The Children's Culture Reader

The Children's Culture Reader

EDITED BY Henry Jenkins
Copyright Date: 1998
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 532
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  • Book Info
    The Children's Culture Reader
    Book Description:

    Every major political and social dispute of the twentieth century has been fought on the backs of our children, from the economic reforms of the progressive era through the social readjustments of civil rights era and on to the current explosion of anxieties about everything from the national debt to the digital revolution. Far from noncombatants whom we seek to protect from the contamination posed by adult knowledge, children form the very basis on which we fight over the nature and values of our society, and over our hopes and fears for the future. Unfortunately, our understanding of childhood and children has not kept pace with their crucial and rapidly changing roles in our culture. Pulling together a range of different thinkers who have rethought the myths of childhood innocence, The Children's Culture Reader develops a profile of children as creative and critical thinkers who shape society even as it shapes them. Representing a range of thinking from history, psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, women's studies, literature, and media studies, The Children's Culture Reader focuses on issues of parent-child relations, child labor, education, play, and especially the relationship of children to mass media and consumer culture. The contributors include Martha Wolfenstein, Philippe Aries, Jacqueline Rose, James Kincaid, Lynn Spigel, Valerie Walkerdine, Ellen Seiter, Annette Kuhn, Eve Sedgwick, Henry Giroux, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Including a groundbreaking introduction by the editor and a sourcebook section which excerpts a range of material from popular magazines to child rearing guides from the past 75 years, The Children's Culture Reader will propel our understanding of children and childhood into the next century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4378-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Childhood Innocence and Other Modern Myths
    (pp. 1-38)
    Henry Jenkins

    In the summer of 1996, the Democratic party held its presidential nominating convention in Chicago and the Republican Party held its convention in San Diego. Both gatherings focused as much on childhood and the family as on tax cuts or other traditional issues. The Republicans wanted to overcome the gender gap, and the Democrats wanted to show they still felt our pain after Clinton’s support for devastating welfare cutbacks. Neither could resist the attractions of the innocent child. Both conventions offered classic stagings of parental concern.

    Susan Molinari, congresswoman from Queens, presented the Republican keynote address, speaking as a misty-eyed...

  5. PART I: Childhood Innocence
    • Chapter One From Immodesty to Innocence
      (pp. 41-57)
      Philippe Ariès

      One of the unwritten laws of contemporary morality, the strictest and best respected of all, requires adults to avoid any reference, above all any humorous reference, to sexual matters in the presence of children. This notion was entirely foreign to the society of old. The modern reader of the diary in which Henri IV’s physician, Heroard, recorded the details of the youngLouis XIII’s life is astonished by the liberties which people took with children, by the coarseness of the jokes they made, and by the indecency of gestures made in public which shocked nobody and which were regarded as perfectly...

    • Chapter Two The Case of Peter Pan: The Impossibility of Children’s Fiction
      (pp. 58-66)
      Jacqueline S. Rose

      Peter Panoffers us the child—for ever. It gives us the child, but it does not speak to the child. In fact so rarely has it spoken to the child throughout its history, that it led me to ask whether there might not be some relation between this all-too-perfect presence of the child and a set of problems, or evasions, in the very concept of children’s fiction itself. Children’s fiction rests on the idea that there is a child who is simply there to be addressed and that speaking to it might be simple. It is an idea whose...

    • Chapter Three Children in the House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood
      (pp. 67-80)
      Karin Calvert

      Members of any society carry within themselves a working definition of childhood, its nature, limitations, and duration. They may not explicitly discuss this definition, write about it, or even consciously conceive of it as an issue, but they act upon their assumptions in all of their dealings with, fears for, and expectations of their children. Every culture defines what it means to be a child, how children should look and act, what is expected of them, and what is considered beyond their capabilities. Older children learn to adapt themselves to the personas encouraged by their society, to be feminine or...

