Parenting in Ancient Civilizations

I'm sure you've all heard your parents tell you how they walked to school in the snow, uphill, both ways, but how has parenting changed through the ages?

John Farrier wrote a very interesting post over at NeatoBambino about the parenting customs and techniques of 5 ancient civilizations. Here's what it was like in ancient Rome:

In theory, under the law and principle of patria potestas — the power of the father — the male head of household held absolute power over his children. He could discipline them as he wished, or even kill them or sell them into slavery. In practice, however, there were many formal and informal limitations to this practice. Exposure at birth was common for unwanted children — provided that it was the father who made the decision — although this infanticide was legally considered murder during the last centuries of the western empire. Valued children were given a bulla or bag of magical charms worn around the neck to protect them from harm.

Childhood lasted until about thirteen for girls, when they were married off, or fourteen for boys, when their medallion of childhood was replaced with the toga of adulthood. Girls were educated in domestic skills at home, and sufficiently wealthy boys attended local schools. Discipline could be harsh, but many Romans realized that the rod was counterproductive.


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