[Sca-cooks] period childhood safety

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Thu Aug 14 00:03:07 PDT 2008

Celia commented:
<<< People tend to forget that the idea of 'child safe-ing' your home  
is a
relatively new concept.  Prior to the idea that children must have an  
laboratory type environment in which to keep them safe, 'child safe- 
ing' was
called 'discipline' and 'parenting'.  So, I guess I'm "mean Celia" as  
because I would agree that aversion training is much better than a dead
child. >>>

But medieval parents *did* try to child safe their homes. It was  
often difficult and as you descended down the social scale it got  
more difficult, in part because mom might be the sole head of the  
household or even if she wasn't, she might have her own job or  
household chores to do.

For those interested in finding out more about period childhood and  
raising of children and how it varied across classes, I would  
recommend some of the books by Hanawalt, Barbara A.. In particular I  
would recommend this one:

The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England
Hanawalt, Barbara A.
ISBN: 0-19-504564-5
Oxford University Press
January 1989

In particular she uses 3000 coroner's reports which gives an idea of  
what dangers children faced while growing up, often in the home. And  
since these are *coroner's* reports, sometimes the child proofing/ 
discipline didn't succeed.

Some of the description:

Using a wealth of 14th century sources, including over 3000 coroners'  
reports, this is both a detailed account of everyday life in the  
Middle Ages, and an historical study of the medieval family unit - a  
unit which has survived, largely unchanged, to the present day.

Book Description
Barbara A. Hanawalt's richly detailed account offers an intimate view  
of everyday life in Medieval England that seems at once surprisingly  
familiar and yet at odds with what many experts have told us. She  
argues that the biological needs served by the family do not change  
and that the ways fourteenth- and fifteenth-century peasants coped  
with such problems as providing for the newborn and the aged,  
controlling premarital sex, and alleviating the harshness of their  
material environment in many ways correspond with our twentieth- 
century solutions.

Using a remarkable array of sources, including over 3,000 coroners'  
inquests into accidental deaths, Hanawalt emphasizes the continuity  
of the nuclear family from the middle ages into the modern period by  
exploring the reasons that families served as the basic unit of  
society and the economy. Providing such fascinating details as a  
citation of an incantation against rats, evidence of the hierarchy of  
bread consumption, and descriptions of the games people played, her  
study illustrates the flexibility of the family and its capacity to  
adapt to radical changes in society. She notes that even the terrible  
population reduction that resulted from the Black Death did not  
substantially alter the basic nature of the family.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas           
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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