2Prompt:2001 – Analyze how and why Western European attitudes toward children and child-rearing changed in the period from 1750 – 1900.
3Traditional Agrarian Europe Women usually married late (30) but bore many children until death (45)About 50% had 6 or more children1 in 5 were likely to die young1 in 3 infants died in poorer areasFatal diseases usually afflicted the stomach and chestEven the rich couldn’t save their childrenAdults were often indifferent, neglectful and abusive towards their children
4NursingLower class mothers saved lives by breast-feeding their young for a longer period than normalMilk provided necessary nutrients and immunitiesUpper-class mothers left wet-nurses to take care of their childrenWet-nurses were hired women who fed the babies of the upper-class at the expense of nursing their own childrenMany wet-nurses were accused of passing down bad habitsSome nurses were alleged to have killed the babies of their clients in order to get more money from other clients
5InfanticideNewborns, especially girls, were commonly left to die when families became too largeThe Church denounced infanticide and sentenced violators to deathThere were different methods of eliminating babies: killing nurses, overlaying (“accidental” suffocation), etc.Abortion was illegal, dangerous, and rare
6FoundlingsYoung mothers began to leave babies at church doorsteps when they could not care for themSaint Vincent de Paul established a foundling home (orphanage) because of the number of abandoned babiesFoundling homes became popular across Europe and they became a favorite charity for the richEven at the best of the homes, infants suffered a 50% mortality rate
7Attitude Towards Children Children of all socioeconomic classes were put “out of sight and out of mind”Frequent child deaths greatly influenced the lack of emotional bonding with parents and their childrenDoctors and clergymen encouraged emotional detachment, but this led to disciplinary abuse“Spare the rod and spoil the child.” – Daniel DefoeJean-Jacques Rousseau called for more love and tenderness as well as more comfortable clothesParents delighted in loving their children which resulted in a greater optimism about human potential
8Analysis How? Why? Mothers began to breast-feed their children longer Infanticide was penalized and foundling homes were establishedChildren became more loved and formed emotional bonds with their parentsWhy?Less children were born and more of them survivedThe Church did not approve of infanticide and took pity on the abandoned childrenCritics called for the better treatment of children and this also caused a growth in optimism about human potential