Defining Youth Discrimination

I have written this mini-glossary for terms that need to be understood in order to define youth discrimination throughout society. To learn more, visit The Freechild Project Glossary.

  • Adultcentrism is the practice of regarding adult, including their opinions, interests and actions, above young peoples’ opinions, interests and action.
  • Adultization is the elimination of childhood and adolescence by schools, marketers and parents in order to promote order and eliminate the “inconvenience” of youth.
  • Adultism is the practice of favoring adults before young people. This happens every where, all of the time: Schools, lawmaking, movies and music all reflect adults’ interests and perceptions. Even young people can unconsciously share adults’ perceptions of young people. 
  • Adultocracy is the collection of obvious and unobvious tools adults use to impose their authority, domination and superiority over children and youth. 
  • Commercialism is the manufacturing and distribution of objects and traits that were formerly free to young people, particularly in the forms of education and culture. 
  • Consumerism is the process of identifying, training and transforming young people into complacent consumers rather than dissatisfied citizens. 
  • Criminalization is the formal and informal process that makes young people or their specific actions illegal, particularly when young people or their actions were legal in the past.
  • Decoration happens when young people are used to make a situation look sufficient, often without their consent or knowledge.  
  • Demonization is a process for making young people evil in order to justify attacking them in the forms of character assassination, legal action and to get rid of their civil liberties. 
  • Discrimination happens whenever someone makes a decision that does not include other people. Everyone discriminates all the time, and that is not always bad. 
  • Ephebiphobia is the fear of youth. 
  • Gerontocracy happens when older people control an institution or government at the expense of all other age groups in society. 
  • Gerontophobia is the fear of older people. 
  • Infantalization happens whenever a person is made unable or assumed to be incapable of something because of their age, presumed development, or education. 
  • Juenism is the favoring of children and youth over adults. 
  • Manipulation occurs when adults exert influence over young people in order to gain for themselves. 
  • Militarization is the process where young people and the procedures they participate in become overtly manipulated or controlled by the military or administered in a military fashion. 
  • Neoliberalism is the process of making private formerly public entities in order to introduce market values to young people at the expense of collective benefit. 
  • Paternalism describes the notion that by “protecting” children and youth, adults are preventing young people from harming themselves. 
  • Pediaphobia is the fear of children. 
  • Standardization is causing young people to conform to any standard or norm, particularly those administered by adults. 
  • Tokenism happens whenever young people are included in order to make it appear that young people are participating; occurs exclusive of meaningful participation.

Learning the language is the first step to stopping discrimination against youth. Learn more throughout The Freechild Project website!

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker and writer who researches, writes and shares about youth, education, and history. Learn more about me at

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