Contemporary Issues for Children and Families Essay

1457 Words Mar 2nd, 2013 6 Pages
Contemporary Issues for Children and Families
“Both the status of children and the role of the family have undergone significant changes over the course of this century”.
From Contemporary Issues in the Early Years, Gillian Pugh (ed.) page 71

The concept of childhood and how it’s changed over the past 30 years
Back in the Middle Ages, children were seen simply as miniature adults. According to Philippe Aries (1962), children used to wear the same sort of clothes as their parents; they shared adults work and leisure. Children were not assumed to have needs different from adults, nor were they shielded from many aspects of adult life. Many children died soon after birth and it was seen as God’s will and a blessing.
The status of the
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But in our real modern life, children became more material than ever before. Almost every child now has a TV or/and computer in their bedroom where they spent most of their time. Sue Palmer in her article ‘Where did childhood in Britain go wrong?’ says that children do not have the freedom to play outside freely as they did 30 years ago, when they used to spend almost all their leisure outside playing. So for most 21st-century children, the word "play" doesn't mean outdoor, physical pursuits or indoor creativity: it means sitting down at a PlayStation, mindlessly gazing at television, or communicating virtually with friends via Facebook.

Significant changes in the role of the family and the nature of the family
According to Murdock, a family is a ‘social group consisting of at least on adult and child, usually cohabiting, related by blood, marriage or adoption’ (Murdock in Yeo and Lovell, 2002). In English Dictionary a family is defined as a group of people who are related by blood or marriage. George Murdock (1949) conducted a survey of 250 societies and claimed there are four universal residual functions of the family: sexual, reproductive, socialisation, economic; we also know that families give children identity.
In recent decades, the nature of family life and the role of the family significantly changed. These include fewer marriages, changed conjugal roles, more cohabitation and more births outside

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