Global Issues Concerning Children:
-Children and childhood have universal characteristics.
-Adults need to take care of children.
-Childhood can be governed at a global level.
-The global level shapes childhood at a local level.
-Family, school, and work also shape children.
What do children need? Safety, Nurturance, Access to nutritious foods and clean
water, Exploration of social and physical environment.
Levels of Influence:
-The individual child.
-Residential and relational community.
-Programmes and services.
-Regional and National.
The Individual Child:
-Nutrition (Starvation, Malnutrition)
-Play (With adult, peers, environment, and alone)
-Social Resources: Relationships, Parenting Skills, Education, and Cultural Practice.
-Economic Resources: Disposable Income, Occupation, and Housing Condition.
-Primary ‘social’ influence through attachment.
-Secure attachment as a building block for social and physical exploration.
-Exploration leads to self-confidence which leads to more explorations.
-Factors that impact mother and child to develop secure attachments: maternal
depression, low birth weight, malnutrition, infection, war, domestic violence, poverty,
physical and mental disability.
-Mental and Physical Health: addiction, violence, depression, chronic illness, physical
handicap, acute stress, and HIV.
-The role of the father in nurturing the child.
-Maternal education and gender inequality
-Quality in family dwelling.
-Social support/isolation. Residential:
-Space (eg. Urban vs. rural landscape)
-Physical structure (condition of building, presence of parks)
-Geography (isolated land and remote places)
-Access to services (childcare, hospitals, schools, professional services)
-Physical exposure (toxins, air pollutants, water quality, noise)
-Social capital (extent to which people help each other and are linked to one another)
Programmes and Services:
-Access to early childhood education.
-Access to competent child care.
-Holistic early childhood practice (literacy/numeracy, socio-emotional/cognitive,
physical health/immunization, and nutrition/life style)
-Focus on children and their support network.
-Structure: staff training, expertise, class size, child-staff ratio, safety, and resources.
-Process: staff stability, work atmosphere, relationship between provider and
-Nurturance: gender equality, mentoring, encouragement, safety, exploration, richness
of stimulation, and cultural sensitivity.
-Sense of ownership and community involvement.
-Special programs for specific needs of children.
-Resource rich nations can influence early childhood development polices of resource
- Structural Adjustment Programmes: Promotes privatization and reduction of
government role in social welfare, and Ghana’s GDP improved, inflated reduced, but
socio-economic inequalities increases and children’s welfare worsened.
-International conventions promote rights of the children globally.
-“It is a particular type of international integration” Noam Chomsky.
How is globalization affecting children in Canada and around the world?
-Universalization of stages of development (eg. Definition of “preschool” age)
-Social marketing (children of the South as poor and unhappy) -Parenting practice
-Children’s play and tradition
Scientific Approach: Generation of facts by testing hypothesis through experimental and
Social Construction: Discusses different ideas about childhood as the function of
different ideologies dependent on culture and social values. Can provide the conceptual
framework for interpretation of scientific results. An extreme take on social
reconstruction is that nothing is “objective” but rather the product of “human meaning-
Applied: Practical issues, treatment of children, their needs and rights, responsibilities of
parents, professionals and institutions. It asks what influence social policy, law, and
services, and it examines how scientific evidence is used to inform how to treat children
and what kind of services to offer them.
Discourse of Childhood:
Romantic Discourse: Children are innocent and inherently good natured. We must
support and nurture them and protect their innocence. Jean-Jacque Rousseau.
Puritan Discourse: Children are inherently uncivilized and immoral. We must teach them
what’s right and wrong through control and discipline. Thomas Hobbes.
Tabula Rasa Discourse: Children are born neither good nor bad, and what they become
is the result of experiment. John Lock
The Welfare Model: While it sees that children can be criminally responsible, it
advocates for treatment of young offenders that is different from that of adult.
The Justice Model: It recognises that children can be criminally responsible and must be
accordingly and not differently from how adults are treated.
History of Childhood:
Social Constructionists argue that the way we think about children is influenced by
income, gender, ethnicity, political systems, educational systems, and family value.
Discourse of Childhood:
- “Discourse” is the term used by social constructionists to describe a set of ideas that
reflect and ideology or value system
-These ideas reflect socio-political and historical context.
-These set of ideas influence outcomes of child development.
-Changes with changes in time and place.
-Children as well as adults have ideas on what childhood is.
-Discourse of childhood may be different for children and adults from the same family. Why is the question “when does childhood begin” important?
-Determines when assign value to life of children.
-Determines practices and rituals.
-Determines ethic principles at a societal level.
When does childhood begin?
Christians/Catholics: Life begins at conception
Islam: Life begins when the soul meets the body (40 days after conception)
UK law: Life begins at birth.
China/Vietnam: Life begins when a child is assigned a name
Japan: Children are an extension of their mother’s life.
Twins: are not human because humans, unlike animals, have one child at a time:
selective infanticide in some Brazilian and African cultures.
French historian, pioneered the idea of social construction, children are depicted as
small adults until 1500’s, because of the high infant mortality of the Middle Ages adults
were indifferent to children until the age of 7.
Ariès argues that:
The social constructions of childhood have changed over time, and that child-rearing
practices have changed as a consequence.
Children were no distinct from adults in the Middle Ages
By the 1500’s, the idea of childhood as a different stage from adulthood emerged.
Childhood is an “invention” of the church and the elite to teach the masses to control
children who were not considered separate from their parents and full individuals until
Ariès critics argue that:
Ariès interpretations of social construction of childhood through painting analysis: 1. Is
not representative of the SES spectrum. 2. Is biased because paintings were
commissioned by the church. 3. Is incorrect because it is not true that children were
treated with indifference in the Middle Ages.
