What is childism?

Like racism, sexism, or ablism, childism is a prejudice against a marginalized group – in this case, children. It shows up in many ways, but one of the most prominent is our tendency to separate children from the rest of society. When I typed “children belong in public spaces” into the search bar on my computer, Google informed me that people also ask:

  • How do I get my child under control?
  • How do you learn to respect others?
  • How do you control an aggressive child?

The message here is that parenting in public is risky business; the world is watching, and you’d better have your kids in line or leave them at home. But humans learn by doing. Children learn to navigate the world by being in the world. If we confine them to child-friendly spaces until they’re somehow magically ready to be part of society, we are not helping them bridge the gap from inexperienced, dependent children to competent, independent adults.

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