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16th and 17th Century Child Care and Child Discipline in Europe Essay

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The children of Europe in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds lived lives that greatly differed from the lives of modern children. Fatality was extremely common among the youth, which caused them to be seen differently in society. Families also consisted of a larger amount of people than they usually do today. To teach kids discipline and morality, some parents and teachers used reasoning to articulate as why to a certain act or behavior is considered disrespectful. On the contrary, other parents used harsh punishments, either because they didn't love their children, or simply believed that it was the only way to ensure that their child would never commit the act that warranted such a consequence again. Other children were extremely obedient and cherished very much by their parents.
Reason was a solution for some when it came to disciplinary measures with their children. This was the route that the mother of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, took, as described in a letter written by Cavendish from Colchester, England in the 1620s. Cavendish kindly describes that her mother did not use torture or threats to keep her and her siblings in line, only logic. They were given explanations instead of beatings. This assisted them in actually understanding why what they were doing was wrong, instead of just being told it was wrong. Because of this logical upbringing, she is obviously a proponent of this technique, which explains the detailing of her childhood in this letter. An English, Catholic gentlemen also took pride in a reasonable approach to childcare. In Lancashire, England William Blundell preformed a dialog with his nine-year-old daughter called “An Exercise for the Children to Embolden Them in Speaking” in 1663. This dialo...


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...itution. This illustrates the reliability that he had in only children to do the right thing. Being a moralist and preacher, he is aware that adults will do corrupted things for money and power, but sees the true innocence that remains in a child. Even if some still believed children to be a burden, the idea still existed of a loving family with little consequence.
Reasoning, harsh discipline, and love were all used as a means to keep children obedient and in line. Whether it be through either of these techniques, parents constantly attempted to achieve control over their children in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds in Europe. Harsh discipline was a practiced standard up until the most recent of times, until it gave way to logic and love. The rationality of today's society owes it's largest debt to the wholesome minds of a more recent and refined European continent.


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