PDA

View Full Version : Children different than adults: New concept?



sarongsong
2007-Mar-31, 05:38 AM
From another thread:
You know, the concept of children being different than adults is relatively new.
...would you like me to start citing sources? (Which I could. Quite a lot of them, in fact.)Please do; I find that an extraordinary statement. http://bautforum.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

Ronald Brak
2007-Mar-31, 05:50 AM
Please do; I find that an extraordinary statement.

I don't find it extraordinary at all, but I know what she is getting at. I'm pretty sure that in the past people realized that children tended to be smaller than adults, less experienced and so on.

Personally I'd be inclined to turn the statement around a little and say, "The concept of adults being different from children is relatively new."

soylentgreen
2007-Mar-31, 06:58 AM
I don't find it extraordinary at all, but I know what she is getting at. I'm pretty sure that in the past people realized that children tended to be smaller than adults, less experienced and so on.

Personally I'd be inclined to turn the statement around a little and say, "The concept of adults being different from children is relatively new."

Ronald, I think you might be interested in this...
Airstrip One plans to spot thought criminals as early as possible. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/28/ncrime28.xml)


Most crime is committed by a small number of offenders who could be identified almost from birth, ministers believe.


The plan will be underpinned by a database for all children from next year.

It will contain basic information identifying the child and its parents and will have a "facility for practitioners to indicate to others that they have information to share, are taking action, or have undertaken an assessment, in relation to a child."

Seems the British believe you're the same person from birth to adulthood...A potential criminal!

Jeff Root
2007-Mar-31, 07:28 AM
I think that if you could ask people from 1600 to state some ways
in which children and adults are alike, and ways in which they are
different, you would get a list fairly similar to one that you would
get from people nowadays-- possibly better.

What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and
on three legs in the evening?

Anyone in 1600 would know that a baby cannot stand up on its
own, and that it takes some time before it learns to crawl on all
fours. Anyone in 1600 would know that a baby is born without
teeth, that the teeth grow in, later fall out, and are replaced by
new ones. Anyone in 1600 would know that a baby has to learn
to talk. Anyone in 1600 would know that an adult can lift a child
off the ground but a child cannot lift an adult off the ground.
Anyone in 1600 would know that a 15-year-old can run faster
than a 5-year-old or a 50-year-old. Anyone in 1600 would know
that children almost always have better vision than adults. Etc.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Ronald Brak
2007-Mar-31, 07:35 AM
Seems the British believe you're the same person from birth to adulthood...A potential criminal!

That article is kind of creepy. But it's not what I'm getting at.

I'm more getting at that a couple of hundred years ago most people were subjects and at the bottom of political and religious heirachies. As subjects they were subject to other people's wills much as children are subject to the wills of their parents and teachers, except that today children have legal rights and protections that most people in the past lacked. A child like state of dependance was both encouraged and expected. People were expected to consider their Lords and gods as father (or mother) figures.

The concept of childhood we have is very new. For example the idea that children shouldn't be aware of the existance of sex would seem very strange to most people in the past and indeed strange in many cultures in the world today. Our concept of teenager is even more modern.

One recent change in our attitudes about children is it is now illegal to for children to attack other children. When I was a kid, provided you didn't put anyone in hospital, child on child violence was accepted and even encouraged.

soylentgreen
2007-Mar-31, 07:16 PM
One recent change in our attitudes about children is it is now illegal to for children to attack other children. When I was a kid, provided you didn't put anyone in hospital, child on child violence was accepted and even encouraged.

Funny, I feel some real attention is actually needed with the exploitation involved in those hideous kiddy beauty pageants.

Two rascals duking it out in some back alley over "kid protocol" was already old when people thought the world only went as far as the Tigris.
[ I've got a scar on my knee(of all freakin places!)from some long-forgotten playground skirmish....actually, it was more like Bull Run, but that's another story. ]
Those sordid pageants though...there are some serious issues there with both the welfare(psychological and physical) of the child and the responsibility and, in a way I guess, the maturity of the parent with dreams of Don King in their heads. Actually, I liken those pageant moms to Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Iselin in MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE...but then I'm known for my melodramatic imagination. ;)

Gillianren
2007-Mar-31, 07:46 PM
I think that if you could ask people from 1600 to state some ways
in which children and adults are alike, and ways in which they are
different, you would get a list fairly similar to one that you would
get from people nowadays-- possibly better.

