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Children as Equal Family Members - Essay Example
This essay is about it is only in the past 150 years or so that children have been valued as family members and the particular nature of childhood recognized. There are many different views on this idea, but the general consensus would appear to be that while children were valued members of the family…
The essay "Children as equal family members" focuses upon the children were not valued as equals of the adults within the family situation and as such their thoughts and opinions were not valued as much as they would be today. They were a part of the family group, but they were supposed to be “seen and not heard” and their viewpoints on any matters were discarded out of hand by parents prior to the last two centuries. Children were physically separated from adults for the majority of the time and had to behave miniature adults, when allowed into contact with adults, apart from the servants that waited on the children of the wealthy. “Education did not exist to liberate minds but to preserve the gender and status distinctions of society.”2 was a statement made by Linda Pollock of what she had learned about education in previous centuries during the course of her intensive studies of it.
It was Jean-Jacques Rousseau who first stated that he believed that children should be encouraged to develop as befitted them the best and that they should learn what they had the aptitude to learn. He stated that “We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need the reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education.”1 His ideas were that children should be lead along a path where they could learn and acquire knowledge in a manner that appealed to them. He also believed that children should be allowed to learn things that came naturally to them. ...