When I was a child, I often thought that I could understand things better than anyone, sometimes even than adults. I didn't need detailed explanations and I did not like to be talked down to. I remember asking things and not being given a precise answer. Phrases like "one day you'll understand", "you are too little for that" or "just because" were simply not acceptable answers and just bothered me. I usually thought the adults who used them were just trying to hide the fact that they didn't understand things enough themselves, which made them the dumb ones. My respect went always to those who treated me like an equal.
Does that sound familiar? How about nowadays? I am close to my 30's, and I still feel the same. I think I will always feel the same. We all do. Let me know about someone who at any age is comfortable feeling lectured by, or talked down to. We are in constant learning since the moment we are born. And we will until we die.
I propose a reflection: think about what you know now, what you've been through, what you were taught and what you've learned by yourself. You know a lot more than you knew a few
years ago, right? In fact, you are now wiser than you could have ever been. We are always at our best at the present, we are as mature as we ever were, lived as long as we ever lived, learned the most we've ever learned - being five or fifty. We can't simply compare to us in the future, we can only compare us to ourselves in past.
As adults, children want to be taken seriously, and being treated with condescension feels disrespectful disregarding our age. Trusting their wisdom and comprehension abilities challenge them and give them confidence. It's just a matter of adapting your speech to relate it to their current understanding of the world, but we are all seeking for knowledge. That's what we all have in common at any age: thirst for knowledge.
In a non-religious view, I'd like to use the story of Adam and Eve as the perfect metaphor of childhood.
Adam and Eve were the first children of God, the greatest father representation in Human History. They were nurtured in their father's home, the Paradise, where they had food with no effort and lived naked, free of shame and modesty. But father gave the children one sole negative command: You shall not eat the from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. Until the Serpent, or the desire, told Eve that eating from the Tree would make them become like God. Unable to restrain themselves, Adam and Eve did so, disobeying their father. With the knowledge of good and evil, they became aware of their sex and covered themselves, ashamed. And for their disobedience father God expelled them from the Paradise condemning them to work for food and living.
Their sin wasn't knowing about sex or good and evil, as most people think, but disobedience. The knowledge of evil and good is moral agency - which is an adult's trait. Disobeying God, Adam and Eve reach adulthood. And since they no longer need nurture, father kicks his "grown up" son and daughter from his house of paradise to real life, where they are doomed to work hard to pay for their own food and living.
Commanding them not to seek knowledge was a very tricky order to begin with. You see, they were unable to restrain themselves from eating the fruit of knowledge because no one can keep children from growing up, not even themselves. Becoming God, or a grown up, is what every child longs to become one day, and the serpent is that desire.
Moral of story: Children will always seek knowledge. That's the human's greatest pursuit in life. Preventing them from it will not protect them, they will find their own ways to reach it - even if it is to disobey their parents.