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Ancestors: The Loving Family in Old Europe

May 12, 2011

Kevin DeYoung on parenting:

In addition to reading good new books on parenting, it can be worthwhile to read history too. To that end, some may be interested in reading a short book by Steven Ozment, Ancestors: The Loving Family in Old Europe. It’s always interesting to see what was very different: the harsh corporal punishment, the seen-and-not-heard approach to child-rearing, the penchant in some societies for sending kids off to another city at an early age.

But it’s also fascinating to see what hasn’t changed. For example, Ozment includes several letters of parental advice from Old Europe that sound remarkably contemporary. He also lists popular group games from the 16th century, familiar fare like ball, ring-around-the-roses, hide-and-go-seek, chase, thieves and sheriffs, musical chairs, and freeze. Ozment also debunks several myths about the families of yesteryear, myths like: women were perpetually unhappy with their lot in life, children were unloved, no one tried birth control, and teenagers didn’t rebel.

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From → History, Parenting

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