    • Chapter Four From Useful to Useless: Moral Conflict over Child Labor
      (pp. 81-94)
      Viviana A. Zelizer

      The 1900 U.S. Census reported that one child out of every six between the ages of ten and fifteen was gainfully employed. It was an undercount: The total figure of 1,750,178 excluded many child laborers under ten as well as the children “helping out” their parents in sweatshops and on farms, before or after school hours. Ten years later, the official estimate of working children reached 1,990,225. But by 1930, the economic participation of children had dwindled dramatically. Census figures registered 667,118 laborers under fifteen years of age. The decline was particularly marked among younger children. Between 1900 and 1930,...

    • Chapter Five The Making of Children’s Culture
      (pp. 95-109)
      Stephen Kline

      Children’s culture in the West has a complex history. Even the most cursory mapping would require an overview of the succession of institutions—family, law courts, church, school, media—that have had a stake in the matrix of socialization. This is because what might be taken for children’s culture has always been primarily a matter of culture produced for and urged upon children. This appears to be as true of the hunting games or planting tales of preindustrial life as of the street games and nursery-school songs of modern children. The earliest stages of maturation have always been the period...

    • Chapter Six Seducing the Innocent: Childhood and Television in Postwar America
      (pp. 110-135)
      Lynn Spigel

      In August 1991, Pee-wee Herman moved out of his kidvid playhouse into the pornhouse of the nightly news when a mug shot of the children’s idol revealed him to be a fully grown man, a man arrested for exposing himself in an adult movie theater. In true Pee-wee style, the arrest sparked a series of nervous reactions. Psychologists appeared on local newscasts, advising parents on ways to tell children about their TV play-pal, offering tips on how to make youngsters understand the scandal of Pee-wee’s adult desires. All grown up and seemingly all washed up, Pee-wee was axed from the...

    • Chapter Seven Unlearning Black and White: Race, Media, and the Classroom
      (pp. 136-158)
      Shari Goldin

      King’s words epitomize the ideals of the civil rights era—pacifism, equality, and cooperation—a dream of blacks and whites working together in harmony. Central to King’s “I have a Dream” speech of 1963 is the hope that one day all children “will be able to join hands” as part of the larger family of man. The speech conflates an ideology of childhood innocence and a utopian fantasy that casts children as the bearers of cultural transformation.

      Utopian images of children holding hands can be contrasted with the more dystopian accounts of children that circulate within our popular memory of...

    • Chapter Eight The New Childhood: Home Alone As a Way of Life
      (pp. 159-177)
      Joe L. Kincheloe

      Home Alone(1990) andHome Alone 2: Lost in New York(1992) revolve around Kevin McAlister’s (Macaulay Culkin) attempts to find his family after (1) being left behind on a family Christmas trip to Paris; and (2) being separated from his family on a Christmas trip to Miami. Wildly successful, the two movies portray the trials and tribulations of Kevin’s attempts to take care of himself while his parents try to rejoin him. In the process of using these plots to set up a variety of comedic stunts and sight gags, the movies inadvertently allude to a sea of troubles...

    • Chapter Nine Child Abuse and the Unconscious in American Popular Culture
      (pp. 178-196)
      Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Howard F. Stein

      During the 1960s child abuse and neglect, long grappled with as a vexing and chronic social problem by generations of child welfare and social workers, was suddenly “discovered” and expropriated by a more powerful profession: medicine. When C. Henry Kempe and his associates (1962) at Colorado General Hospital created a new diagnostic entity—the “Battered Child Syndrome”—the American public finally sat up and took notice.¹

      With the mantle of medical legitimacy now thrown over the old problem of child maltreatment, the nation mobilized in a frontal attack on assaultive parents. Into this newly created social space appeared: state reporting...

