The Shaping of American Parenting

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We need to know the past in order to understand the present and be able to help correct the future. Can you believe that child development and child psychology have only been around for the past 130 years? Prior to 1888, religious groups dominated people’s attitudes toward child rearing and children’s health. The attitude of that era was for parents to control and dominate their children- for children were to be seen and not heard. The Industrial Revolution (1760-1840): This was a turning point in America where agriculture became more industrialized using technology and experiencing economic growth in urban areas. Families moved from rural areas to cities.

More economic growth meant more jobs- children were looked upon as little workers/mini people who were forced to work as adults (long hours 12 to 19 hours a day working 6 days a week all year long, little pay, inadequate education, in unhealthy working conditions and cruel overseers who verbally and physically abused them. The rise of child labor in the United States began in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. By 1900, 2 million children were working so that their families could survive. Immigration of European immigrants (weren’t strangers to hard work and brought their values and beliefs with them) only made the child labor problem worse.

In the late 1800’s there were 1600 laws for child labor in the United States all together (these laws didn’t apply to any immigrant because they were not thought of as American citizens but as low, poor people who didn’t belong). Child labor awareness became more evident that things needed to change as time went by. Children’s jobs included Factories, mines, picking cotton, and working in the streets as shoe shiners, selling newspapers, canning fish, making clothes, and weaving fabrics. Their families needed them to bring home their income or they wouldn’t survive. The Factories and mines were polluted. Children didn’t go to school so they couldn’t read or write making labor jobs their only jobs for the future. Child labor is still going on today in third world countries and is caused by the Industrial Revolution.

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The Shaping of American Parenting. (2019, Jun 06). Retrieved from

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