"All that rot they teach to children about the little raindrop fairies with their buckets washing down the window panes must go. We need less sentimentality and more spanking." Or so said Granville Stanley Hall, founder of child psychology, in 1899. Hall was one of many child experts of the 1800s who believed that children needed little emotional connection with their parents.
Luther Emmett Holt, who pioneered the science of pediatrics, wrote a child-rearing advice book in which he called infant screaming "the baby's exercise." "Babies under six months old should never be played with," he wrote, "and the less of it at any time the better for the infant."
Holt and Granville's contemporary, John B. Watson, wrote a child advice book that sold into the second half of the 1900s. In a chapter titled "Too Much Mother Love," he wrote:
Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight. Shake hands with them in the morning.With these quotes in mind, it seems less surprising that we put adolescents to work in factories and coal mines.
When you are tempted to pet your child, remember that mother love is a dangerous instrument. An instrument which may inflict a never-healing wound, a wound which may make infancy unhappy, adolescence a nightmare, an instrument which may wreck your adult son or daughter's vocational future and their chances for marital happiness.
Special thanks to Shayna Asher-Shapiro for finding Holt, Hall and Watson for me.
Originally posted at Sociological Images.
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