Histories of Childhood

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Childhood is defined as the age gap ranging from the time one is born to the adolescent stage. During this stage one is likely to fall in a given category. How one experiences childhood always varies from place to place? A great comparison is usually evident between the rich childhoods and the poverty stricken which is frequent in the developing nations. Understanding of each category of childhood has developed. This has been made possible by the emerging research. With the different times, the idea of childhood has significantly changed. The French Historian, Phillipe Aries claimed that the ideas of childhood did not exist. A deeper understanding is that he meant that childhood is socially constructed.

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The social construction plays a crucial role in influencing how the lives of children is affected by the social institutions. Social construction is a perspective that aims at exploring how reality is negotiated in the daily life as people interact and through different sets of discourses (Morrow, 2011). On the view of how childhood is socially constructed, we come up with some questions. They include the ways children lives are portrayed and the interactions that might influence children in a particular profession. Luckily with the growing understanding of society childhood has adapted several meanings. In the education system childhood is understood as the period of adult making that entails children learning for a better future. In the social welfare policies, childhood is defined as a period of likely abuse. This comprises sexual abuse, physical punishments and emotional abuse. The media portrays childhood as a risk and cute and dwells on the problems that will most affect the children. The issue of teenage motherhood is discussed (Morrow, 2011).

For my case, I selected the Victorian era of childhood. This was Queen Victorias reign from 1837 to 1901. I will be exploring the poor Victorian children. The children at this era faced many problems, and they engaged in play. To them they had to go outside for plays as they were many in number per family and space was a problem to them. The children also engaged in work so as to earn money for their families. For twelve hours they spent in factories doing the tedious and risky jobs and also they worked in the coal mines (Kapacity.wz.cz, 2016).

The view of adults on children was that Children were expected to help towards the family budget (Daniels, 2016). With the lack of contraceptives many children were born and this turned into a social crisis. Parents had to have the children do jobs so as to fend for the family.

As child labor became a problem structures come about and thus the referral of the era as The Age of Reform. Social reform bills and legislations were passed through parliament. Among them was the bill that dealt with social problems or social abuses as a result of growth in population and the coming up of capitalist industry. The bills were concerned with the hours and condition of factory children and women (Briggs, 2016). Children by themselves felt that a way to get out of the labor and problems was by trying every mean in wanting the education.

From our research, we can conclude that childhood is socially constructed. This is because childhood is a concept and can adapt different meanings. In the pre-industrial period, children were viewed as adults and would work on farms together. Today children are viewed as a luxury, and it is also every parent/s concern that the children should be at school until age 16 (Markedbyteachers.com, 2016). It is also evidenced that childhood varies with gender and that the girls do housework while boys are given freedom to explore.

ReferencesBriggs, A. (2016). BBC - History - British History in depth: Reforming Acts. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 January 2016, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/reforming_acts_01.shtml

Daniels, B. (2016). Hidden Lives Revealed - Poverty and Families in the Victorian Era. Hiddenlives.org.uk. Retrieved 31 January 2016, from http://www.hiddenlives.org.uk/articles/poverty.html

Kapacity.wz.cz,. (2016). Life in Victorian England. Retrieved 31 January 2016, from http://www.kapacity.wz.cz/cesky/studium/life_in_victorian_england.htm

Markedbyteachers.com,. (2016). Discuss the view that childhood is a Social Construction? - A-Level Sociology - Marked by Teachers.com. Retrieved 31 January 2016, from http://www.markedbyteachers.com/as-and-a-level/sociology/discuss-the-view-that-childhood-is-a-social-construction.html

Morrow, V. (2011). Understanding children and childhood. Southern Cross University Epublications@SCU, 1(1838a5524), 35.

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