Child Rearing In Victorian Times
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Child Rearing in Victorian Times Childhood barely existed for most British children at the end of theeighteenth century, since they began a lifetime of hard labour as soon as theywere capable of simple tasks. By contrast, the fortunate children of thewealthy generally were spoiled and enjoyed special provisions for the need of alengthy childhood, yet who in a way may have endured the same pain of those whowere not as fortunate. Child rearing in the Victorian times was not at all similar to childrearing today. There were of course two different categories on how the childwas brought up. They went from one extreme to the other.
They were thedifference of the classes. The life of an upper class child during theVictorian era, was as one may put it, stuffy, conventional and routine, not tomention quite lonely at certain times. Yet others argue Victorian childrenshould have been quite content, given the fact that they were treated to onlythe best of toys, clothes and
education and it was absurd to even consider thechild being neglected. Mothers and Fathers were seen as special, glamourous guests, due to thefact that they were never around and rarely seen by their children. This wasbecause child and parent led totally separate existences, they were onlysummoned to appear before their parents at a certain set hour of the day. ManyVictorian children like Winston Churchill and Harriet Marden recall such coldrelations between their selves and their mothers that they would be able tocount how many times in their life they had been hugged. Family life was formal, although during that time child rearing manuals urged bonding and maternal ties, mothers remained cool and distant. Children were a convenience to their parents, they obeyed them as they would an army officer
Sir Osbert Sitwell once argued, Parents were aware that the child would be a nuisance and a whole bevyof servants, in addition to the complex guardianship of nursery and school roomswas necessary not so much to aid the infant as to screen him from his father ormother, except on some occasions as he could be used by them as adjuncts, toysor decorations. Although this only describes a minority of parents it was always in thebest interests for the child not to be heard or in the way, it was rarely takento the extent of screening the child. It was the era of nurses and nannies, the child was not raised by thewoman who gave birth to him, but by the hired help. This assured the parents ofa good upbringing, considering they inform the nanny to instill their beliefsand morals onto the children. It also assured constant care and a watchful eye. The child's life operated with clockwork regularity, they seldomventured out of the nursery, unless it was to take a walk in the park or toattend dance class with the nanny. The child ate breakfast at eight o'clock, dinner at 12 o'clock and tea at six o'clock.
When the children reached acertain age they were permitted to join their mother for a luncheon at 10o'clock, and were able to spend one hour prior to dinner in their mother'sdressing room. Other than meals, occasional visits with mother and short walksin the park, the child had nothing to do except play with lavish toys, such asthe toy theatre, the steam driven train, jack-in-the-boxes and beautiful dolls. It was quite important to select a conscientious, attentive type ofnurse given she will raise the children until the latter years in which theywill be reared by the school. Therefore, parents screened them before hiringthem. Many nannies, contrary to the Mary Poppins stereotype were usuallyunmarried old maids who were strict to the point of being sadistic. Although onthe other hand some were warm and caring, providing the only love andcompanionship in the child's life.
Even with the austere aspects of the nursery, caring nannies could brighten everything up right down to the meals, which weremonotonous unlike those of their parents who would feast on a thirteen-coursemeal while they would force down boiled potatoes and mutton. They were notpermitted to indulge in any confectionary, fresh fruit, puffed pastries orsugared candy for it was thought rich foods of that sort were bad for thechild's digestive system along with his morals. Children who were raised in the wealthy families of this period hadlives which were very protective, very suffocating, they were unable to show anyemotion to the people responsible for bringing them into this world. They werealways to act prim and proper, and to speak only when spoken to. In our day inage we would probably consider that mental abuse, and even though they were theeducated ones, the families in the lower classes were more attached, more bondedas a family.
The regime for the upbringing of poorer family was not at all asextravagant and ludicrous of those of aristocracy. They were usually tightlybonded, living in such small quarters, sharing everything, and being unable toafford any hired help to raise the children. The lower class children did notenjoy the expensive toys, the attentions of the nurse maid, nor the comforts ofa wholesome diet. The gap between these children diminished as we entered the twentiethcentury, albeit during the Victorian era they came to share the same pastimes, educational facilities, and welfare. The strict upbringing of prominent Victorian children left its mark onsociety. Even though it has almost been 100 years since the end of this era, ittook a very long time for the child to escape the meticulous and rigid mannersof such a contrast time and finally be free to express feeling, thought andopinion without being punished.
It leaves one to question the morality and sense in the minds of theseparents, who in a way had children that they did not take care of, yet providedfor them throughout their lives. Parents wanted perfection instead of devotion. And it seems all preposterous, but it appeared theirs was less violence, morerespect, and virtually a better society. It would appear the Victorians had the right idea in the strictness andthe demonstration of respect, but they lacked love and feeling in the realm ofchild rearing. Works CitedEvans, Hillary & Mary. The Victorians. New York: Arco, 1973.Greenleaf, Barbara Kaye.
Children Through The Ages. New York: McGraw-Hill,1978, pp. 78-83.Kennedy, David. Children. London: Batsford, 1971, pp. 59-67.
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Child Rearing in Victorian Times Childhood barely existed for most British children at the end of the Eighteenth century, since they began a lifetime of hard labour as soon as they Were capable of simple tasks. By contrast, the fortunate children of the Wealthy generally were spoiled and enjoyed special provisions for the need of a Lengthy childhood, yet who Child rearing in the victorian era
Childhood barely existed for most British children at the end of the eighteenth century, since they began a lifetime of hard labour as soon as they were capable of simple tasks. By contrast, the fortunate children of the wealthy generally were spoiled and enjoyed special provisions for the need of a lengthy childhood, yet Benjamin Spock «Dr. Benjamin Spock, hailed as the grandfather of pediatrics, is known as the leading authority on child rearing.» (Gale 1997) Dr. Benjamin Spock was born on May 2 1903 in New Haven Connecticut, The oldest of six children of a lawyer. Spock attended Yale university, where he became a member of the Yale rowing crew Social Deviance Sample essay topic, essay writing: Social Deviance - 1117 words
'Social Deviance'Social deviance stems from the passive-aggressive attitudes parents have upon their children. This pressure, coupled with society's own conformist attitude, causes certain members of the society to drift toward what sociologists call deviant groups. These deviant groups, like punks, hippies or other radical organizations, often Abusive Parents Researchers at the University of Toronto have taken important steps toward Producing a profile of an abusive parent. Prof. Gary Walters and doctoral student Lynn Oldershaw of the Department of Psychology have Developed a system to characterize parents who Physically abuse their children. This could Ultimately allow social service professionals to Identify parents in child