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Child Rearing Practices In The 1500's And 1600's

1222 words - 5 pages

Child- rearing practices in the 1500’s and 1600’s were very different from modern times. During the 1500’s and 1600’s, children were raised in various ways due to conditions such as mortality rates. There was a shorter life expectancy during these times, due to illnesses caused by rodents hygiene, and the disposal systems for waste products, which gave parents a precise reason to make their children grow up quicker than normal. The goal for most parents when raising their children during these times was to raise their young adolescents into mature adults with the help of harsh punishment and religion to get their children to decipher right from wrong.
Children were punished in the 1500’s and 1600’s to grow up so they would behave more like adults at younger ages. In The Domostroi, a Russian manual on household management, it explains a teaching that parents should live by when raising their children. It exclaims that when, “A man who loves his son will whip him often so that when he grows up he may be a joy to him.” This shares with us that when a man beats his own, the child becomes enlightened and educated that with every unacceptable action comes a discipline; so, with painful lashings, children learn how to behave like adults through punishment. When these children grow up to behave like adults, their parents then become appreciative of them since they are able to behave respectably so. In this excerpt from The Domostroi, it is stating that once a child has been whipped enough and understands what is acceptable and what is not, a parent will then be honored by the actions of their child (Document 3: The Domostroi, Moscow. 1550s). Another [parental] example of punishment that guides children is that of King Henry IV. King Henry IV wrote to Madame de Montglat, the governess of the king’s six-year-old son, to explain to her the way he wants his bloodline, and heir to the throne, to be raised. “… when I was his age I was often whipped. That is why I want you to whip him and to make him understand why.” This quote is from a parent, of whom was also a king during the time, who was whipped when he was young, and believes that is the best way to teach a child, and make them a well-rounded adult. This parent, King Henry IV, believed that this punishment is the best way to teach his son. King Henry IV wanted his child to be educated on the rights and wrongs of becoming an adult since he would assume the throne next. With Henry’s bloodline in the position to become king after himself, he wanted them raised as he was so his six-year-old son could become a great king one day (Document 8: King Henry IV, letter to Madame de Montglat, Louis, Paris, 1607).
Although whipping was a big practice used to make their children grow up and become adults in shorter time frames, this was not the only way to do so. Parents themselves asked God for guidance and for their children to do so too. Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer, sent a letter to his friend about the...

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