Anxious Parents by Peter N. Stearns
A History of Modern Childrearing in America

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The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw a dramatic shift in the role of children in American society and families. No longer necessary for labor, children became economic liabilities and twentieth-century parents exhibited a new level of anxiety concerning the welfare of their children and their own ability to parent effectively. What caused this shift in the ways parenting and childhood were experienced and perceived? Why, at a time of relative ease and prosperity, do parents continue to grapple with uncertainty and with unreasonable expectations of both themselves and their children? Peter N. Stearns explains this phenomenon by examining the new issues the twentieth century brought to bear on families. Surveying popular media, 8220;expert 8221; childrearing manuals, and newspapers and journals published throughout the century, Stearns shows how schooling, physical and emotional vulnerability, and the rise in influence of commercialism became primary concerns for parents. The result, Stearns shows, is that contemporary parents have come to believe that they are participating in a culture of neglect and diminishing standards. Anxious Parents: A Modern History of Childrearing in America shows the reasons for this belief through an historic examination of modern parenting.


About Peter N. Stearns

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Peter N. Stearns is Provost and University Professor at George Mason University. Since 1967, he has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History. His numerous books include World History in Documents ; American Behavioral History ; and Anxious Parents .
Published May 1, 2003 by NYU Press reference. 264 pages
Genres: History, Parenting & Relationships, Political & Social Sciences, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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While earlier generations of parents had viewed children as resilient, in the 20th century they were considered vulnerable, which shaped parents' approaches to children's discipline, schooling, chores and uses of leisure time.

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Project MUSE

Stearns' account of parents' century-long struggle to come to terms with schooling—from their first frontal assaults on homework to their later insistence on grade inflation—is a satisfying synthesis of economic, demographic, familial, and attitudinal shifts that came together by the Sixties, whe...

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