Are children controlled by adults?
Childhood is a social construct meaning it is created by society rather than being a biological stage this is because different societies have different historical eras and therefore ideas on childhood and the treatment of children. More westernised societies display a march of progress view as children should be treated separately from adults due to there lack of maturity and cognitive development, so must be protected. However, child liberationists argue adults control children due to the influence of many factors e.g social class and gender.
Children are controlled by adults physically and emotionally in the patriarchal nuclear family through male domination. Gittens argues age patriarchy as males use domestic abuse to preserve male power this is especially prevalent in e/m because males are traditionally seen as breadwinners earning power in the family determines decision-making power and authority. According to Hillmen boys are given more freedom in families e.g staying out late whilst Brannen argues girls freedoms are restricted and they often come home early to help mothers with housework after school and cook under the pretence of finding a husband. This shows men oppress and exploit a woman as girls are given no choice in marriage e.g often arranged in Asian families in accordance with the status. This also puts stress on children emotionally as children are put into submission by father out of fear of mother bearing the brunt of there disobedience. ¼ young adults were maltreated in childhood.
Also, children often feel trapped in the life stage as Pilcher argues the separateness as childhood is regarded as a separate age status than adults however they feel oppressed as they are limited in what they can do and achieve because of there age. Hockey and James argue that children respond to this by either acting up including drugs and adult clothing or acting down responding immaturely and acting like babies to escape. However, children are not completely powerless as the introduction of the children acts lead to the growth of rights of children defining parents as having responsibility rather than rights.
Child liberationists argue children are under adult control as Firestone and Holt emphasise adults control children space e.g children are told to play in some areas, time e.g what time they wake up, housework, neglect and abuse as childline have 200,000 calls a year and bodies as parents control where children are allowed to touch themselves. This contrasts with the sexual freedoms enjoyed by the non-industrial communities in the Trobriand lands as adults have a more tolerant attitude towards children’s sexual advances as finding it quite amusing. This shows a child’s experiences in childhood is limited by resources available and class as poor mothers are more likely to have underweight and unhealthy babies. However, as society has become more child-centred the introduction of the child protection act of 1889 to protect them from neglect and abuse to ultimately protect their innocence.
On the other hand, western ideas on the concept of childhood are spreading to other cultures as children as seen as physically and psychologically immature therefore are in need for a period of nurturing before going into the adult world. They hold a march of progress view as through the introduction of laws such as the child labour act in 1938 which restricts children from going into paid employment and being exploited in the workplace although internationally estimated 200,000 child labourers employers often take advantage of the vulnerability of children paying them low and feeble wages knowing the fact that they are less likely to retort out of fear of losing the little income they are earning to feed there younger siblings and family. This is prevalent in poor countries such as Peru. Also, Opie argues children’s culture and innocence is preserved and protected because of the production of toys to make it carefree. However, children in Uganda don’t have that privilege as 300,000 were made to become soldiers because of the war whilst younger children were used as minesweepers or spies for kamikaze attacks.
Also, children are protected by adults not controlled as society has become more child-centred in the 20th century. In the 13th century, Aries argues children were seen as mini-adults as there was no difference between adults and children. They wore the same clothing, worked and were judged by the same laws as in the eyes of the laws 7-8 yr olds were seen as criminally responsible. During the period society did not view children as objects of love or in need of protection this was because of high infant mortality rates which meant it was not uncommon to have large family sizes in order to bring in more income, children were viewed as an economic asset. Although there have been changes over the centuries as within the 18th-century books on child-bearing were made showing a growing sign of child-centredness. However, this was mainly for m/c because they were not limited by material deprivation. In today’s society children are viewed as valuable and vulnerable in need of adult protection this is due to the changes in law e.g compulsory education act 1965 all children are given an equal opportunity for education and family sizes are much smaller because of medical advancements which have reduced infant mortality. Having smaller families gives parents the opportunity to spoil a child with luxuries and all give children all of there attention this is because they are emotionally priceless.
To conclude Gittens argues children are controlled by adults because of age patriarchy which puts them at the forefront of abuse both mentally and physically. However, society has changed as Shorter argues the 20th century is the year of the child families are becoming more child-centred. Overall whether children are controlled or protected by adults is dependant on the perspective one agrees with.
some paragraphs lack detail in parts
add more statistics/evidence
link back too the question in each paragraph
also im sure its giddens instead of gittens
the essay follows a good structure though )