Only if you fail to understand my point.

Yes, they knew the physical differences; these people weren't stupid. However, children didn't acquire a "special" place until the last two hundred years or so; why do you think it took so long to impose child labour laws? And at that, the issue there was, at least in part, one of education--if you start working at the age of, oh, six, when do you have time to go to school?

The issue to which I refer is psychological. Another one of those unbelievable statements that is nevertheless true is that the concept of the "teenager" didn't really exist until the 1920s, when the average person's educational span lengthened. I mean, ye Gods, have you read the Little House books? The only reason Laura wasn't teaching other kids when she was fifteen was that the law said a teacher had to be sixteen.

Heck, check Wikipedia under "childhood." There's not much of an article there, but it's certainly a start, and it's the only online reference I'm going to be able to give you, because I read about this in books. Like, for example, my high school psychology text--and my college psychology text.

Okay, let us start by quoting from three of the books I actually own. The first is Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, by Charles Panati. Panati isn't 100% reliable, but he's probably 95% reliable. This quote is from pp. 168-169.


One answer centers around the fact that from Elizabethan times [Panati's starting this far too late] to the early nineteenth century, children were regarded as miniature adults. Families were confined to cramped quarters. Thus, children kept the same late hours as adults, they overheard and repeated bawdy language, and were not shielded from the sexual shenanigans of their elders. Children witnessed drunkenness and drank at an early age. And since public floggings, hangings, disembowelments, and imprisonment in stocks were well attended in town squares, violence, cruelty, and death were no strangers to children.

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Women's History, by Constance Jones lists quite a few women whose accomplishments started in what we think of as childhood, as does Uppity Women of the New World, by Vicki Leon. The latter describes Mary Haydock, given the death sentence at age thirteen for trying to sell a stolen horse; she was given transportation to Australia instead and was, at the printing of my copy of the book, on the $20 bill there. 1001 Things reminds us that Joan of Arc was twelve when she started hearing her voices.

This is a very small sampling based on three books that happened to be on two shelves of the nonfiction section of my personal library. I could give more examples, but it would be more work.

Paul Beardsley
2007-Mar-31, 08:46 PM
Interesting topic.

On TV a few years ago, they had a schoolgirl quoting Shakespeare in between drinking a milkshake. After a short time, the penny drops: she is playing the part of Cleopatra, and she is the same age as Cleopatra at the time.

I think that, no matter how much you are told about history, you sometimes have to be shown history as well. And sometimes it takes little tricks like this to shake you out of your mindset.

Delvo
2007-Apr-01, 02:17 AM
There's a difference between believing that it's alright to expose children to things that many now consider too "adult" for them, and seriously believing that they're the same thing as adults. If all you've got is the former, then saying that it means they're "thought of as miniature adults" is just not accurate; it's a metaphor at best and sensationalist or deceptive at worst. (I, for example, treat men and women the same, but don't think they're the same themselves.)

If one seriously equates children to adults, then one also thinks their minds work the same way and expects the same behavior of them... which I think is the context in which this claim was first made anyway.

Proving the former is easy, especially if you're allowed to use a couple of brief recent oddites of certain Occidental countries (based on rather abnormal circumstances) as stand-ins for the whole of history in all places. But it doesn't equal proving the latter.

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-01, 02:45 AM
If one seriously equates children to adults, then one also thinks their minds work the same way and expects the same behavior of them... which I think is the context in which this claim was first made anyway.

Well I think in the past they often did expect the same sort of behaviour from children as adults in many regards. They used to hang people we would now consider children. There were armies that were commanded by sixteen year olds and so on. Rather than say children and adults were regarded as the same I would say childhood was regarded as very different from today. And adulthood too. And the distinction was very different and not as clear as today. As anyone who has been Bar Mitzvaed can tell you certain cultures regarded you as an adult when you were 13.

