Comparison of the Perception of Children
Childhood is the age different from the one at birth and that of the adolescence, in biological terms. It refers to the stage between infancy and adulthood. The most commonly, childhood ends at the age of 18 years. The theme of this paper is to contrast the perception of children in 1900 and today. There are arguments that childhood is a social creation but not the natural phenomenon.
Using the social scientific approach, scholars incorporated anthropological and sociological researches to study childhood, exploring how the political and historical events contributed to their welfare. The thesis of this paper is to highlight the comparison of the ways children were perceived in 1900 and the one they are believed to be nowadays. Moreover, the analysis includes the interpretation of the arguments of different authors, including Fran Lebo wit’s view about the children. This paper starts with the identification of the pros and cons of children as presented by Lebo wit. It further provides a perception of how other authors see children both in the ancient and modern times. The main argued issue is the children’s contribution to the family reviewing the 1900 period and the present time.
According to the Fran Lebowitz, children have pros and cons. For instance, the behavior, typical of kids who presupposes not sitting next to each other in hotels in order to loudly discuss hopes for the future is believed to be one of the pros. Lebowitz claims that children tend to ask questions in more appropriate way than adults do. They never hide anything, they are straight to the point, which is evident when they pose questions such as “Why is the sky blue?” Lebowitz further adds that children have a tendency to sleep alone or prefer the company of their toy animals.
Moreover, children are small in size, which is advantageous and useful as it enables them to access remote places, which adults cannot reach. When growing up, children perceive life to immaturity concept. The desirable opponents often find themselves in a scrabble situation, because kids are both fun to deceive and easy to beat. Lebowitz claim that according to his invariable experience, it is better to be in the company of children than the adults. This behavior portrays wisdom that is unquestionable and frees children from being privy in a way that they do not whisper their confession to others.
According to Lebowitz, the cons in children’s behavior are the situations when their response is inadequate to veiled threats and sardonic humor. Children exhibit notorious behaviors, such as insensitivity to subtle and moody shifts. For instance, kids will persist to discuss the color of cement in their sight for an extended duration when a person’s interest in the topic diminishes. The other type of the behavior of children, according to Lebowitz, is that it is rare to find kids lending a person a big sum of money. In most cases, children are in the company of adults, who are either their parents or guardians.
In 1900 era, there was no old civilization that considered the protection of children to fall under the category of the government function. In states, such as ancient Rome, the father had the natural right to determine his children’s welfare. In precise, it was the role of the family to take care of children but not the obligation of the government (Oakes 132). During this early period of time, the government did not specify its limits in punishments when it came to parenting. They granted fathers the right to apply corporal punishments to their kids, which also involved infanticide.
In 1909, the White House Conference declared care for the dependent children. It mentioned a home as the best place that could mould the character and mind of children. However, in 1920s the system changed; there was the establishment of juvenile courts, which provided care and children’s custody in the way, similar to their parents’. During this ancient era, the aim of the juvenile courts was to assist poor children while educating them. It went to the extent of ignoring family reunification because children stayed in juvenile courts for a long time.
In addition, during the early period parents involved children in employment to boost the family’s economy. Children started working when they reached the age that they could contribute to the family’s welfare. This is because parents perceived their contribution as a way of reducing poverty levels. On the contrary, in modern era children are not involved in work the same way it was accepted in 1900s. In the earliest time, children were perceived as nothing, but a liability to the family economy. This is because they require attention, food, care, shelter, and clothing and started becoming useful when they reached the age of five years.
In the 1900s, the married couple could become prosperous before the time children appeared, as it was said to cause poverty. In the contemporary society, children form a higher population proportion than in 1900s. In addition, in the modern world if a parent could not raise a child, he or she abandons them in hospitals, being sure their kid would be adopted. Previously, the children, abandoned in large number, were illegitimate rather than the legitimate. Parents abandoned their children because they felt that they had no sufficient resources to take care of the dependent member. In the present society, such children who found no sustenance at home or orphans are forming gangs. Children in gangs often roam in streets, begging and looting people’s property. This makes the authorities of the modern societies take measures to curb the issue, by providing job opportunities for kids. When children engage in activities, such as straw plaiting and lace making, it structures their time, hence prevents idleness and generates income of the family.
In premodern times, they did not confine the desire of the child to work. The family could create a work unit where children could assist in household chores, such as collecting firewood, caring for their young siblings etc. This kind of work could keep the children busy. During the early era, parents expected their children to engage in labor which could generate income. Moreover, the family and local authorities failed to provide children with work which could have helped sustain their families. This forced the children to travel miles, in search of jobs to control their destinies (Myers 234).
In both the 1900s and the modern era, the perception of children in society is mainly about their proving of the desire to work not only to assist their families, but to support themselves by purchasing their goods. During the early era, it was poverty that induced children to work, forcing children to attend schools and work in order to make contributions to the family income. Moreover, the early era allowed children to seek for jobs in factories. Nowadays, however, this act is unlawful and it might result to heavy fines. On the contrary, in modern times the society perceives children as family members who are supposed to attend schools, concentrate on their studies, and later, when they qualify at an appropriate age, find the employment.
It is evident that during the 1900s, children had to work to contribute to the family to reduce the poverty levels. However, in the current society, children are supposed to attend schools and to acquire knowledge before they join the employment sector. The modern society values children in a way that anyone employing a child who is underage is to be arrested and fined, concerning the issue. This protects the child against child labor and is the key issue that contrasts the perception of children in 1900s and the modern times.
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