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Family Life in the 1940s
Transcript of Family Life in the 1940s
Teenager Family Life in the 1940s
By: Laila, Nicole, Jake and Deborah
In the 1940s, the teenagers were expected to go to school and succeed. The parents wanted their children to be well-educated so that they could be exposed to greater job opportunities. The parents were trying to encourage schooling as a top priority, instead of the war being the top priority. They scorned dropping out of school telling them that they are "not going to be able to learn later if [they're] malnourished when [they're] young. If [they] drop out of school, [they're] not going to go back," (Fine 1). College graduation was stressed not only to soldiers coming back from war, but also to the children growing up in a post-WW2 era.
Before the 1940s, the war caused many parents to parent in a cold, analytical way in order to prepare their children to live in the prospect of the imminent WW2. However, this changed when the war ended and parents began to parent more wholesomely, treating their children more as people than political or social experiments. Catriona Wrottesley discusses how Dr. Benjamin Spock, a leading child-development expert, taught parents to relax their post-war parenting styles telling them that "the baby was to be respected, cuddled, fed when hungry, instead of kept disciplined, germ-free and fed by the clock," (Wrottesley 1). In the 40s, these babies were teenagers and were not treated as potential soldiers like the teens in the WW2 era. They were allowed to pursue careers in art, music and other non-war related professions.
After the war, rigid gender roles were put back in place. During the war, women were allowed a more masculine role when their husbands were overseas, however, after wards,"post-war Americans saw feminine, stay-at-home moms cleaning, cooking, and taking care of children while masculine dads left home early and returned late each weekday, tending to their designated roles as lawnmowers and backyard BBQers on the weekend," (Samels 1). This example provided by the parents of this post-war era gave the teenagers of the '40s a social standard in which to model themselves after or to rebel against.
Fine, Sean. "One million children in poverty Families feeling increased financial pinch, Statistics Canada reports." Globe and Mail n.pag. Proquest. Web. 19 Feb 2014. <http://search.proquest.com/docview/385488497/2F235F6599CD40D1PQ/3?accountid=2303>.
Wrottesley, Catriona. "Dr. Benjamin Spock." Scotsman (1998): n.pag. Proquest. Web. 19 Feb 2014. <http://search.proquest.com/docview/326669753/12A671418836403FPQ/2?accountid=2303>.
Goodwin, Sue. "1940-1949." American Cultural History. Lone Star College-Kingwood Library, 1999. Web. 7 Feb. 2011.
Gender-roles in the Family
Samels, Mark. "Women and Work After World War Two." American Experience. PBS. Web. 19 Feb 2014. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/tupperware-work/>.
The '40s provided an opportunity for the teenagers to take on a larger responsibility through contributing to their family in various ways, the most prominent way being through their presence in work force. During the war "teenagers became a recognized force in the forties. With the men off to war, teenagers - boys and girls - found employment readily available, and so had money to spend," (Goodwin 1). This influenced '40s teens by putting more pressure and higher expectations on them.