This article offers a consideration of the ways that the politics of normative childhoods are shaped by discourses of happiness predicated on heteronormativity. Responding to the work of Cristyn Davies and Kerry Robinson (2013, this issue), the authors argue that non-normative families and in particular, non-normative parenting, are obliged to secure, protect and police their children's perceived entitlements to normative ‘happy’ childhoods in order to achieve social legitimacy. Such obligations, they contend, locate non-normative parents and families, rather than societies, as responsible for the effects of discriminatory social norms to which they are subjected. Informed by the work of Jonathan Silin, the authors support a politics of childhood that gives discursive legitimacy to children's voice and experience regarding the ways in which normativity is enforced at their and their families' expense. Copyright © 2013 by SAGE Publications.