Ageism, It’s time we fought for children’s rights

It’s spring time in New England and that means wedding season. Being in my late 20s, a lot of my friends are getting married. Among each of their different styles, colors and flowers I am seeing a recurring theme. NO KIDS ALLOWED

On one hand I can understand, who wants a baby crying while you say your vows, or a 3 year old running about while everyone should be sitting and eating? But on the other hand it puts us young families in a tough situation. I’ve spent the last 13 months building a bond with my son and struggling with milk supply. Am I wrong that I’m not ready to hand over the reigns even just for the night? Does that make me the ever feared helicopter mom? At the same time I have known the couples for years and it feels wrong to miss their big day. The whole situation confuses me to the point of tears.

So it’s got me thinking, how often are we seeing this happen? Restaurants, stores and even housing refusing admittance of children. Would similar places feel comfortable posting signs that said “no blacks” or “no women”? I highly doubt it. So why do we permit discrimination of our kin which need the most protection?

What is this teaching our children? That they are outcasts just because they’re smaller? That they are inherently bad because they have more energy and find it difficult to sit still? “Age discrimination reinforces stereotypes that young people are helpless, marginalised, and delinquent. Children may struggle to build positive identities and maintain a strong sense of self in the face of ideas that they are fundamentally inferior.”

Children are humans and need to be treated with equal human rights. It is illegal to use corporal punishment on adults, yet spanking a child it socially acceptable. It is illegal to segregate based on race, yet we do so based on age regularly. Children should be taught they are active members of our society, that we trust them to contribute and teach them how to do so. We should not be showing them that they are a nuisance or that they are inferior.

As Dr. Seuss says “A person’s a person no matter how small”.

Resources:
1. DISCRIMINATION: Briefing on age discrimination

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