Assignment 2: Implications of Aries Reading
According to Aries, the childhood that we know today did not exist before during the medieval age. There is a clear distinction in the way children were being treated before as compared to this modern age. In the past, children were little adults who participated in the same work and play activities that adults did. It is apparent that there were no toys and games for children. The children were perceived as economic assets rather than a symbol of love for their parents. It was very challenging to attach emotional value to children since the death rate was very high. Aries claims on the state of the children were based on modern letters, diaries, and other documents as well as the manner through which children were depicted during the medieval age.
Also, Aries argues that middle-class attitudes started to change during this period. It is perceived that during this period, there is a growth of maternal and paternal love as a result of the fall of infant mortality rate. In the 19th century, the children were exempted from working in the mines where the majority of the people have been injured. Therefore, Aries contribution influences the understanding of how children were being handled within two periods.
In light of this, we can deduce that parents in the medieval age were not caring for the development of their children which contributed to a variety of behaviors and attitudes. It is also evident that children became adults at a younger age because they were being treated as young adults. Aries idea on this, contradicts Piaget stages of development in children, by showing that it is possible for a child to jump some stages of development due to the environment where they are placed.
Ariès, P. (1965). Centuries of childhood: A social history of family life.