Friday, September 13, 2013

Reflection: Child Labor and The Social Construction of Childhood

It became clear to me, when reading this article, the many differences in cultures across the world and the changes that have happened in American culture. This article shows how normal it was for American children to work at young ages and help to support their families. It produced the idea that children are responsible to help their families and contribute. Now, it is horrific to even assume that a child should be required to work and support their family. I personally, began to think about my family and the values that have been instilled in me. My mother's family is from Cape Verde and generations of our family were hardworking people who worked to help their families (young or not). My mother had a high school education and was a very hard worker. Even when she wasn't working a job she was a hard worker around the house and she felt that when my sister and I were old enough, we should find a job and help out if necessary. My father's side of the family were hard workers too, but felt as though our jobs should be our educations. 

I believe that the pictures of the young workers (in factories and performing hard labor) are overboard, but I tend to agree with the article when they say that babysitting and paper routes can build character in children and teach responsibility. I know that when I watched my mother struggle once we were separated from my dad, I began to look for work and I was 16 years old. So while I would never allow my child to feel that they are responsible for supporting themselves or my family, I think it would teach them necessary lessons about helping their family, and working hard to be successful, if they had a job. Also it teaches money management, time management, and so many other skills they will need to survive in the world. 

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