Delvo
2007-Apr-01, 03:44 AM
The fact that our culture treats people as children who would be treated as adults in another culture doesn't make the two phases of life equivalent; it just means the dividing line between them has moved. (In our case right here and now, it's moved so far I find it a bit absurd; we're now treating biological adults as children for their first several YEARS as biological adults. No wonder they act so weird! How would YOU, adult readers, respond to being treated like a kid right now?)

Jeff Root
2007-Apr-01, 11:29 AM
I think that if you could ask people from 1600 to state some ways
in which children and adults are alike, and ways in which they are
different, you would get a list fairly similar to one that you would
get from people nowadays-- possibly better.
Only if you fail to understand my point.
The people would respond the same way regardless of whether I
understood your point, and I would still think what I said above
whether I knew that I failed to understand your point or not.



Yes, they knew the physical differences; these people weren't stupid.
However, children didn't acquire a "special" place until the last two
hundred years or so; why do you think it took so long to impose child
labour laws? And at that, the issue there was, at least in part, one
of education--if you start working at the age of, oh, six, when do
you have time to go to school?

Perhaps the problem is that you were quoted out of context at
the start of this thread. You were quoted as saying:


the concept of children being different than adults is relatively new.
But what you meant was that the way children are valued has
changed, and along with it the concept of how children should
be treated.

From the quote I get:

Olden days: "Children and adults are the same."
Modern age: "Children are different from adults."

But you meant:

Olden days: "Children and adults are of similar value to us,
so we treat them similarly."
Modern age: "Children have a value to us that adults don't have,
so we treat them differently from adults.



The issue to which I refer is psychological. Another one of those
unbelievable statements that is nevertheless true is that the concept
of the "teenager" didn't really exist until the 1920s, when the
average person's educational span lengthened. I mean, ye Gods, have
you read the Little House books? The only reason Laura wasn't
teaching other kids when she was fifteen was that the law said a
teacher had to be sixteen.
(Gillian says this because she knows that I have read the
'Little House' books.)

I was thinking about American farm children and Hellenic silver
miners when I wrote the previous post, but those thoughts didn't
make it into print.



Heck, check Wikipedia under "childhood." There's not much of an
article there, but it's certainly a start, and it's the only
online reference I'm going to be able to give you, because I
read about this in books. Like, for example, my high school
psychology text--and my college psychology text.

Okay, let us start by quoting from three of the books I actually
own. The first is Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday
Things, by Charles Panati.
Heh. I have a book tiltled 'The Psychology of Everyday Things'
by Donald A. Norman. Totally different subject: How to design
stuff so that it can be used by humans. Nice book.



Panati isn't 100% reliable, but he's probably 95% reliable.
This quote is from pp. 168-169.


One answer centers around the fact that from Elizabethan times
[Panati's starting this far too late] to the early nineteenth
century, children were regarded as miniature adults. Families
were confined to cramped quarters. Thus, children kept the same
late hours as adults, they overheard and repeated bawdy language,
and were not shielded from the sexual shenanigans of their elders.
Children witnessed drunkenness and drank at an early age. And
since public floggings, hangings, disembowelments, and imprisonment
in stocks were well attended in town squares, violence, cruelty,
and death were no strangers to children.
The statement (and notion) that "children were regarded as
miniature adults" is the one that I question, and which motivated
me to write my first post in this thread. The rest of what Panati
describes could apply equally to children almost everywhere and
everywhen. It wasn't just insomnia that made me sit for hours on
the stairs in the dark, listening to the adults talk downstairs
when company stayed late-- or even when it was just my parents.
Unfortunately they never had anything really interesting to say.

However, the extent to which children in the past kept the same
hours as adults was largely dependant on how much sleep they
need, which is not something that is likely to change. If the
child needs nine hours and the adult needs only seven, and both
arise at the same time, then the child is going to fade out
before the adult. If you give yourself a couple of hours of
peace and quiet in the morning before getting the kids up, then
it is more likely that they will be up as late as you.



