The Emotional and Feeling Parent
This chapter traces ideas about parental love and those emotions related to it: anxiety, grief, and distress. Affection was always an expected feature of parenting, but its scriptural ties were loosened in the eighteenth century to prioritise intimacy and closeness. Parents were expected to be tender, a method of parenting considered to shape the minds and tempers of offspring to produce wise and happy adults. Sensibility demanded tenderness from fathers as much as from mothers. Anxiety was also closely associated with parenting, and though not a shameful emotion was to be controlled. Parental grief was all too common and expressed through the twin discourses of Christianity and sensibility. Finally the chapter discusses how distress was associated with poor parents, indicating the family worthy of benevolence. It suggests that pauper parents strategically used this vocabulary in requests for relief.
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