the erratic conception of childhood

2607 Words11 Pages
The Erratic Concept of Childhood The theories and perceptions of when exactly childhood begins and ends has differed hugely over the centuries, with ‘inventions and reinventions’ of childhood haveing a profound effect on the lives and situation of young people all throughout history. But how and why have these theories and perceptions changed are all part of the bigger picture, with society today quickly letting childhood pass by; without its importance being realised. Before you can grasp the concept of childhood, it is vital to grasp ‘the child’, what a child is and what it means to be a child. Before I started this course ‘the child’ was a concept I clearly understood; how wrong I was. The more I studied the further I seemed to get from the answer; yet the answer is achievable. To gain my definition I looked firstly at The Oxford English Dictionary, which defines the child as -“A young person of either sex below the age of puberty; a boy or girl”, this being a very vague, imprecise and general definition, leading to further questions; when does puberty start and so forth. So then looking at the legal definition and I found as with most important areas in the legal system there is no up to date straight forward definition of a child (like the definition of murder). Strangely there is no single law that defines the age of a child across the UK with specific age limits being set out in the legislation relating to different areas of policy. With the UK being an island it is continuously being pulled by the gravitational pull of Europe, thus bringing into play The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) , which states, “A child is every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” (Article 1 (adopted by the UN in 1989 and ratified meaning we agreed to it the
Open Document