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 hard work, teenagers turned monetary liabilities and twentieth-century mom and dad exhibited a brand new point of tension in regards to the welfare in their kids and their very own skill to mother or father successfully. What prompted this shift within the methods parenting and adolescence 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 little ones? Peter N. Stearns explains this phenomenon by way of analyzing the recent concerns the 20th century dropped at undergo on households. Surveying renowned media, *#8220;expert” childrearing manuals, and newspapers and journals released through the century, Stearns exhibits how education, actual and emotional vulnerability, and the increase in impression of commercialism grew to become fundamental issues for folks. the end result, Stearns exhibits, is that modern mom and dad have come to think that they're partaking in a tradition of forget and diminishing criteria. frightened mom and dad: a contemporary background of Childrearing in the USA indicates the explanations for this trust via an old exam of contemporary parenting.
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Additional info for Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America
In 1948, Women’s Home Companion published an article by an anonymous parent who had lost a child and was convinced that the infant had died because physicians had advised him to place the boy on his stomach for sleep. Parental concern about this type of infant death was mounting, if only because so many other, more virulent problems had receded. Interestingly, fathers took at least as active a role in the campaign as mothers did, reflecting a level of parental anguish that may be less gender-specific than we sometimes imagine.
Some parents, in fact, complained that Dr. Spock heightened their anxiety. Spockian recommendations about such simple acts as bathing a child, with a huge list of do’s and don’ts about what to wear, how to regulate temperature, and so on, could fluster far more than reassure: parenting seemed very difficult. Parents’ panic might decline, but not their sense of childhood fragility. THE CASE OF FEAR Victorian attitudes toward fear and childhood were fairly straightforward and coincided largely with the confidence in the emotionally sturdy child.
It went through a number of printings, as many of its predecessors had. Then there was a publishing pause, as if both authors and audience needed a moment to shift gears to a different type of operation. Only one major source, the government-sponsored pamphlet Infant Care, suggested a new approach before 1918, and, while widely popular, the manual initially focused only on health issues. Then, in the 1920s, springing in part from authors associated with the same Children’s Bureau that continued to issue Infant Care, a new generation of literature began to emerge.
Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America by Peter N. Stearns