Victorian Child-Rearing Theory, 1891

The Victorians attitude to children could be pretty strict, as seen in a rather heart-breaking little section of The Mother’s Companion of 1891. It’s written with a loving tone – these parents adored their kids. And yet how far removed from today is the idea that a parent should withhold all praise from their children, for fear of making them conceited?

The heart-breaking bit isn’t really the piece itself, which is pretty cuddly. But it’s the fact that it actually needs to tell parents to admire their children’s achievements that is shocking to a twenty-first century parent – “Of course, I do not mean too much praise, but a little now and then is good for everyone.”

And I do like this sentimental childhood bit – “Flood them with sunshine from your own hearts, and they will give it back to you with interest.”

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