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Children and Their Changing Roles Throughout History

Aug 27, 2008
Children in today's society seem to be much more pampered and less responsible than they were a few decades ago. They also seemed to have lost much of the value system that most of us took for granted growing up. By examining the roles of children in the past, we may be able to trace the source of the problems that we are having with today's troubled youth.

In olden days, children were treated as small adults and given many of the same responsibilities that were shouldered by their parents. Youngsters worked side by side with their parents in the fields as soon as they could walk. Children serving as soldiers were not uncommon in some countries. Marriages took place when a person was approximately twelve years of age in the hopes that they could reproduce in the few years that they had to live. Young people in these times were exposed to the harsh realities of life virtually from birth.

Death was also an every day event when the average life span was approximately forty years of age. Only one in five children survived to adulthood, so the loss of siblings was a common occurrence as well. Many parents did not live to see their children grow up due to the loss of life in battle and childbed, and many children were raised by adults that had little or no blood connection to them.

All of these factors prohibited most children from being pampered or spoiled. The daily struggle to survive curtailed any frivolity. This is not to say that these parents did not value or care about their children. Any child that survived infancy was considered to be a great asset and human nature dictated that these children may have been cherished dearly.

Discipline was also much more vigorous than it is today. Due to the dangers that were present in the settings of old, disobeying a parent's rule could commonly lead to death. As a way to protect these youngsters, many parents physically beat them to ensure that the rules were obeyed.

In the modern world, daily survival is not the struggle it once was. Parents have become more lenient and loving than their predecessors would have dreamed of being. Every child enjoys playing with toys and receiving a quality education. Many experts stress that parents should allow their children to thoroughly enjoy their childhood as a vital step to them becoming healthy and happy adults.

Due to this attitude of child rearing, several problems have developed. Some young people today seem to have no respect for anything, and many are ending up in jail before their eighteenth birthday. Drug and alcohol abuse is running rampant. As adults, many of these children find that they are unable to cope with "real" life.

As a parent, there are several ways that you can help your child to grow into a successful adult. The main thing to remember is that every child needs rules, and penalties should be handed out if these guidelines are not obeyed. This does not mean that you should physically punish your child by any means. You can decide on an appropriate punishment, but punishment should be given. If you establish a set of rules and do not follow through with them, you could be sending your child the message that rules are not important.

You may also want to give your child some responsibilities around the house. This is a good way to teach your child many of the housekeeping skills that they will need as adults. Teaching your child to respect themselves and others as well as good manners is key to their continued social success.

As a parent, it is your job as well as your privilege to teach your child everything that they will need to know as they grow. Having a good parenting plan can prevent your child from ending up in situations that both you and he will regret later.
About the Author
Find helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop our affordable kids furniture. For more information, visit this article on wooden toy boxes.
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