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Examine the reasons for changes in the position of children in the family and society

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Examine the reasons for changes in the position of children in the family and society In my opinion childhood begins at birth and ends at around eighteen, but this differs between different time periods and societies. In pre-industrial society, it was thought that childhood as we know it did not exist within the family or the society that existed. In terms of the family, children of middle class background were almost regarded as adults themselves being who participated in the same activities as adults. But working class children were made to work long hours in agriculture, this according to Aries told us that children were seen more as economic assets than a symbol of peoples love for one another. One thing in common that both sets of children shared in this society was strict control by parents and harsh punishment for disobedience. It was difficult in society at this time to attach emotion to children as infant mortality rates were so high. ...read more.


The third characteristic was that children were seen as having a right to 'happiness'. The main reason things like this began to be highlighted as being important for children, was that infant mortality was decreasing so parents began to care more for their children as the fear of losing them at a young age lessened. However it was not until the 20th century when family sizes decreased (due to a rise in contraception and the higher expense of having children) and children's rights were actually put into laws that the child-centred society was born. The decrease in family size meant that children were very much the centre of the family given all the love and attention they needed as well as socialisation and protection. It was these factors that lead Aries to the conclusion that childhood was a relatively new concept having been seen as virtually nonexistent in the past. As society became concerned for the welfare of children, so did the government. ...read more.


He sees these technologies as exposing children to sex, disaster, death and suffering (the 'real world'). Sue Palmer also has these views and sees these things as leading to a 'toxic childhood' except she believes it is the adults who are being over exposed to the technologies leading to a lack of attention on the part of the child. On the other hand there are sociologists who believe the functionalists ignore how children see the world around them, and that children have their own unique way of viewing family life which they actively employ in interaction with their parents, meaning that parent-child relations are a two-way process where both parties influence the nature and quality of family life. For example research by Morrow suggests that most children have a pragmatic view of their family role in that they did not want to make decisions for themselves but did want a say in how things happened. ?? ?? ?? ?? Naomi Hawkins 12GAR ...read more.

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