1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Women's History, by Constance
Jones lists quite a few women whose accomplishments started in what
we think of as childhood, as does Uppity Women of the New World, by
Vicki Leon. The latter describes Mary Haydock, given the death
sentence at age thirteen for trying to sell a stolen horse; she was
given transportation to Australia instead and was, at the printing
of my copy of the book, on the $20 bill there. 1001 Things reminds
us that Joan of Arc was twelve when she started hearing her voices.
Nowadays there are more reasons than ever before for children
to have pharmacologically-induced psychosis.



This is a very small sampling based on three books that happened to
be on two shelves of the nonfiction section of my personal library.
I could give more examples, but it would be more work.
I'd say my strategy paid off. I hate to type stuff out of books.
I do it far less than I used to, back in the olden days of Fidonet
and GEnie, before the Internet made 'copy/paste' so easy.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Maksutov
2007-Apr-01, 11:45 AM
Re:

Children different than adults: New concept?There's a tendency, based on physics, for children to be younger than adults.

But on many occasions, the child is more mature than the equivalent adult.

Or even a continuum.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Apr-01, 07:23 PM
Not sure I understand the topic. Children were treated very differently in the past. So were adults. We have learned much about the human psyche, though our learning is of course not complete.

If it is just that we are now more in tune with the development process from infant to adult, I'd agree.

But is the premise that people did not recognize the differences between children and adults? I disagree with that. Did they choose not to address the needs, or care for their children as most civilized folks do today? I'd agree to that, but it is a different issue.

Treat them in a far more callous way then we do, yes. Not realize they were different, no. They could not have been that inobservant.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-01, 07:59 PM
Not sure I understand the topic. Children were treated very differently in the past. So were adults. We have learned much about the human psyche, though our learning is of course not complete.

Someone in one of the threads in General Science was going on about how we should understand that they're children, and children have special needs (which, don't get me wrong, I agree with!), and how could people not know that? And the fact is, children were treated as tiny adults quite a lot of the time through history. Portraiture is one aspect that will show us this; I think it's Francis Drake's son that is shown in a painting as being dressed and postured exactly like his father, unto having an actual by-God sword; the kid was maybe seven.


If it is just that we are now more in tune with the development process from infant to adult, I'd agree.

As would I. As we understand brain development, for example, those rules about not giving people under the age of about 18 or 20 a lot of mind-altering drugs start making an awful lot of sense.


But is the premise that people did not recognize the differences between children and adults? I disagree with that. Did they choose not to address the needs, or care for their children as most civilized folks do today? I'd agree to that, but it is a different issue.

But the very fact that they didn't means something, didn't it? As does your caveat about "civilized." If it were such a universal fact that children get treated as children, you wouldn't need it.


Treat them in a far more callous way then we do, yes. Not realize they were different, no. They could not have been that inobservant.

History disagrees with you. Oh, very small children--say five or younger--were given more latitude, but older children weren't. Children as young as seven could be entered into apprenticeships, though they were more likely to be closer to ten. Children as young as four were put to work in the textile mills in the 19th Century.

And, if you think about it, why would they have treated children callously if they realized they were different? Was everyone four hundred years ago just a jerk?

When Jane Grey died, she could speak some four or five languages fluently. She could write lengthy essays about major points in theology. She had been declared, if not crowned, Queen of England. She was married. She had a better education than some PhDs do today, albeit lacking in anything like modern science.

Oh. And she was seventeen.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Apr-02, 03:37 PM
History is full of very young monarchs and divine leaders. But the fact that they were not truly given the reigns of power (there was always an overseer - usually evil and nefarious?) proves that they did see children as different.

