Children as Equal Family Members

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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, particularly male children, but the concept of childhood would appear to be completely unknown two centuries ago.


In wealthy families children were valued for completely different reasons. Male children had value because it helped to ensure the succession while girl children could be married to suitable men to either create an alliance or because the husband was wealthy and additional money could be made available to the family. This was overwhelming during medieval times and there are many items that still bear witness to this attitude. They were not personally valued for the humans that they were since there was a very high death rate among children and as such very few parents were willing to invest time and emotion in someone that had a very high likelihood of dying within a short period of time.
They were included in every aspect of life that adults indulged in and as such they were not prevented from seeing any truths about life and this contributed to the swift maturing of children into adults. Conversely, 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 view points on any matters were discarded out of hand by parents prior to the last two centuries. ...
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