Assess the Sociological Reasons for the Change in the Social Position of Children and the Consequences of These Changes for the Family and Society

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Assess the sociological reasons for the change in the social position of children and the consequences of these changes for the family and society (24 marks)
The social position of children over time has greatly changed, this evident through the work Philippe Aries. During the Middle Ages (10th-13th Century) Aries (1960) argued that ‘the idea of childhood did not exist.’ He used works of art as evidence to show that children of that time appeared without ‘any of the characteristics of childhood; they have simply been depicted on a smaller scale.’ Children were in effect ‘mini-adults’ with the same rights, duties and skills as adults. They even dressed the same and carried out the same work.
However from the 13th Century on Aries said ‘the notions of childhood were gradually emerging’ changes were beginning. Schools were specialising in purely education for children. There was a growing distinction between children’s and adults clothing. By the 18th Century, hand books were being made on rearing children, there was a sign of growing child centeredness of family life at least among the middle class.

Then in the 18th-20th Century major changes happened. Laws were made restricting child labour and excluding children from work. This change was made in order to stop children from carrying out all types of labour but most importantly to stop intense or dangerous labour e.g. young boys working in mines and chimneys. Compulsory schooling was introduced 1880. The growth in industry meant that a more educated workforce was required so children went to school as they were going to be the next generation following on into this industrialised workforce.Child protection and welfare acts came into order e.g. (1889) Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act.
(1989) Children Act made the welfare of the child the fundamental principle underpinning the work of agencies…...

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