Famillies and Households- Childhood

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  • Childhood
    • Western Notion
      • childhood see as separate 'golden age' of happiness and innocence
      • Child centeredness
        • Children are seen as vulnerable and need protecting by laws
    • Childhood as a Social Construction
      • Socially Constructed
        • something that is created and defined by society
      • Cross Cultural differences
        • Bolivia- children work from 5 years old in home and community
        • 300,000 under 18 child soldiers across the world
        • Children's sexual behaviour varies in Trobriad
        • Evaluation- some children don't seem to have childhood suggesting that the notion of childhood is a social construction
      • Historical Differences
        • Aries (1960)- 10th- 13th Century
          • same laws applied to children and adults
          • dressed similar
          • Child games didn't exist
          • Children simply 'mini adult'
          • HOWEVER
            • Linda Pollock (1983)- society simply had a different notion of childhood NOT that it didn't exist
            • Aries didn't complete primary research and relied on paintings and stories
      • Reasons for change in position in 19th- 20th century
        • child labour laws
        • Compulsory schooling and raising of school leaving age
        • Child protection legislation- Rights of the child 1989
        • Minimum age laws
        • Other Reasons
          • Lower infant and child mortality rates
          • Impact of the mass media
    • Has the position improved
      • March of progress
        • March of progress
        • protected from abuse
        • More child centred
        • Media and leisure activities
      • :( idealised image of childhood- ignores 'dark side' of childhood
      • Conflict View
        • Inequalities between children
          • Gender differences- girls do more domestic labour
          • Ethnic differences- Asian parents overly strict
          • Class differences- Marxists-poorer w/c higher infant mortality and do less well at school
          • International differences- childhood and life chances
        • Inequalities between children and adults
          • Liberationists- Firestone(1979) claim adults use power to protect children- AGE PATRIARCHY
          • Space and time-- restricting where children can go
          • Time- control daily routines
          • Bodies- control how children look
          • 'Dark side'- neglect and abuse
          • :( adult intervention and control is necessary- to safe guard children who are not mature enough to make rational decisions
    • Future of childhood
      • Disappearance
        • Postman (1994)- children growing up too quickly and losing their innocence
          • Disappearance of supervised games
          • Growing similarity of clothing
          • children committing 'adult crimes'
          • underage sex, smoking and drinking
        • Palmer (2006)-Toxic childhood
      • Reasons for Disappearance
        • Postman- technology and media eroded boundary between children and adulthood
          • :( not all children are equally affected by above- lower social class and poorer social groups
      • NOT Disappearing
        • Opie (1993)-  children still have their own independent separate culture
        • Lierationists
          • oppressive western patterns of children are spreading throughout the world
          • International agencies campaign for separate childhood

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