In this essay, I shall be explaining the changes in the position of children in the last 200 years. There are three main parts of this that I shall be solely focusing on, all are linked and I shall give evidence to all. These three are laws, education and infant mortality rate.
Infant mortality plays a huge part in the changes in the position of children, during industrialisation; the infant mortality rate (IMR) began decreasing, due to a better quality of life and mainly medical improvements. In the medieval times, there was no separation between children and adults, due to the poor conditions and lack in medical treatments, replacement children were needed. However since the infant mortality rate dropped, parents and other adults began to realise the significance of children. And began to feel the need to protect their children and realised the issues with children, such as child prostitution. Parents began to spend a lot more time with their children. Sue palmer had argued that parents ‘cash rich time poor’ however this is rejected as statistically parents in 1975 parents spend at least 25 minutes with their children and in 2001, parents spend at least 99 minutes. The society has become more child-centred, due to the drop in infant mortality rate.
The second reason is education; this has also affected the position of children in the last 200 years. Due to the smaller or more planned family types, the family became more child-centred. The parents gave more love and attention to their children, and needed to teach their children the society’s values and norms. Sociologist, Aries, the idea of childhood was absent, and it was something completely new. Once the parents and other adults began to realise the significance of children and the importance of protecting children, the government began to realise the issues that the children have been facing, for example, child prostitution. New laws were introduced and enforced such as the Child Protection Act and the Child Labour Act. Children were working alongside with adults and there was no difference between an adult and children all were treated the same and punishments were given to children from the age of seven when they committed a crime, e.g. theft. The children were not given any education and began helping their parents from a young age. But then the law was introduced that children had to stay in education till the age of 16 and increased to 18, this allowed children to gain a better quality in life and a better or decent job. In the past, the children were dependant on their parents and they themselves had no income. Benefits to those who are unemployed have also helped out a great deal to those less fortunate or those with no education. Taxes help the children and parents gain a better education. As children are in education, they are more dependent on their parents usually until they reach the age 16 or more, where some often apply for a job and gain their own income.
As some have been mentioned above, laws have played another great part in the changes of position in