Children in the Nineteenth Century
Children in the nineteenth century were becoming rare, as birth-control gained popularity. And all the while their role within the family was also changing: Grandparenting emerged and parents were beginning to value time spent with their young. The family doctor was now a family fixture, attending to the child from birth to adolescence. The child’s place in society was also in flux, as they started to be seen as potential consumers, or as sources of cheap labor. Meanwhile, school was becoming more of a priority in the lives of children between the ages of six and thirteen. Little by little, the idea was emerging that children had rights and that society held an obligation to protect these rights. Such were the contradictions that set the scene for the evolution of childhood as we know it today.
Catherine Rollet : Catherine Rollet is a professor of demographics at the Université à Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. She is a specialist in the history of childhood.