Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Parenting through the ages

In the New Yorker this week, a very interesting article about parenting magazines and books. Jill Lepore looks at a couple of recent parenting books and the origins of parenting advice. She argues that prior to the 20th century, larger families meant that many children had already had a great deal of parenting experience rearing their siblings. When this change, the demand for external advice rose. That suggests to me that we don't want to protect our children from parenting duties themselves. Hooray, now I can feel far less guilty about ordering my 10 year old to supervise bath time for her younger siblings.