Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children Now Enjoy More Freedom At Home, But Are More Restricted Outside The Home

Date:
August 4, 2009
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Children now enjoy more freedom at home, but are more restricted outside the home. Children have certainly mastered the art of selecting, negotiating and even refusing the chores their parents assign to them. This growth in personal autonomy at home over the last few decades could be the result of shrinking opportunities to participate in activities outside the home, without Mom and Dad looking over their shoulder, according to researchers.

Children have certainly mastered the art of selecting, negotiating and even refusing the chores their parents assign to them. This growth in personal autonomy at home over the last few decades could be the result of shrinking opportunities to participate in activities outside the home, without Mom and Dad looking over their shoulder, according to Dr. Markella Rutherford from Wellesley College in the US. Her analysis of back issues of the popular US magazine, Parents, maps how the portrayal of parental authority and children's autonomy has changed over the last century. Her findings are published online in Springer's journal Qualitative Sociology.

Related Articles


Parents are faced with a difficult task when they try to balance authority with children's autonomy: they are trying to be the right kind of parents, while at the same time trying to form the right kind of kids. And there are many sources of information and social support that parents turn to in order to achieve this balance, including family, friends, doctors, teachers, other parents and the media.

Dr. Rutherford looked at how the increasing importance of individualism and personal autonomy in American culture appears in childrearing advice. She analyzed a total of 300 advice columns and relevant editorials from 34 randomly chosen issues of Parents magazine, published between 1929 and 2006, to see how parental authority and children's autonomy have been portrayed over the last century.

The study demonstrated that while the magazine articles showed greater autonomy for children in some areas, they also depicted children as having become more constrained in others. Instead of an overall increased autonomy, she found evidence of a historical trade-off: while children appear to have gained autonomy in private spaces in their homes, they have lost much of their public autonomy outside the home.

The articles in Parents showed that children were increasingly autonomous when it came to their self-expression, particularly in relation to daily activity chores, personal appearance and defiance of parents. In contrast to this increased autonomy that child-centered parenting has given children, the 20th century has seen, in other ways, children's autonomy curtailed, through increasingly restricted freedom of movement and substantially delayed acceptance of responsibilities. Children now have fewer opportunities to conduct themselves in public spaces free from adult supervision than they did in the early and mid-twentieth century.

Dr. Rutherford concludes: "Today's parents face demands that require near-constant surveillance of their children. Allowing children more autonomy to express themselves and their disagreements at home may well be a response to the loss of more substantial forms of children's autonomy to move through and participate in their communities on their own."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rutherford MB. Children%u2019s Autonomy and responsibility: an analysis of childrearing advice. Qualitative Sociology, DOI: 10.1007/s11133-009-9136-2

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Children Now Enjoy More Freedom At Home, But Are More Restricted Outside The Home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804071824.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2009, August 4). Children Now Enjoy More Freedom At Home, But Are More Restricted Outside The Home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804071824.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Children Now Enjoy More Freedom At Home, But Are More Restricted Outside The Home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804071824.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins