Even though Crewniverse stated that they have no intent on poofed Steven because he will be DEAD! but they have KILLED his Childhood
Compare Gem Glow and Mindful Education
Gem Glow Steven is a Happy-Go-Lucky kid and the most optimistic character who love to sang about Ice Cream! and his childlike innocence and hope often kept the show grounded in the face of the outright depressing and horrifying things that happened to the characters.
Mindful Education Steven is now beginning to be traumatized after he was unable to turn Bismuth, Jasper and Eyeball good. He doesn't see Rose Quartz as his mom anymore after learning about her being a liar and killing Pink Diamond! Even Though Connie convince him that is NOT his fault. Steven is still haunted by this! He's now experienced the same thing that CGs and everyone go though! I think he's still happy-go-lucky kid but not the one from Gem Glow anymore. Man! I have to say but this episode confirm that Steven's Childhood is........ DEAD!
Steven has been gradually shedding his innocence about Gem matters and the full legacy of his mother's rebellion throughout the show. Certainly after season 1 he knew it wasn't all fun and games.
That said, he is 14. I don't think childhood has been completely traumatized out of him, but he is getting older over the course of the show. While he'll still technically be a child for a few more years, teenagers tend to see a bit more of the darkness in the world than younger kids, even if they're not born into a millennia-old alien conflict.
The next episode is called Future Boy Zoltron so hopefully in it, Steven will show more of his younger side. I still believe that Steven has childhood left in him and I think that's what makes Steven special c:
The show is about development. Not just in the literary sense, or even the fact that the description of the show states it is about Steven learning to control his powers. He has been constantly being molded into a more understanding and wise person. He is learning that there are some things you just can't change (Apologies for the Forrest Gump reference). His journey is that of growth and philosophy. No matter how much we want things to be good, life just isn't always perfect, and it is the process of accepting this truth that Steven is going through. This doesn't necessarily mean his childhood is dead, especially since day one he had to have known that the Crystal Gems are constantly going out into the field to battle monsters with the very real threat of risking their lives.
But I digress, and perhaps I contradict myself.
This topic does make me think about the very first verse of the theme song. It's filled with confidence, and we are starting to see that victory isn't as simple as having hope or faith.
Do you remember when Steven resumed his life to the Cool Kids at "Joy Ride"? Everybody was shocked, because their supposed "problems" were nothing compared to his, yet, he still tried to be positive over things and smile. This is the real Steven Quartz Universe... I mean, nobody in that city (or the entire world) has gone through so many traumatic situations; someone like Lars would even commit suicide, but not Steven.
Yeah, his childood was completely messed up in this season, but he will still find a way to smile. It's Steven anyways...
Childhood eh? I think he really doesn't have a childhood anymore, with how things began to roll, but he is still positive and upbeat on iy. I don't see Steven going to school anymore, (did he even went to one?) unlike Connie who just threw a student over her shoulder or something, but he kept on reading books and strives to have a normal life (by going to the library, that's one, oh and also buying a donut).
The other Crystal Gems doesn't go to the main hub of the city but Steven does. He strives to have a semblance of normal human life. Remember people, Gems doesn't have a childhood. They were already an adult (its somewhat debatable, especially with Peridot and the... Rubies around. Wait, Peridot is something else...) by the time they came out of their hole.
We could say that Steven's childhood is dead but his human life is still alive and kicking. Being half-gem doesn't really allows you to have a normal childhood, with how you have superhuman abilities and other things, but you could still have a normal human life if you want to.
(I imagine Rose left Greg a note not to have Steven interact much with other humans because she's afraid of the possibilty of a half-human-half-gem fusing with another human baby.)
Steven at the age of 14 has had to deal with murder, emprisonemt, war, violence, corruption, force fusions, end of the world, parental abandonment and betrayal... I think Steven has been loosing his innocence and as you say Childhood since Season 1 - Mirror and Ocean Gem
Steven's innocence ended with "The Return/ Jailbreak" when he learned what the Gems truly are. Up until that point, he dealt with everything Gem-related with childlike joy and innocence - even the Gem monsters. After his encounter with Jasper and Peridot, he became seriously traumatized when he realized that the Gems are in fact evil. And from there on, it has been serious business for him and the Crystal Gems.
It was gone in Cat Fingers, when he learned that with the slightest lapse in judgment his own body would betray him in the most horrifying ways. And So Many Birthdays taught him that his body would literally murder him if he so much as thought wrong. And in Frybo he took Peedee's childhood down with him. Who'd have thought his favorite ice cream treat being discontinued would be the best thing to happen to him in his teenage years so far?
You say that like it's a bad thing. I, personally, wouldn't use the word dead, more transitioning. Steven has had a lot of trauma in his life recently, but he is also growing older. He is becoming less innocent, but he is also gaining maturity; it takes a lot of skill to create a character this rich and complex, especially in a cartoon. Without change, (better or worse), we would have an extremely boring story / plotline. So maybe we should all be thankful that Steven is able to progress and mature in this way.