The fact that they were abused doesn't mean much.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Apr-02, 07:19 PM
It is true that when you look at pictures of children (paintings, sculptures, etc.) they tend to look like miniature adults for a very long time. Until the 19th century, more or less, if I'm not mistaken. What this says about the society which produced those pictures, I do not know.
There is no question that the teenager is a 20th century creation. But maybe this is not just a matter of sociology, because nowadays people are more slow to mature physically.

sarongsong
2007-Apr-02, 08:01 PM
...nowadays people are more slow to mature physically.There is some controversy about this:
May 15, 2005
...In the western world there is much evidence children are reaching puberty at younger and younger ages - some girls at the age of seven. The reasons for this trend are unknown - and some dispute it is occuring at all...12 European teams are carrying out research as part of a three-year project to get to the root of the problem.. BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4530743.stm)

Larry Jacks
2007-Apr-02, 08:06 PM
A couple centuries ago, children worked to help support their family. Even into the Industrial Revolution, children were employed in factories until child labor was outlawed (and that wasn't to protect children so much as to protect the jobs of adults). I recall reading that it wasn't until the mid 1800s (approximately) that childhood as a special phase of life gained hold. Friedrich Froebel (http://www.friedrichfroebel.com/) invented kindergarten (German for "children's garden") as a special way of educating very young children.

Today, it seems we've prolonged adolescence unnecessarily.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Apr-02, 08:11 PM
There is some controversy about this:I thought of that before posting, but I think they're two different things. On one hand, todays' adolescents reach puberty earlier, as you point out. But on the other hand I believe they take longer to grow up. I mean, to reach their definitive height, build, and so on.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-02, 08:27 PM
History is full of very young monarchs and divine leaders. But the fact that they were not truly given the reigns of power (there was always an overseer - usually evil and nefarious?) proves that they did see children as different.

The fact that they were abused doesn't mean much.

"Reins."

And if you could get away with keeping control, why wouldn't you? The fact is, Jane Grey could've been sixty, and her parents--and father-in-law--would have done their level best to keep control. As it was, she was not going to be given a Regent. Her cousin Edward had been, but at age eleven, I believe, he didn't have a heck of a lot of experience in government.

Their cousin Mary Stewart (later Stuart) was given a Regent when she took the throne, but given that she was six days old, give or take, there was no doubt that she wouldn't be up to running the country for some time. As it was, they ended up needed the Regent (Marie de Guise, the queen's mother) because they shipped Mary off to France when she was six.

And they sure didn't give Joan of Arc an older supervisor.

And, of course, this is just royalty (and Joan) we're discussing. We know more about them, so we can make more definitive statements, true, but children at the time were given adult responsibility even when it wasn't ruling a country or leading an army.

HenrikOlsen
2007-Apr-02, 11:31 PM
"Reins."
They reigned once they where given the reins to the power. :)

Back to the topic:
In my experience, the ability to handle responsibility comes from actually having responsibility much more than it comes from attaining a certain age.

The modern style teenager comes from having a time between being a child and getting responsibility.

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-03, 01:03 AM
In general people in the developed world grow taller and reach puberty sooner than the same populations before industrialization. Changes in diet appear to be the main reason, although stress and other factors could play a part. In Japan it is possible to clearly see the difference between families that follow more traditional diets and those that don't. Apparently the average age of menarche (first menstruation) was around 17 before industrialization. In the United States it is now under 13.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-03, 02:28 AM
Apparently the average age of menarche (first menstruation) was around 17 before industrialization.

That seems unlikely to me, given the age at which women are recorded as beginning to have children.

Musashi
2007-Apr-03, 02:41 AM
It seems to be what the research shows, although they are careful to note that there are no real records from that time frame. One guess is that better childhood nutrition is allowing menarche to occur earlier.

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-03, 02:45 AM
That seems unlikely to me, given the age at which women are recorded as beginning to have children.

Thanks. At which age was the average for first childbirth? And was this for elites who are more likely to have better food and records made about them or an average for population as a whole? The 17 figure refers to pre-industrial agricultural populations and not hunter gatherers who were often better fed. The situation is confused as there would have been many young women who could have menstruated but didn't due to lack of nutrition, which is slightly different from just slowed development.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Apr-03, 12:29 PM
Their cousin Mary Stewart (later Stuart) was given a Regent when she took the throne, but given that she was six days old, give or take, there was no doubt that she wouldn't be up to running the country for some time.

AHA! So they did recognize the some difference.

HenrikOlsen
2007-Apr-03, 02:30 PM
AHA! So they did recognize the some difference.
I think you're being deliberately obtuse here:)

The difference Gillian was referring to wasn't that children know less and have less education/experience, which everyone agrees on and they did as well.

