Childhood and adolescence as essential stages of life

Childhood and adolescence as essential stages of life
1762. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book ‘Emilie ou de l’education’ Geneva. The picture is from the article Jean-Jacques Rousseau1762. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book ‘Emilie ou de l’education’ Geneva. The picture is from the article 'Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Respeto a la vida natural, la libertad y las diferencias individuales' ('Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Respect for natural life, liberty and individual differences') by Enrique Martínez-Salanova Sánchez in the Portal de la Educomunicación

Childhood and adolescence as essential stages of life

The picture is from the article Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Respeto a la vida natural, la libertad y las diferencias individuales (Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Respect for natural life, liberty and individual differences) by Enrique Martínez-Salanova Sánchez in the Portal de la Educomunicación. It is not easy to reach a conclusion about the social role played by childhood and adolescence at different moments in history, as there is certain controversy among authors. Thus, while Ariés, in Centuries of Childhood published in1960, believed that the concept of childhood did not exist, De Mause asserted in 1974, in The History of Childhood, that adults had reacted historically to boys, girls and adolescents in different ways. However, there is enough evidence to affirm that between the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th, and thanks to the work of moralists and teachers of the period, we witness the social construction of a new concept of childhood and, some years later, in the mid-18th century, of adolescence. This new conception of childhood and adolescence as essential stages of development, with specific needs for care and protection and during which a series of basic learning is necessary to allow later social integration, was developed and broadened during the 19th century. It culminated in the 20th century, which has been called the century of the child. Explicit recognition of both these concepts can be found in Rousseau’s work, whose book Emilie ou de l’education, published in 1762, draws attention to the importance of education as it is thanks to education that the specific needs of boys and girls are met from birth until they become judicious.