Beyond Normalising Breastfeeding: Normalising Childhood

It’s time to accept the fact that not only do babies and young children have the right to eat in public, they have the right to BE in public.

Travel with your children. Eat at restaurants together. Go places where there are other people of all ages. This is their childhood. It’s happening right now. It can be tempting to put off everyday adventures, everyday living until they are just a little older and things are just a little more convenient, and a little less messy. The downside is that we spend our lives stuck in a holding pattern, just waiting for our turn to live a full life.

Don’t wait. Live a full life now. Inconvenience yourself a little. Inconvenience other people a little.

Don’t wait. Live a full life now. Inconvenience yourself a little. Inconvenience other people a little. This doesn’t mean that children should be allowed to destroy property, hurt other people, or yell and scream where others expect to have quiet conversations. They aren’t exempt from the basic human courtesies that we as parents are responsible for guiding them toward and modeling for them. But it does mean that children should be allowed to touch a few things that aren’t fragile or dangerous. They should be free to talk to other people or refrain from talking to people as they see fit. They should be allowed to cry and be angry. Children are just as much a part of our society as adults. Let’s accept them and embrace them exactly as they are now. Being a child is not simply training for being an adult, just as being an adult is not simply training for being a senior citizen.

Get out together and participate fully in the world. Yes, it might get messy. Yes, it could get a little loud. Yes, a meltdown might occur. That’s OK. That’s childhood. Let’s normalize it.


Nina Palmo is a Nordic-born, Midwestern-raised, Texas denizen. She teaches sociology at a major university and blogs about attachment parenting, unschooling, alternative schooling, and intentional living at Pocketful of Pebbles. She lives in the Austin, Texas area with her husband and two daughters.

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