It's the idea that children are fundamentally different from adults in the ways they think and learn, and that you eg. need to use different methods for teaching children for the best results.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-03, 06:42 PM
AHA! So they did recognize the some difference.

It's hard to rule when you can't talk, write, or otherwise make your commands known.

farmerjumperdon
2007-Apr-03, 06:43 PM
Yes, I was; and all in fun on that post.

I still disagree with the idea though that there was no understanding of the fundamental differences in the way adults think and learn versus how adults think and learn. As I said before, I find it hard to believe people were universally so inobservant of kids behavior that they did not recognize the differences.

The fact that they had less rights, were forced into labor, were not valued, or any of the other things mentioned in the thread does not prove (to me at least) they they were ignorant of said differences.

Isn't there any writing on the topic at all? At some point there surely must have been writings about how people learn. If not, then it would be difficult (maybe impossible) to prove either way what they knew or didn't know; or what they thought they knew.

HenrikOlsen
2007-Apr-03, 07:01 PM
I still disagree with the idea though that there was no understanding of the fundamental differences in the way adults think and learn versus how adults think and learn.
I don't understand that difference, please explain. :)

Gillianren
2007-Apr-03, 08:56 PM
Isn't there any writing on the topic at all? At some point there surely must have been writings about how people learn. If not, then it would be difficult (maybe impossible) to prove either way what they knew or didn't know; or what they thought they knew.

On that topic from that era? No. Which, I think, is in and of itself an indication that the differences were not recognized. As has been said, the first writing really exploring the differences between adults and children is less than two hundred years old.

Remember, Juliet was twelve!

Jeff Root
2007-Apr-04, 02:42 AM
Remember, Juliet was twelve!
Juliet had reached menarche. That transferred her from the category
"infant" to the category "adult". Many years ago my friend said that
she was considered at that age to be "an old maid", but I disagree
and don't know whether his comment accurately expressed what he
meant or if he was just using hyperbole for humorous effect. (But he
was likely quoting his high school English teacher. I forget the context
of the conversation.) Juliet wasn't an old maid, which means someone
who should have been married some time ago. She was simply of
marriagable age at that time, and may not have been so for long.

Okay, so Juliet was twelve, was of marriagable age by virtue of
having a minor problem with precious bodily fluids, and was enamored
of the boy on the other side of the oxcart tracks. So? What's that
got to do with either:

A: Children being / not being perceived as different from adults, or

B: Children being / not being valued differently from adults?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

sarongsong
2007-Apr-04, 04:39 AM
...transferred her from the category "infant" to the category "adult"...No "child" category back then?

Gillianren
2007-Apr-04, 08:38 PM
Juliet had reached menarche. That transferred her from the category
"infant" to the category "adult". Many years ago my friend said that
she was considered at that age to be "an old maid", but I disagree
and don't know whether his comment accurately expressed what he
meant or if he was just using hyperbole for humorous effect. (But he
was likely quoting his high school English teacher. I forget the context
of the conversation.) Juliet wasn't an old maid, which means someone
who should have been married some time ago. She was simply of
marriagable age at that time, and may not have been so for long.

Okay, so Juliet was twelve, was of marriagable age by virtue of
having a minor problem with precious bodily fluids, and was enamored
of the boy on the other side of the oxcart tracks. So? What's that
got to do with either:

A: Children being / not being perceived as different from adults, or

B: Children being / not being valued differently from adults?

Well, until very, very recently (that ridiculous "tween" concept!), Juliet would have been considered a child by modern standards, yet there she was, not merely falling in love and being considered marriageable (though, quite right, nothing near an old maid!), but indeed coming up with some very clever plans to prevent herself from living the life her parents expected her to.

Here's another one--the word "nubile." Personally, I thought for years that it meant young and attractive. "Nubile young girls," and all that. It doesn't. It means, in fact, "marriageable."

