Chapter

Parenting

Brenda E. Stevenson

in Life in Black and White

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9780195118032
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853793 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195118032.003.0005
Parenting

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Parenting was considered the sacred duty of the married couple and was even more subject to prevailing conventions and moral strictures as other elements of daily life. Influenced by philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's theories of children's innocence, society imposed exacting standards and measures to ensure that children become model citizens. A host of childrearing literature emphasized the importance of a strong familial base for the child, with the father as head of the household and model of masculinity. Great worth was also placed on the challenging task of motherhood, though children were also taught that a woman's sole occupation involved being a wife and parent. The daunting responsibility of parenting was challenged even more with the primitive medical knowledge available and childcare practices combined science, superstition, and experience. Discipline—from childhood to early adulthood—is then tackled in the remainder of the chapter.

Keywords: parenting; John Locke; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; father; motherhood

Chapter.  22049 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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