  6. PART II: Childhood Sexuality
    • Chapter Ten Fun Morality: An Analysis of Recent American Child-Training Literature
      (pp. 199-208)
      Martha Wolfenstein

      A recent development in American culture is the emergence of what we may call “fun morality.” Here fun, from having been suspect, if not taboo, has tended to become obligatory. Instead of feeling guilty for having too much fun, one is inclined to feel ashamed if one does not have enough. Boundaries formerly maintained between play and work break down. Amusements infiltrate into the sphere of work, while, in play, self-estimates of achievement become prominent. This development appears to be at marked variance with an older, Puritan ethic, although, as we shall see, the two are related.

      The emergence of...

    • Chapter Eleven The Sensuous Child: Benjamin Spock and the Sexual Revolution
      (pp. 209-230)
      Henry Jenkins

      Sue Miller’s best-selling novel,The Good Mother, centers on the problem of reconciling adult sexuality with the demands of motherhood.¹ The book’s protagonist, Anna, a recently divorced mother, experiences an intense sexual awakening with her new lover, Leo, an erotic experience that inevitably affects her relations to her daughter, Molly. The girl’s “seemingly complete comfort with Leo was like a benediction on all aspects of the relationship, even the sexual.”² The two adults are comfortable with both their erotic and parental roles, displaying casual domestic nudity, allowing the young girl to enter the bathroom when they are bathing, even acting...

    • Chapter Twelve How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay
      (pp. 231-240)
      Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

      In the summer of 1989, the United States Department of Health and Human Services released a study entitledReport of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide. Written in response to the apparently burgeoning epidemic of suicides and suicide attempts by children and adolescents in the United States, the 110- page report contained a section analyzing the situation of gay and lesbian youth. It concluded that because “gay youth face a hostile and condemning environment, verbal and physical abuse, and rejection and isolation from families and peers,” young gays and lesbians are two to three times more likely than other...

    • Chapter Thirteen Producing Erotic Children
      (pp. 241-253)
      James R. Kincaid

      This essay is divided into eleven parts, eleven being a prime number. The eleven parts are not equal in length or weight, and they do not carry the same importance; nonetheless, they are exactly symmetrical and harmonious.

      These are the parts:

      1. Ellie Nesler’s Son

      2. Michael Jackson

      3. McMartin-Menendez

      4. The Coppertone Child Home Alone

      5. Questions We Love to Ask

      6. My Thesis

      7. Resisting the Obvious

      8. Recovered Memory

      9. Scandal—That’s What We Need

      10. Me

      11. You

      Ellie Nesler’s son is named Willy, Willy Nesler. He is now about thirteen years old, living, I think, in Jamestown, California, where, in 1993, in April, he was in...

    • Chapter Fourteen Popular Culture and the Eroticization of Little Girls
      (pp. 254-264)
      Valerie Walkerdine

      If studies of popular culture have largely ignored young children and studies of girls are limited to teenagers, the topic of popular portrayals of little girls as eroticized—little girls and sexuality—is an issue which touches on a number of very difficult, and often taboo areas. Feminism has had little to say about little girls, except through studies of socialization and sex-role stereotyping. With regard to sexuality, almost all attention has been focused on adult women. Little girls enter debates about women’s memories of their own girlhood in the main: discussions of little girls’ fantasies of sex with their...

    • Chapter Fifteen Stealing Innocence: The Politics of Child Beauty Pageants
      (pp. 265-282)
      Henry A. Giroux

      Constructed within the myth of innocence, children are often portrayed as inhabiting a world that is untainted, magical, and utterly protected from the harshness of adult life. Innocence in this scenario not only erases the complexities of childhood and the range of experiences different children encounter but also offers an excuse for adults to ignore responsibility for how children are firmly connected to and shaped by social and cultural institutions run largely by adults. Innocence makes children invisible except as projections of adult fantasies—fantasies that allow adults to believe that children do not suffer from adult greed, recklessness, and...

    • Chapter Sixteen A Credit to Her Mother
      (pp. 283-294)
      Annette Kuhn

      My family photograph collection includes two copies of the same studio portrait of myself at four months of age. The baby is naked, lying tummy-down on a blanket, facing camera but looking upwards to a point somewhere above camera level. This, as far as I know, is the earliest photograph taken of me; and one of my copies of it accordingly features on the very first page of the photograph album I began putting together when I was eight, in an effort to make both a family and a life history for myself. The other copy, sent to me by...

