Child Abuse Sociology

1375 Words 6 Pages
Current conceptions of child abuse and neglect in Western society are strongly correlated with the historical and ongoing social construction of childhood. Childhood is not something that is natural or a biological stage of life. During the course of this essay, it will be argued that in Western society families and childhood are socially constructed and definitions of childhood change with definitions of child abuse and neglect through space and time. Families are socially constructed because they are seen as this safe, stable, loving, heterosexual, patriarchal and nuclear family (Mandell & Duffy, 2011, p.278). There is also this belief that families are a safe haven and a place of security (McCauley, 2015). Definitions of family change …show more content…
After the age of three or four in the Middle Ages children played and took part in the same games and festivities as adults (McCauley, 2015). There was no category called childhood such as today where it is seen as a stage of life. During the 17th century and beyond children needed control and discipline this was through work and punishment such as physical discipline (McCauley, 2015). Corporal punishment has been around since the past being seen as accepted violence, minor and seen as benefiting the child’s behaviour. Throughout history spanking has been one of those disciplines that have either been accepted in society or not. Also from the 17th century and beyond children became slaves with the growth of factory system (McCauley, 2015). The reality for many young children especially during the agrarian society was they had to work to support their family. According to Mandell & Duffy (2011) children no longer provide economic assets to family as they did in past (p.17). Throughout worldwide history in many cultures by the age of eighteen children would be married (McCauley, 2015). This can be for economic, social or cultural reasons. Therefore, it is shown that childhood is socially constructed and that child abuse and neglect are fairly recent concepts. In ancient Greece and Rome boys were sexually abused and at that time it was not considered abuse (McCauley, …show more content…
However, there was not much on child abuse in particular the focus was on the family dynamics issues such as poverty and etc ((McCauley, 2015). Child abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological or in the form of neglect. Child maltreatment goes back to ancient civilization it was only until recently violence against and the impact against children has been documented (Mandell & Duffy, 2011, p.283). The main family model during the 1950’s was the nuclear family where the father is the breadwinner and mother caregiver (McCauley, 2015). This was seen as the functional family for many years. Single parent households, gay and lesbian and step families were seen as dysfunctional (McCauley, 2015). There were dominant ideologies around what and how a family should be. It was not until 1970’s where dual income family began to emerge and grow. However lower and working class families have been dual income families for centuries. Therefore, childhood is ongoing social construction and with that emerged current concepts of child abuse and neglect. Growth of the study of family violence 1960’s onward largely related to discovery of child abuse. Feminists had a huge role during the 1960’s through the 80’s as they claimed women and children were oppressed by patriarchy (McCauley, 2015).There are several ways to explain why violence occurs or persists against anyone. There

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