I've just recovered from a long session of play-fighting with a rambunctious neighbor kid, and I've realized something important, so bear with me.
Age is one of the ways to determine whether someone is mature or not, and with good reason. I am more mature than my small six-year-old brother. An old woman is more mature than I am. And once you reach a certain age, the masses expect you to sit up straight. To smile politely and not be cheeky. To clear your plate and follow to rules of etiquette as best you can, and so on and so forth.
I find it hard to shift when all the rules bind me, like a good little kitty, into place. When I'm just hanging out in the normal human world, where most people have only one species and don't deal with weird feline instincts every day, I can't shift. Cannot. I can't even go "mrow!" when I drop something heavy on my foot.
I am not concerned with getting rid of taboos. If I roll around on the floor purring people are going to look at me oddly: I have to accept that. However, I do think that little kids have got the better situation, and I'll explain why.
Small children are freer than the rest of the population. They can run around naked, make silly noises, get dirty, and act like animals. I wish I could do that (not run around naked, you ass, act like an animal.)
I can't. And it's so frustrating! Now that I'm growing to be an adolescent, I am expected to do all this romantic, angsty nonsense, and to be trendy and preppy and bite back all my natural urges. It hurts. Dammit, it hurts.
Someday I'll live in an apartment of my own and be able to do whatever I want. For now, though I hate resisting a shift or trying to suppress contherianthropy, I'll have to stick with only a few shifting environments: in my kickass sewing class, in front of my house's fireplace, in my room or a corner of the nearest arboretum. It sucks, but heck, I've learned to deal with it after a year of being a feline sixth-grader. I'm a tough cub. I can deal with it.