Adultism refers to the oppression of young people by adults. The popular saying “children should be seen and not heard” is used as a way to remind children of their place and reaffirm adults’ power in the relationship. The saying suggests that children’s voices are not as important or as valid as an adult’s, and they should remain quiet. Children are often relegated to subordinate positions due to socially constructed beliefs about what they can or cannot accomplish or what they should or should not do; this, in turn, compromises youths’ self-determination.
How might the age of a client influence your social work practice? And, when working with youth, how would you avoid conveying an adultist perspective? In this Discussion, you practice engaging with an adolescent through a scenario. You then reflect on your actions and how you would adapt if the scenario were to involve an older client.
- Review the Learning Resources on ageism, aging, and practice with older adults.
- Access and navigate through the Adolescent Case interactive video in the Learning Resources, selecting your responses as the session progresses.
- Reflect on the choices you made as a social worker engaging with the adolescent and consider how those choices may have been influenced by the age of the client.
Write a post in which you reflect on your experience engaging with the adolescent in the case.
- How did you approach the case, and how did the age of the client factor into your decision making?
- Then, imagine it was an older client (age 75 or above) in the same situation. How comfortable or uncomfortable would you be?
- Would your approach be different based on cultural norms related to age?