By Peter N. Stearns
The 19th and 20th centuries observed a dramatic shift within the function of kids in American society and households. not priceless for exertions, teenagers grew to become fiscal liabilities and twentieth-century mom and dad exhibited a brand new point of tension about the welfare in their teenagers and their very own skill to guardian successfully. What brought on this shift within the methods parenting and youth have been skilled and perceived? Why, at a time of relative ease and prosperity, do mom and dad proceed to grapple with uncertainty and with unreasonable expectancies of either themselves and their teenagers? Peter N. Stearns explains this phenomenon by way of studying the hot matters the 20 th century delivered to endure on households. Surveying renowned media, *#8220;expert” childrearing manuals, and newspapers and journals released through the century, Stearns indicates how education, actual and emotional vulnerability, and the increase in impression of commercialism grew to become fundamental issues for fogeys. the outcome, Stearns indicates, is that modern mom and dad have come to think that they're partaking in a tradition of forget and diminishing criteria. worried mom and dad: a contemporary heritage of Childrearing in the United States indicates the explanations for this trust via an historical exam of contemporary parenting.
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Extra info for Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America
While the popularity of Freudianism in the United States has been debated, and not all Viennese theory found favor, Freudian ideas extended the belief in unconscious forces that could overwhelm children. They also confirmed the central importance of early childhood. Behaviorists explicitly disputed Freudian premises in many respects, but they echoed many of the points that could help convince parents that children were fragile creatures. Darwinian premises entered in, providing a vivid connection between natural humans—and children were the most natural humans around—and animals.
THE VULNERABLE CHILD 31 The spur of specific epidemics and the more general informational campaign about germs—what one historian has called the “domestication of germs” between the 1890s and the 1920s, with vivid images of the millions of unseen demons that could cling to clothing and kitchen crevices14—provided one of the key links binding immigrant and working-class Americans to the theme of childhood vulnerability. The details of what was prescribed for psychological health might seem remote to immigrants, but health threats were another matter.
Simply collecting and publishing accident statistics could have a great impact. American children became one of the most widely studied groups in the world, from a host of disciplinary vantage points. Collectively, the research that began to be directed toward children, by people like William James, G. ” Its premises involved a belief that scientific principles had never been applied to the study of children and that people were therefore amazingly ignorant about what children were like. The goal was to THE VULNERABLE CHILD 41 promote child development and happiness, but the findings emphasized troubles and deficiencies, including both ignorance and strain.
Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America by Peter N. Stearns