Has Childhood Improved

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  • Created on: 06-05-15 20:50
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  • Has Childhood Improved
    • Childhood is better now - March of progress (Aries, Willmott and Young, shorter)
      • Improved Rights, better education and health care , child centered families and society have benefited children.
      • Shorter and Aries: Up until 20th Century children put to work at 7 or 8
        • 20th century saw the emergence of a child centered society.
          • Standard of living and nutrition partially led to this.
        • Contraception has allowed the choice and by extension those who want the child are likely to put more investment in terms of love, socialization and protection
      • Lloyd de Mause
        • Harshness of childhood throughout history e.g. abuse, sexual abuse,
          • Led to hate filled adults e.g. creation of Nazism
    • Changes have gone too far ( Functionalists and New Right)
      • Children are in need of adult guidance
      • Melanie Philips: Innocence of childhood undermined due to two things
        • Liberal idea's giving more rights and powers to children
          • Children should be socialized to have respect for parental authority.
          • children have too much choice e.g. how long they play games, what to eat, when to go to bed
        • Media and Peer groups have become more influential than Parents.
          • children do not have the emotional maturity to cope.
    • Childhood has not improved - Child liberationists (e.g. Holt, Firestone, Gittins)
      • Diana Gittins
        • Age Patriarchy where children are oppressed by adult male power.
          • Hockey and James (1993) found that many children found their childhood restrictive and oppressive and most wanted to grow up as soon as possible.
      • Children are under constant adult supervision
        • In school, to and from school, CCTV etc..
        • Control over time e.g. school time, HW, bedtime etc..
      • Adults can still hit/ touch children
      • Children and young people have no economic independence.
      • Restrictions on movements/ travel.
    • Childhood has not improved - toxic childhood - Sue Palmer 2006.
      • Junk food diets, Obesity, growing number of people with special needs, Depression, increased pressure on children to succeed in education.
        • Fashion, psychological and physical abuse, blurring lines between children and adults - especially in the media/internet leading to a loss of innocence (Postman)
      • Sue Palmer - Childhood is becoming toxic as a result of adult activities.
        • Margo and Dixon (2006) agree and say childhood has the issue of obesity, tooth decay, self harming/child suicide, drug and alcohol use, violence and mental health problems.
      • EVALUATION: The toxic childhood experience is not a global one - UNICEF points to countries such as France/Spain for a better diet.
      • EVALUATION: Womack 2007 - The features of the toxic childhood are only among the poor
        • Ageing population has also led to politicians focusing on the elderly for votes.
      • EVALUATION: Some features of current lifestyle are not toxic - Mobile phones have led to increased communication..
        • Cyber bullying? - Reduced attention span of young people?
    • Childhood Diversity
      • Conflict theorists argue that gender, class and ethnicity have a major impact on childhood experiences
        • Muslim, Hindu's and Sikh's feel a stronger obligation to look after parents.
      • Brannen and Bhatti found that UK Asian parents are highly strict when dealing with daughters.
      • Varies by social class - Upper class in boarding schools, working classes in susceptible environments regarding poverty.
        • Health inequalities between classes - Howard (2001)
      • Varies by Gender - Boys and girls socialized in different ways e.g. Masculinity and femininity.
        • Bonke - Found that girls are expected to do more housework
  • Alternative View: Morrow, children didn't want to make decisions for themselves but wanted a say in what happened to them
  • CONFLICTING: Disagrees with the view of the March of progress that childhood is improving and says that childhood is not an innocent and protected phase.


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