The growth of children and young people is usually experienced positively, even joyfully, by parents, teachers, neighbours and the wider family. One of the pleasures of working with children is often said to be ‘seeing them grow’. Yet, just as our ideas about children and childhood are socially constructed (James and James, 2004), so too are our ideas about their growth and development. Growth may be a taken-for-granted category, yet it is socially constructed, historically contingent and contested. How growth is perceived by children themselves, by parents or practitioners working with children — and how it is defined, how it should be promoted and regulated — is not fixed in space and time.
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