  7. PART III: Child’s Play
    • Chapter Seventeen Children’s Desires/Mothers’ Dilemmas: The Social Contexts of Consumption
      (pp. 297-317)
      Ellen Seiter

      Toys, commercials, and animated programs are the lingua franca of young children at babysitters’ and grandmothers’ houses, day-care centers, and preschools across the United States. Most children leave home long before they enter the public school system, to spend their day away from parents and with other children their own age. At the snack table they admire one another’s T-shirts and lunchboxes emblazoned with film and television characters. At show-and-tell or “sharing” time they proudly present the Ninja Turtles, Barbies, Batmen, and My Little Ponies purchased at Toys “R” Us and given them at birthday parties. Most children know the...

    • Chapter Eighteen Boys and Girls Together … But Mostly Apart
      (pp. 318-336)
      Barrie Thorne

      The landscape of contemporary childhood includes three major sites—families, neighborhoods, and schools. Each of these worlds contains different people, patterns of time and space, and arrangements of gender. Families and neighborhoods tend to be small, with a relatively even ratio of adults and children. In contrast, schools are crowded and bureaucratic settings in which a few adults organize and continually evaluate the activities of a large number of children.¹ Within schools, the sheer press of numbers in a relatively small space gives a public, witnessed quality to everyday life and makes keeping down noise and maintaining order a constant...

    • Chapter Nineteen Boy Culture
      (pp. 337-362)
      E. Anthony Rotundo

      In 1853, a popular etiquette writer called Mrs. Manners launched an angry attack on the boys of America. “Why is it,” she asked, “that there must be a period in the lives of boys when they should be spoken of as ‘disagreeable cubs’? Why is a gentle, polite boy such a rarity?” She continued her assault in that tone of embattled hauteur so common to etiquette writers: “If your parents are willing for you to be the ‘Goths and Vandals’ of society, I shall protest against it. You have been outlaws long enough, and now I beg you will observe...

    • Chapter Twenty The Politics of Dollhood in Nineteenth-Century America
      (pp. 363-381)
      Miriam Formanek-Brunell

      “Of doll haters I have known quite a few,” wrote a contributor toBabyhoodmagazine about the “hoydenish” little girls she had observed swatting their dolls.¹ The observations of this Gilded Age writer stand in sharp contrast to the more pervasive image of the angelic Victorian girl who was, in the words of one nineteenth-century poet, “sugar and spice and all things nice.” In this chapter, I challenge the widespread assumption that attributes minimal agency to girls whom westillassume slavishly played in socially prescribed ways.

      We begin in antebellum America, where the political ideology, class values, and cultural...

    • Chapter Twenty-one Older Heads on Younger Bodies
      (pp. 382-393)
      Erica Rand

      This essay studies adult testimony about childhood Barbie consumption to address several issues. The first concerns the relation between intention and reception in the production of meaning. What meanings do consumers give to Barbie, and to what extent do Mattel-generated meanings accord with consumergenerated meanings? The second concerns resistance. What constitutes resistance to given cultural objects and norms? When does cultural resistance signal social or political resistance? Where, if anywhere, in the relation between intention and reception can resistance be located? Although elsewhere I have used the concept of hegemonic discourse to describe Mattel’s strategy,¹ I argue here that, while...

    • Chapter Twenty-two Confections, Concoctions, and Conceptions
      (pp. 394-405)
      Allison James

      This article derives from an incident which took place while I was doing fieldwork in the North East of England, investigating the structure and experience of childhood. An old lady of my acquaintance, remarking on the quality of the paint used by the National Coal Board on properties, grumbled that it was ‘all ket—rubbish’ and that it would peel off in a few months. Before this I had only encountered the word ‘ket’ among children who used it as their term for sweets, especially cheaper ones. This difference in use intrigued me, particularly when I remembered that sweets, from...

