sociology- Has the position of children improved?

  • Created by: Daisymac
  • Created on: 29-01-19 17:17
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  • Has the position of children improved?
    • The march of progress view
      • Argue that, over the past centuries, the position of childhood in western societies has been steadily improving
      • Mause 1974 argues -" The further back in history one goes, the lower the level of childcare, and the more likely children are to be killed, abandoned beaten ..."
      • Aries and Shorter hold this view and argue today's children are more valued and enjoy better health
      • EG. in 1900 infant mortality rate was 154 per 1000 live births while today it is 4 in 1000
      • Higher standards and smaller households= parents can afford to meet their child's needs
      • Family has become child centred and parents invest lots of time in their children emotionally and have higher aspirations for them
      • Some argue that children are experiencing what palmer 2007 calls "Toxic childhood"
        • Rapid technological and cultural changes in past 25 years have damaged children's physical, emotional and intellectual development
        • UK youth have above average levels of obesity, self harm, drug and alcohol abuse, violence etc
      • March of progress writers argue that adults use the power of child-parent inequality as a form of protection by passing laws against child labour etc
    • The conflict view
      • Argue that the march of progress view is based on false and idealised image and ignores important inequalities
      • There are inequalities among children in terms of opportunities and risks they face as many children remain badly cared for
      • The inequalities between children and adults are greater than ever as they experience greater oppression and dependency
      • Inequalities among children
        • Children of different nationalities are likely to experience different childhoods and life chances
        • Hillman 1993 argues boys are mire likely to be allowed to cycle on roads ,use buses and go out after dark
        • Bonke 1999 found that girls do more domestic labour-- In lone parent families they do 5x more than boys
        • Brannens 1994 study of 15 -16 year olds found that Asians were more likely to be strict towards their daughters
        • Bhatti 1999 found that ideas of izzat (family honour) could be a restriction , particularly on girls
        • Class-- Poor  mothers are more likely to have low weight brith babies which delays physical and intellectual development
          • Children born into poorer families are more likely to die in childhood or have long term illnesses
          • Children of unskilled manual labour are 3 times more likely to suffer from hyperactivity and 4 times as likely to experience conduct disorders
      • Neglect and abuse
        • Over 27,000 children were identified as needing protection from neglect in 2017
        • Child line receives over 20,000 calls a year from children saying they have been sexually or physically abused.
      • Controls over children's space
        • Children's movements in industrial societies such as Britain are highly regulated
          • Katz 2004 describes how rural Sudanese children roam freely both within the village and several km outside it.
        • 1971 86% of primary school children were allowed to travel home from school alone but in  2010 this had fallen to 25%
        • Cunningham 2007 argued that the 'home habitat of 8 year olds ( the area in which they were able to travel alone) has decreased to 1/9 of the size 25 years ago'
      • Control over children's free time
        • Adults control children's daily routines--> When they get up,eat,go to school
        • Control the speed at which their children grow up-- EG doing activities for their age
      • Controls over children's bodies
        • Control over how children sit,walk,run and what they wear
        • Control over how children touch their own bodies, like sucking their thumb or picking their nose
      • Control over children's access to resources
        • Children have only limited opportunities to earn money and so remain dependent on adult
        • Labour laws and compulsory schooling excludes them from low paid employment
        • Child benefit goes to child
        • Pocket money depends on good behaviour and controls what they spend it on
      • Age patriarchy
        • Gittins 1998 uses this term to describe the inequality between adults and children
        • Humphreys and Thiara 2002 argue 1/4 of the 200 women in their study left their abusing partner as they feared for their children's lives
        • Male having power over all other members in the family
      • Oppressive childhood coming from strategies used to resist the status of child and restrictions that go with it
        • Hockey and James 1993 describe one strategy as acting up--Acting like adults by doing things that children are not suppose to (swearing,smoking)
        • Acting down is when the child acts younger for their age and is a popular strategy for resisting adult control
      • Evaluation
        • Critics of the child liberationist view argue that some adult control is needed as children cannot make rational decisions
        • Also argue that children are not as powerless as the child liberalationsts claim
          • 1989 Children's act and the united nations convention of the Rights of the child establish the principle that children have legal rights to be protected and consulted
    • New sociology of childhood
      • There is a danger that seeing children as merely passive objects who have no part in making their own decisions
      • Mayall 2004 calls this an adultist viewpoint-- Seeing children as mere socialisation projects for adults to mold,shape and develop
      • This viewpoint sees children as active agents who play a major part in creating their own childhoods
      • Smart 2011 says that the new approach aims to include the views and experiences of children
      • Mason and Tipper 2008 show how children actively create their own definitions of who is family
      • Smart et als 2001 study of divorce found that children were actively involved in trying to make the situation better for everyone

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