What part has religion played in the history of child-rearing? How do we persuade children to behave rationally and how should we exercise adult authority? What use do we make of their innocence and how do we cope with their sexuality? Has history left us with ideas about the child which make no sense in the prevailing conditions of the late twentieth century?
In Shaping Childhood these questions are explored through themes from the history of childhood. The myth of the repressive Puritan parent is explored by looking at Puritan ideals of child-rearing. Treating the child as if it were rational seemed to Locke the best way to approach child-rearing, but Rousseau was sceptical of adult manipulation and Romanticism could be subversive of both religion and reason as sources of discipline in child-rearing. The Victorians inherited many of the contradictions these approaches gave rise to, and they added a complication of their own through an aesthetic response to childhood's beauty. Currently, with instability in household formation and with the child exposed to ever more sophisticated means of communication, parents, teachers and others struggle to make sense of this ambiguous historical legacy.
Shaping Childhood examines the ways in which broad cultural forces such as religion, literature and mass consumption influence contemporary parenting and locates child professionals, within the context of these forces.

chapter |10 pages

The child in history


chapter |35 pages

The child of Puritanism

The making of an historical myth

chapter |30 pages

The child of the Enlightenment

The example of Locke and Rousseau

chapter |23 pages

The child of Romanticism I

The noble savage and romantic naturalism

chapter |29 pages

The child of Romanticism II

The enemies of Romanticism

chapter |35 pages

The child of the Victorians

Gender and sexuality in childhood

chapter |34 pages

The child of crisis

The end of childhood?

chapter |11 pages

The child of the millennium