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John Demos' discussion of the changes the American family has undergone from the Colonial period to the present day - Essay Example

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[Your Name] and Number] John Demos’ discussion of the changes the American family has undergone from the Colonial period to the present day John Putnam Demos is an American historian and author. He wrote about the evolution of American families over time among other things…
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John Demos discussion of the changes the American family has undergone from the Colonial period to the present day
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John Demos' discussion of the changes the American family has undergone from the Colonial period to the present day

Download file to see previous pages... Demos believed the colonial era was one of gender equality as there was no distinction between work activities and home activities as well the production and reproduction function, and mothers had a better status then than they have today. Fathers in the household were more involved and interacted in their homes a great deal more and felt it uncanny if they didn’t and even though they were the head of the family, those unequal feelings and matters between genders didn’t exist. Later on, these patterns were to change (Demos 1999). Also, before the twentieth century, the concept of children and childhood didn’t exist in America. Children were important and have gained great importance over the years, now that they have started to influence decisions in the household due to their pester power, however before they were considered this important, they weren’t even regarded as children essentially. They were to act and behave like adults and have responsibilities like adults because their importance in society was equated from their worth in their household in economic and financial terms. This was a sort of world where children were dictated and not treated as children; they were in fact forced to be adults, a concept known as ‘authoritarian childbearing.’ Later it was realized that children also have needs, and these needs are not similar to our needs and they had different kind of personalities as well so not all children were the same, just like all adults weren’t. Children therefore were stuff, and almost mirror reflections in terms of behavior of their mother and father as they had to proper and fill in the roles of adults at a very early age. Disciplining the child was essential and they had to be shaped and maneuvered so that they exhibited no qualities of a child that we see today. The Puritans during Colonial times believed that the child was no good, and all his childish urges had to be pressed down so that they didn’t rise to the surface and cause any harm. Demos believed that even though this habit was practiced, he didn’t believe in it. He believed that such a repressive behavior would result in crippling the child’s growth, leaving him unable to have confidence in him or herself, and always feeling like something bestowed on the planet that was worthless and shameful to all (Demos 1999). The clothing and playing activities were also different in a household. Children didn’t indulge in much playing and recreation due to the fact their clothes wouldn’t allow them to do so. Clothes were what were viewed as wealth in the colonial times, and people who were wealthy had plenty of them as a result. Children as well were subjected to wearing heavy clothing which was fitted at their torso and similar to their parents; they also wore skirts, both male and female, and this was irksome because one couldn’t tell the gender difference very often. This today would be seen as emasculation. Skirts also showed that people were dependant on someone. Wives and little children were assumed to be dependent on their husbands and fathers and this skirt wearing depicted so. Children also died a great deal; there were many diseases like chickenpox around, and no medicinal facilities and parents lost children every day and suffered grief and loss. And families perhaps had the intention of educating their children, but there were no ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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