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Have kids always "grown up too fast"?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Sharron Report 2 Jul 2008 01:16

Grandfather started work at seven and his brother at nine.girls were out to service at twelve.
I think the age at which you could marry was raised to sixteen in something like 1921.

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 2 Jul 2008 00:39

Kate, I think it was a bit different then. The young nursemaid probably grew up in a large family and each child would help take care of the young siblings so learning as a matter of course. Same with the ploughboy, they helped in the fields and on the farms as they grew up so became able to do the work alone by a young age, and their families would need the money so they had to go to work instead of being eductated. It wasn't the way it is now, in that we go out to work after we have finished our education to whatever degree, and have to learn the job sort of from scratch.


Kate Report 2 Jul 2008 00:34

It isn't, is it (or, wasn't)? Especially when he probably had either some kind of hand plough or had to lead a horse-drawn one - it seems a lot of responsibility for a teenager (I suppose they had mood swings just like teenagers today do).

And with the young nursemaid - how could they be sure the girl could cope and wouldn't end up shaking the baby in frustration when it was 2am and it was screaming its head off?


NDD Report 2 Jul 2008 00:25

I found a ploughboy aged 13

not much of a childhood


Kate Report 2 Jul 2008 00:04

I just got to thinking, it is often put forward in the news that kids don't have a childhood any more - whether because they're drinking/smoking/having sex etc earlier and and earlier or because schools feel it appropriate to start teaching them about sex, contraception, drugs etc at very young ages.

But I just found a distant relative on the 1881 census and I started to think, it wasn't so long ago that children were presumably considered "adults" by employers etc. This girl I've come across was 14 in 1881 and working as a nursemaid - I thought there might have been another nanny or someone there but there is only a "general servant", so I can only guess that this girl, not much more than a child herself, was (for at least some of the day) in charge of the five children (aged 10, 8, 7, 4 and 2) of her employer. I wonder if she had any help or not?

Funny that people say childhood is being eroded now yet 100+ years ago teenagers had this sort of responsibility. I don't think I could have managed a group of children at that age, even if it was just bathing them and getting them to bed at night.