    • Chapter Twenty-three Living in a World of Words
      (pp. 406-430)
      Shelby Anne Wolf and Shirley Brice Heath

      Each morning of her preschool years, my daughter Lindsey and I went through our daily routine of preparing her for the day. We negotiated her outfit, for Lindsey is prone to more outlandish combinations than I, and then brushed her teeth and combed her hair. For the latter, she usually sat perched on the bathroom sink, contemplating her image in the wide mirror as I carefully guided the brush through her hair, smoothing the tangles of a night’s sleep.

      One morning she requested a pony tail. I swept her hair into a long strand, and then wound it in the...

    • Chapter Twenty-four The Tidy House
      (pp. 431-454)
      Carolyn Steedman

      This is an account of three working class eight-year-old girls writing a story. They wrote the story during one week in the summer term of a social priority school classroom, four years ago. The children’s first and second drafts were kept, as were the typed and edited versions that were bound and displayed, in three volumes, for classroom use. Drawings and illustrations were also kept. Altogether, the writing produced by the children amounts to about seventeen hundred words. For one day during this week a friend, a lecturer from a local training college who was in the process of collecting...

  8. PART IV: Sourcebook
    • Section A: Introduction
      • [Section A: Introduction]
        (pp. 457-458)

        The child is often a figment of the adult imagination, a figure of adult desire, a focus of adult anxiety, and the object of adult political struggles. Advice literature aimed at parents often promises the “truth” about the child, telling us what we need to do in order to raise a child who is mentally, physically, psychologically, and socially healthy. The assumptions underlying that advice often draw upon the latest “scientific” understandings, explaining what the experts now “know” about children’s needs and development. Yet, advice literature is shaped by larger historical forces. Culturally specific assumptions surface in the ways writers...

      • Chapter Twenty-five Reaching Juvenile Markets (1938)
        (pp. 459-461)
        Evalyn Grumbine

        Selling to boys and girls has one very great advantage over selling to adults. The natural enthusiasm of youth is an important factor which acts in favor of any manufacturer appealing to boys and girls. The serious business of living does not touch children except in extreme poverty. As a result, all their natural joy of living is put into everything they do and is evidenced in their reactions to their various activities.

        An understanding of children, of their physical and mental development, their likes and dislikes, and their reactions to the rapidly changing conditions of living today, will help...

      • Chapter Twenty-six Does Your “Research” Embrace the Boy of Today? (1922)
        (pp. 462-462)
        Jess H. Wilson

        Study the boy of today. He is a tight-mouthed little materialist, “wise” beyond belief, keen enough in his knowledge of human nature to present toward his parents the side that his parents desire, and going so far and no further….

        Speed is his keynote. Mediums of speed that we saw develop from the idea to the actuality are the basis from which he begins to think. To him nothing is impossible. He looks forward to 300 miles an hour with confidence, when to us sixty was something to be spoken of with awe. While he may read some of our...

      • Chapter Twenty-seven “Selling” Food To Children The Mother’s Own Book (1928)
        (pp. 463-467)

        There is no doubt about it, the competition which exists between the corner store and the home for the patronage of the youthful public is just about putting the average parent out of business. Perhaps you have noticed that the demand for spinach tends to fall off despite constant appeals. As for oatmeal, your young customers don’t drop in for a dish of it more than once a month.

        And while good old-fashioned, wholesome foods are wasting on the shelves of the home shop, the crowd of boys and girls at the corner store grows larger and more enthusiastic each...

    • Section B. The Family in Crisis
      • Chapter Twenty-eight After the Family—What? (1930)
        (pp. 469-469)
        John B. Watson

        American family life in large cities is admittedly on the wane. This is shown in many different ways: by the greater number of divorces, fewer marriages, increased age of the men at marriage, fewer children among the well-to-do, the great increase in the number of men who have playmates and in the number of women who are interested in men other than their husbands. Just as surely but along different lines is the same trend shown in the ever-increasing number of boys’ and girls’ camps which take the children away from the home for the whole of the summer and...

