Children’s participation in national policymaking: “You’re so adorable, adorable, adorable! I’m speechless; so much fun!”

Policymaking is one of the most challenging arenas in which children’s participation rights are implemented. The goal of this study is to portray patterns of children’s participation in public policymaking and characterize various adults’ reactions to children’s participation. The study draws on protocols of committees operating in the Israeli parliament and interviews with an advisory group of children and young people who had participated on the committees. The findings show the potential of children’s participation in national policy making to mobilize policy change and to contextualize policy discussions. They also demonstrate that children’s comments in policy discussions may evoke extreme responses, expressed as either fawning or dismissing. The conclusions offer practices that may assist in preparing both the participating children and the policymakers and in diversifying the children’s voices.