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Volume 7 Issue 2 (June 1998), Pages 61-117

Historical shifts and underlying themes in ideas about rearing young children in the United States: Where have we been? Where are we going? (pages 101-117)


Common themes in ideas about rearing infants and young children in the United States can be traced from the nation's beginnings to the present day. These themes include a strong concern about child rearing; a belief that human beings are perfectible through better child rearing; an eagerness by parents to listen to the advice of ‘experts’; a belief that infants and young children should be educated in schools or day‐care centers by experts, competing with the belief that infants belong at home with their mothers; a commitment to social reform, competing with the conviction that families should be autonomous. These themes provide a background for contemporary research, political controversy, and future discussion concerning how children should be reared. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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