      • Chapter Twenty-nine Against the Threat of Mother Love (1928)
        (pp. 470-475)
        John B. Watson

        Once at the close of a lecture before parents, a dear old lady got up and said, “Thank God, my children are grown—and that I had a chance to enjoy them before I met you.”

        Doesn’t she express here the weakness in our modern way of bringing up children? We have children to enjoy them. We need to express our love in some way. The honeymoon period doesn’t last forever with all husbands and wives, and we eke it out in a way we think is harmless by loving our children to death. Isn’t this especially true of the...

    • Section C: Children at War
      • Chapter Thirty Children in Wartime: Parents’ Questions (1942)
        (pp. 477-479)
        Child Study Association of America

        Don’t be fooled. Whistling to keep up your courage is a well-known device. Maybe for this particular boy it is a necessary kind of refuge—each must find his own way. Probably behind all this belligerent indifference there is more anxiety than appears. Don’t try to force a more realistic attitude upon him. He probably knows as well as you do what is going on. Maybe some day you’ll find a chance to help him admit to more anxiety than he now shows. His discovery that it isn’t “sissy” to admit his fears will be a healthy one.

        Children manage...

      • Chapter Thirty-one You Are Citizen Soldiers (1943)
        (pp. 480-482)
        Angelo Patri

        Boys and girls of the United States of America, you are enlisted for the duration of the war as citizen soldiers. This is a total war, nobody is left out, and that counts you in, of course.

        We are fighting a war for the freedom of the individual, that means your freedom. The Nazis would destroy that freedom so that you would have to work at whatever job the officers gave you, in whatever place they put you, for whatever wages they thought fit to give you.

        You would get the education they thought fit to let you have. If...

      • Chapter Thirty-two Raise Your Boy to Be a Soldier (1952)
        (pp. 483-484)
        André Fontaine

        Whether you like it or not, the chances are overwhelming that your boy is going to be a soldier, sailor or airman. Universal Military Training is an accomplished fact. You can hate it until the cows come home, but you can’t escape it. Once you accept it, however, you’ll find there are many things you can do to make your son’s inevitable hitch in the service easier and more productive.

        Basically there are two things, one psychological and one vocational, that you can do. First, by your handling of your boy from childhood up you can make the psychological adjustment...

    • Section D: Popular Culture and the Family
      • Chapter Thirty-three “Such Trivia As Comic Books” (1953)
        (pp. 486-492)
        Frederic Wertham

        Gardening consists largely in protecting plants from blight and weeds, and the same is true of attending to the growth of children. If a plant fails to grow properly because attacked by a pest, only a poor gardener would look for the cause in that plant alone. The good gardener will think immediately in terms of general precaution and spray the whole field. But with children we act like the bad gardener. We often fail to carry out elementary preventive measures, and we look for the causes in the individual child. A whole high-sounding terminology has been put to use...

      • Chapter Thirty-four The Play’s the Thing (1949)
        (pp. 493-495)
        Dorothy Walter Baruch

        “My child has murder on the mind. It’s because of those horrible radio programs. I know it is!” … “It’s because of those dreadful funny books that aren’t funny at all but full of killer-dillers!” … “It’s because of those wild and wooly movies that he insists on seeing every blessed week.”

        The radio programs, the comic books and the wildest of movies are far from desirable. But they are not thecauseof the aggression in our youngsters. The aggression, as we know by now, is already there. A child feels himself small and weak next to the adults...

