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Satisfaction Not GuaranteedDilemmas of Progress in Modern Society$
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Peter N. Stearns

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783627

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783627.001.0001

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Century of the Child?

Century of the Child?

Childhood, Parenting, and Modernity

Chapter:
(p.169) 8 Century of the Child?
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Satisfaction Not Guaranteed
Author(s):

Peter N. Stearns

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814783627.003.0008

This chapter shows how, like with death, modern childhood raises new and unexpected complications but also new standards cut into daily life experience. Parental satisfaction has not matched the many positive gains in modern childhood—gains that were being painstakingly achieved and heralded by progressive folk just a century ago. It's worth pointing out, as well, that parental anxieties have in many ways mounted, which affects not only opinion polls but basic adult happiness. Childhood involves a variety of participants, yet the most blatant down sides of children's modernity, particularly on the expectations side, really apply to adults. The process of modern parenting—granting various specific circumstances and personalities—is simply not as pleasurable as it arguably should be.

Keywords:   modern childhood, modern parenting, children's modernity, parental anxieties, adult happiness

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