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Childhood since the Nineteenth Century - Essay Example

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In the paper “Childhood since the Nineteenth Century” the author discusses the issue that in order for parents to love their children truly, they needed to cultivate romantic love between themselves first. This was actually practiced in the 1750s when the trend to prearrange marriage declined…
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Childhood since the Nineteenth Century
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"Childhood since the Nineteenth Century"

Download file to see previous pages Their shift from villages to cities made them financially independent and their verisimilitude of developing nuclear family increased manifolds. Their individualism supported such a family system that would have them and their children alone. Having such short families, parents were in a position to devote more time to their children as there was little influence of neighbors or relatives. According to Stone (1977), the family system experienced a considerable change from 1450 to 1800 in that it became more and more narrow and closed. Earlier families had three or more generations living together, while the modernistic families had a nuclear structure, with only the parents and immediate children living together. Thus parents became more responsible for their children as there were no grandparents to take care of the children in their absence. Stone (1977) asserted that the concept of developing a nuclear family was accompanied by a rise in the trend of ‘affective individualism’ that encouraged individuals to choose marital partners for themselves. Thus, each member of the family was recognized as unique and naturally, the children gained full attention of the parents. Stone (1977) also was of the view that the industrial revolution played a big role in the rise of the nuclear family system. As parents became more and more careful about their children from 1450 to 1800, the child mortality rates ultimately began to decline in the 1800s. This caused the parents to be more careful about their children’s health and safety because in the earlier centuries when child mortality rates were quite high, the death of a child was visualized as a solid reason why parents should not develop an association with their children. Philippe Aries played a pivotal role in mapping the childhood history through his writing published in the Centuries of Childhood in 1962 (Roberts, 2008). That ‘terra incognita’ stirred up the emotions of many philosophers, writers, theorists and educationalists that led them to propose many a theories and concepts of modern childhood that shaped our perception of childhood as we know it today. An in-depth analysis of the childhood literature and conceptions from old centuries portrays a very sad image of childhood in those times. The commencement of childhood as a social construction can be dated back to the sixteenth century. Aries was of the view that the fundamental difference between the modern childhood and its conception in earlier centuries is that adults were far less careful about children in earlier centuries than they are now. Children were neither educated, nor were they treated differently from adults. Parents did not feel the need to attend the children, offer them their time and affection that the children required. The activities children indulged in the Middle Ages and also, the earlier modern era were not much different from those of the adults. A child was considered a child till the time he/she turned seven, though the child was thought of as miniature adult before that. After the age of seven, children were expected to and often forced into practically helping their parents with the farming or looking after their fields and livestock.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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