Mothering Forum banner

Just an innocent child...

1013 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  mamawanabe
I hear that expression a lot. What exactly does it mean? What makes children so innocent, and when are they no longer innocent?
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
[First, I have to say congratulations on your upcoming "droplet"!!]

Um, I think the expression means that there is no malice behind their actions. So when a kid walks up and grabs a toy right out of another kid's hand, it's not necessarily b/c they are mean and selfish or inconsiderate. This just happened to my DD today, and the kid who grabbed the toy was maybe 2. Honestly, I could just tell that the kid couldn't tell the difference between grabbing from DD's hand versus grabbing it off the table.

When do they stop being innocent? Well, that's a very good question. My feeling is that when one is mature enough to make decisions of conscience, then one can be held "guilty". Frankly, I think many kids don't get to that point until they are adolescents. But I think it's really a matter of opinion.
I think this comes from the concept of sin within the religious context.

Many religions teach children are innocent and, at some point in time, they become aware of the right and wrong and come to the "age of accountibility".

Usually this is around the age of seven (taught by the Catholic church, I believe) but I think children's awareness is individual and different children awaken to the concept of right and wrong at different ages.

Before this age a child will have some knowledge of good and bad, right and wrong, but it is emerging and the child is considered "innocent" (as in you won't convict him of the crime)

I think this is helpful for parents to understand because many of us (myself included) are more inclined to think of a child (when they do nasty things) as more deliberate than the child really is capable of being deliberate and premeditated.

Debra Baker
I guess it depends on the context it is being used in, I most often hear it when people talk about something bad happening in a family and someone will say, "and that poor innocent child will suffer", I think that just means that what is happening in the child's life is entirely not their fault and yet, they pay for what the parents do or don't do, etc.

Another thought I had, was how children are so innocent in life experience and knowledge of the "bad" or "evil" in life. I was watching Law and Order with dh the other night (after the kids were asleep
) and there was this horrible scene which I won't even go into, but I sat there dumbfounded thinking how someday my children (who are now so innocent) will know about things like that, people like that, etc. Breaks my damn heart, it really does. Someday my children know that there are adults who use children for sexual pleasure, or that there are men who will overpower women for sex (those are my 2 most horrific thoughts), and God forbid they ever be learning of those first hand, but even just learning that they happen, it is so horrible and shatters their "innocence".

I love that my children are innocent in every way (ie- no knowledge of evil, and no "guilt" for actions). I want to keep them this way as long as I can.
See less See more
Not sure how to phrase this but in addition to their lack of knowledge of evil/no guilt for actions/sexual innocence I think their total joy in life has something to do with it. They are not jaded by anything and are easily delighted and wonder at the world around them. What a treat to see Christmas through the eyes of a child again!
I think it comes from the Romantic idea that society is corrupting and nature is good and innocent.

It is all in your perspective though. The other strain of thought goes that soceity is a civilizing force and that nature (to which children are closer) is savage and selfish.

It is a loaded word. Certainly kids pre-socialization can be selish and cruel, though I guess we can call them innocent becuase they don't know better. (Would we call an adult without a conscious innocent?)

I remember how cruel and malicious kids were to me in kindergarden because we were poor and different (my parents were hippies). I will never be able to look back on that experience (I cried daily) and believe that children pre-adolecence are "innocent." 4 and 5 year olds got pleasure from hurting me in kindergarden, and they would continue to do so, sometimes to me and sometimes to other kids, until high school, when whatever pleasure they received, at least it occured behind the unpopular kids' backs.

Wow, this thread brought out a lot in me. Please don't think I am calling your children not innocent. I am thinking in more general terms about the word and whether most children can, in general, fit it.

I also think it strange when applied to adults. I certainly would never consider myself "innocent," and yet if anything bad not of my making happens to me, I immediatly become the "innocent" victim. Is it part of a black and white thinking that we like to indulge in, especially in America? I would say that all people are both good and bad to varrying degrees, including children, including murderers, including victims of 9-11, etc. But we don't have a langauge to aknowledge this, all we have is innocent or not.
See less See more
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.