The Effects of Adultism on Morale

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Over the last few days I’ve been writing about the effects of adultism on organizations and programs that intend of help children and youth. Here is another one.

The Effects of Adultism on Morale

Adultism lowers the expectations, abilities, and outcomes of organizations. Young people may be found doing more whispering than working, acting hostile toward each other and towards adults, and shunning or refusing to interact with other young people or adults. The reasons could be unfair treatment, favoritism, or a lack of acknowledgement from adults. These actions cause youth programs to fail constantly and leave children and youth feeling insecure, unappreciated and anxiety ridden.


Adultism is not just offensive to young people themselves, but to all others in youth-serving organizations. When adultism runs rampant in the vision, mission, goals, activities, and outcomes of an organization, “success” itself is determined solely on adult terms, offering little or no checks and balances for bias towards adults.



Because of all of this, adults lose their credibility, trustability, and connectedness with children and youth. When adults are not respected, some engaged youth and highly motivated children, regardless of their age, will leave.


As a result, youth-serving organizations will lose young people from their programs, outcomes from their activities, funding from their supporters, and goodwill from the larger community. This is what truly causes youth programs to fail.


Let me know what you think in the comments section! If you’re interested, you can read the complete paper this is taken from called Adultism Kills: The Effects of Discrimination Against Children and Youth on Nonprofits at




Published by Adam

Adam F. C. Fletcher helps organizations engage people more successfully. Contact him by calling (360) 489-9680 or emailing

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