so I came to her asking if she was okay and if she wanted to talk or needed anything,” Taylor said. “Of course every time she just said no and it would only get worse and worse and I didn’t know what to do.” Taylor’s sister died tragically of a drug overdose.

At the time Ruee was only 13 and her sister was 16. She goes on saying that she never wants to put the blame on her parents, but she knows for sure if they weren’t always pushing her and making her feel bad for doing literally anything she did, it wouldn’t have gotten as bad as it did. 

Children have had to go through life with emotionally unavailable parents. Something like this is so hard because we use our parents as an example of how to do things in life. Without them there to show us how to handle things like our emotions, we just push them to the side, never dealing with them, and just letting them build up.

Some parents tell their kid, “Suck it up”, “It’s not that serious,” “You’re being overly dramatic,” “You have no reason to feel this way, I had it way worse as a kid,” etc. 

All of these are examples of how parents invalidate their kids. In adulthood or as a teenager, this can cause a person to never deal with anything that can make them seem like they are weak or something that will look like they are being ungrateful for someone or something.

Adults seem to think that hitting children again and again and again is to teach them a lesson. That if we just beat them into submission that all of the problems will go away. 

NO! Not at all, it just pushes us away from our parents. So far to the point, we never want to see them again, and some of us will do anything to try and make that happen sooner rather than later.

There are literally a million different examples I could give about people having terrible childhoods and how they had to grow up too fast because they either have to take care of their own siblings, take care of their parents, or take care of things that were not their responsibility, and they shouldn’t have had to seen or do any of that at such a young age and grow up so fast. 

But I’m not going to sit here and continue to give everyone a run-through of how rough some people had it. The best message I can give to anyone who wants to have children in the future is that, as a generation, we can do better. 

And we have to do better for our children and the children around us so they don’t have to go through the same thing anyone else did. We must show them what peace and love are really like.