I'll admit freely that I basically have lots and lots of little pieces of evidence; my largest, frankly, is that no one wrote about childhood as a special case until a couple of hundred years ago. However, there are an awful lot of examples of people who were very young holding positions of enormous responsibility or just holding adult jobs. The plural of anecdote is indeed not data. However, these hundreds of anecdotes that I can cite are all we have. There is no data, because no one of the time thought it worth discussing.

sarongsong
2007-Apr-05, 01:04 AM
...just a little bit of history...Bibliography of Childhood in Antiquity (http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/bibchild.html)

Delvo
2007-Apr-05, 02:34 AM
What those many examples you're thinking of add up to, though, isn't that there's no difference between childhood and adulthood in those cultures; it's just that the transition is defined as happening sooner in those cultures than in ours.

Josh
2007-Apr-05, 03:00 AM
On a slightly similar theme ... I was told yesterday that girls in single mother families develop - achieve maturity - more quickly than girls in families with a mother and father.

The upshot of this was that because the single mother is likely to have another man in the house (or more than one) over a period who is not related to the girl, pheromones etc lead the girl to "get ready" for procreation sooner.

Anyone heard about this? I'm struggling to find much on the net (for starters ... figuring out a relevant keyword search).

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-05, 03:11 AM
Anyone heard about this? I'm struggling to find much on the net (for starters ... figuring out a relevant keyword search).

I've heard of this. It might have nothing to do with pheromones and solely to do with stress levels. You'd also want to look at diet differences as single parent housholds tend to be poorer than two parent housholds which in modern society often means more fat in the diet There'd be a lot to untangle and I don't know if anyone's untangled it enough to reach any firm conclusions.

I'd like to see if the effect is seen in monkeys or other animals.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-05, 03:51 AM
My mother has been single most of my life, and to my knowledge, she's been on about three dates since my father died in 1983. I suppose, however, that we're not a typical single-mother household.

Delvo
2007-Apr-05, 04:21 AM
It might have nothing to do with pheromones and solely to do with stress levels. You'd also want to look at diet differences as single parent housholds tend to be poorer than two parent housholds which in modern society often means more fat in the diet...

I'd like to see if the effect is seen in monkeys or other animals.It even works in plants. Plants that are facing a health crisis like a disease or lack of water often start devoting a much larger fraction of their remaining resources to flowering and/or fruiting, as if worried that if they don't do it now they won't get a chance later. Gardeners' tricks to try to get a plant to make more or bigger flowers & fruits are often matters of torturing their plants to the brink of death or tricking them into thinking they're dying, just to cause this reaction.

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-05, 04:47 AM
It even works in plants. Plants that are facing a health crisis like a disease or lack of water often start devoting a much larger fraction of their remaining resources to flowering and/or fruiting, as if worried that if they don't do it now they won't get a chance later. Gardeners' tricks to try to get a plant to make more or bigger flowers & fruits are often matters of torturing their plants to the brink of death or tricking them into thinking they're dying, just to cause this reaction.

I never knew gardeners were such dastards.

So you are suggesting that it is stress that is having the effect?

SeanF
2007-Apr-05, 03:40 PM
I've heard of this. It might have nothing to do with pheromones and solely to do with stress levels. You'd also want to look at diet differences as single parent housholds tend to be poorer than two parent housholds which in modern society often means more fat in the diet There'd be a lot to untangle and I don't know if anyone's untangled it enough to reach any firm conclusions.
They should also look for a similar result among adopted girls, who would also be living with an unrelated male.

Ronald Brak
2007-Apr-05, 03:52 PM
They should also look for a similar result among adopted girls, who would also be living with an unrelated male.

Good suggestion. But if smell is playing a role, surely it would work via there being period of imprinting in which those who are in contact with the child during would be regarded as related?

We might also want to see if girls kept in all female situations such as nunneries or some boarding schools show delayed menarche. (And yeah, I know it's possible for exposure to male smells to occur in such situations. I'm just saying there might be less male smell exposure.)

Jeff Root
2007-Apr-06, 04:37 AM
...transferred her from the category "infant" to the category "adult"...
No "child" category back then?
I think that changes in the meaning of the term "infant"-- which
has been passed from one Latin-based language to another over
time-- are a large part of what we are debating here.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis