Lilly Ghia-Wilberforce, 2007 (with significant edits in 2013)
[Lilly is now an adult, but we’re keeping this article up for plural systems with children who may not fit the stereotype of the ‘little’. —Eds., 2023-11-27]
Unfortunately there are lots of stereotypes in plural communities about how children should behave. Those exist in most of society, but there are ones that are mainly only in plural communities.
One is the Littles stereotype. A lot of people call the children within plural groups Littles, and there seems to be a ‘Code of Behaviour’ for them. It isn’t written down or anything, but a lot of people feel as if they have to conduct themselves according to this ‘code’. For instance, children are not expected to know how to spell or use good grammar. It’s understandable that some children might not know how to spell, but some do, whether it is because they are good spellers in general or if they use their common memory’s knowledge of spelling. It’s almost as if they have not been taught at school or something! People think that if a child spells and punctuates and uses grammar correctly then they are pretending to sound like children. Whatever happened to teaching children how to write and spell correctly? Being in a multiple system doesn’t preclude that.
I’m nearly 15 now, but when I was younger, I wrote pretty well for my age, and I felt insulted when people said that I should not be writing correctly, or that I was not really a child because I DID write correctly, or had a larger vocabulary than most children. This is silly and I wish people would realise that there are children with different abilities and experiences that might allow them to be exposed to more advanced vocabulary than some other children. I didn’t like those generalisations back then, and I certainly don’t like them now.
I also HATE sections on plurality sites (primarily classic trauma-split multiplicity) that make ‘LILZ’ sections that all look the same. These people think that kids actually LIKE things like backward letters and sloppy things drawn in marker pen. (I think that stuff is really stupid, actually.) This is not just about plural sites; this is about things for children in the first place. It is actually kind of patronising and it made me not want to go to those places as they do not think children are intelligent enough to understand difficult things.