    • Section E: Freedom and Responsibility
      • Chapter Thirty-five New Parents for Old (1930)
        (pp. 497-498)
        Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg

        It is characteristic of the present age to emphasize “freedom” in a way that repudiates all the implications of “discipline.” Yet it is obviously absurd to choose between the disciplines that were developed under tyrannies and dominations and coercions, and the freedoms that come from merely letting the child have his way uncontrolled. It is not a question of yielding entirely to the untrained impulses of infants, for that would merely substitute the tyranny of the inexperienced little savage for the autocracy of disappointed and frustrated adults. Whatever meaning one or another group attaches to “freedom,” it is necessary today...

      • Chapter Thirty-six Families and the World Outside (1941)
        (pp. 499-500)
        Elizabeth F. Boettiger

        In all the recent talk about democracy and its aims, there is a special significance for parents. All people who conscientiously try to define the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian way of living are agreed that fundamentally it is a question of responsibility. In a totalitarian state, individuals are told what to do and how to think; in a democracy, they are expected, within the social framework, to think and act for themselves.

        But no one can think and act independently out of thin air. Independence is a state into which one grows. The little boy who wanted...

      • Chapter Thirty-seven Time Bombs in Our Homes (1952)
        (pp. 501-502)
        Mauree Applegate

        In every home and in every classroom of the world, parents and teachers are daily putting together ingredients which thirty years hence can blow up the world.

        These time bombs being fashioned in our homes and schools are a mixture of ideas, habits, and children—the most highly combustible combination known to man. Twenty-five to thirty years from now these bombs may burst into a new era of creative living for mankind, or they may fizzle out like firecrackers discouraged by competition from atomic weapons …

        If we want the years ahead to be better than the present years, we...

      • Chapter Thirty-eight Democratic and Autocratic Child Rearing (1964)
        (pp. 503-506)
        Rudolf Dreikurs

        Every culture and civilization develops a definite pattern for raising children. Comparative studies of primitive societies offer an excellent opportunity to understand the significance of tradition. Each tribe had its own tradition and raised its children in a different way. Consequently, each tribe developed distinctive behavior patterns, characters, and personalities. Each culture had its own procedures with which to meet life problems and situations. But every man and woman and every child knew exactly what was expected. All behavior was established by tradition.

        Our western culture has been more complex than primitive societies, but nonetheless it has had its traditional...

    • Section F: The Permissive Family
      • Chapter Thirty-nine The Contemporary Mother and Father (1938)
        (pp. 508-509)
        Lilian Jane Martin and Clare deGruchy

        In order to develop the ideal home each member in it must assume his appropriate role. The mother is the manager of the whole. She must understand the needs of each, their individual problems, and help them so to budget their lives that each is given opportunity for personal development without sacrificing the others. This is a job for a first class administrator. It is the mother who sets the standard of living physically, intellectually and morally. To do this she must have principles intelligently thought out and well defined, principles that have become habits through being lived daily and...

      • Chapter Forty The New Oedipal Drama of the Permissive Family (1963)
        (pp. 510-511)
        Jules Henry

        Deprived in his work life of personality aspirations, the American father reaches deeply into the emotional resources of his family for gratifications formerly considered womanly—the tenderness and closeness of his children; and his children reach thirstily toward him. Confused by the mass and contradictory character of available values, however, the American father can no longer stand for a Law or for a Social Order he often can neither explain nor defend sensibly against the challenges of his wife and children. So, too, for a man the struggle “in the world” is hard, and often, he thinks, not worth the...

      • Chapter Forty-one The Modern Pediocracy (1963)
        (pp. 512-514)
        Martha Weinman Lear

        It has been called, variously, a pediocracy, a filiarchy or, in the stern sociological view, a filio-centric way of life. Hordes of experts and quasi experts have gone into the field to study the phenomenon, and have emerged with the same mournful intelligence: We are living, like it or not—and the fact that we created it does not necessarily mean we like it—in a child-centered society. Having passed more or less unscathed through the bittersweet epoch of Life With Father, and having survived, somehow, the rigors of Momism, we are come upon a time when the child carries...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 515-517)
  10. Permissions
    (pp. 518-522)
  11. Index
    (pp. 523-532)