Historical Approaches to Child Labour:
Historians have addressed child labour using two approaches:
Define the extent of the problem using historical census data.
Analysis of specific economic sectors and their reasons for employing children
Analysis of child labour has sparked fierce debate on: The moral values of child labour
and conditions under which children worked.
Regulations of Child Labour: By mid 1800’s, reforms to regulate child labour were introduced in England, and the
“half-time system” was promoted.
By 1880’s, most western countries had adopted some child labour laws.
By the end of the 1800’s, full time schooling was introduced in Europe and other
Regulation of Child Labour in Canada:
Early 1900’s child labour legislations were introduced.
Legislations regulating working conditions of children and were not related to schooling.
-Forbid from working at night
-Determined minimum wage of employment
-Limited children from working more than 10 hours a day, and no more than 60 hours a
Until 1933, in many provinces children were allowed to work and not go to school if
they need to do so for survival.
The Decline of Child Labour:
Increases in family wealth
Countries are exposed to different ways in which children are treated. (Japan)
Enlightenment influences changes in the value of education and compulsory education
International initiatives are set in motion to regulate global marketing.
The Useful-Useless Debate:
Schooling in Canada:
Interest in public education grew on the second half of the 1800’s.
Well-off farmers, lawyers, and other professionals promoted public schooling to the
advantages of the poor.
Politicians though school would increase a sense of citizenship and loyalty to the
Prominent Canadians saw the economic developments in the US and attributed them to
Large families in rural communities saw schooling as a future alternative to farming
since land was scarce.
In 1871, Ontario introduced legislation to render school compulsory; other provinces in
School legislation prohibited employers from employing children during school hours. However, for a long time exceptions were made for children living more than 2-3 miles
from the school or children providing and employment certificate.
Exemptions were eliminated in 1970.
14-15 year olds who were employed were required to attend part-time evening school
only if that was available nearby.
Children in the Family Economy:
With increasing wages, older children were able to save more money for themselves.
Teenage consumer market began in the early 1900’s, and took off in the 1950’s.
It is unclear what happened that changed dramatically children’s expectations of
economic contribution to the family. Some possible contributors are: Wage raising,
raising economy, maternal employment, and advertising targeting children.
Concepts of childhood changes dramatically over the 1900’s.
Mostly changes are about when childhood might end.
Raising of the school-leaving age has prolonged childhood.
Prolonged childhood has helped keep unemployment down.
Stanley Hall in the early 1900’s is the “father” of adolescence.
Poverty and Social Inequality:
Absolute Poverty: When a family cannot buy or use what is considered the minimum
necessity (goods and services) for a given country.
Relative Poverty: When a family has significantly less than the rest of the fellow citizen.
Social Inequality: When a certain sector of the population have less access to
fundamental resources. (Food, health, education) than others.
Low-Income Cut Offs: Families that spend 55% or more on food, shelter, and clothing;
this measure is adjusted according to family and community size.
Low-Income Measure: 50% of the median income.
Low-Income Gap: It measures how poor people are, that is, how much income they
would need to reach Low-Income Cut Offs or Low-Income Measure.
Despite the growing world economy of the 1990’s the poor in Canada have been getting
The gap between the poor and the wealthy is widened (the same is happening between
countries and within countries around the globe)
In Canada, the average income for the poor has increased about 18% between 1994 and
The average income for the wealthy has increased about 31% in the same time period. This indicates an increase in social inequality both in Canada and around the world,
despite the global growth in economy.
Risk of Poverty:
One of the worse consequences of child poverty at a social level is for poor to grow up
into poor adults.
Income assistance and welfare programs may be harmful to low income families
because they are incompatible of saving.
Children in poverty are helped by parental support and high quality childcare.
Children from poor neighbourhoods benefit from the presence of social support and
Changes in “Extreme Poverty”:
Most of the worlds extreme poor do not live in the world’s poorest countries.
That wasn’t true 20 years ago. In 1990, about 90% of the world’s poor lived in “low-
income countries”, where average incomes were close to the income of the poor.
Today, 80% of the world’s poor live in “middle class countries”
Poverty and social inequality are increasingly less ‘international’ and more ‘within
Social capital may buffer the effects of the poor health at a community, regional, or
What is Social Capital?
-Entities that link individual’s together (Church, local societies, volunteer groups)
-These are easily measured by counting these entities in any given neighbourhood.
-The percentage of people who participate in these groups is also a measured of social
-It can be measured asking people their level of trust in neighbours, civic identity, and
sense of belonging.
-Strong norms, loyalty, and exclusively towards the members of a group (Family, close-
knit, migrant groups, support groups)
-Weaker ties between groups of people, more fragile (social networks)
-Links different groups of people in society.
-Thought to be more positive than bonding since it brings different groups together to
form a community. Horizontal:
-It links people from the same social strata.
-The degree of integration of groups from different strata in a hierarchical society.
Social Capital and Poverty:
Poverty is characterized by lack of structural resources (Libraries, community centre,
Living in poverty often means being in unsafe environment which promotes isolation
rather than aggregation.
Poverty erodes the ability of people to associate and provide emotional and
Volunteerism is a powerful means to social
Is a type of structural, bridging, and vertical social capital.
It is an essential component of healthy and successful societies.
It is known to benefit the volunteers as much as the recipients of volunteerism.
Most NGO’s, churches, self-help groups, exists thanks to the work of volunteers.
Adverse Childhood Experiences:
Christchurch Human Development Study:
-Has followed the health, education, and life progress of a group of 1,265 children born
in Christchurch (New Zealand) urban region during mid 1977.
-This cohort has now been studies from infancy into childhood, adolescence, and
-Approx. 400 articles and reports to date.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study:
-Researchers collaborating with an HMO in the US.
-Access to the records of 13,949 adults who had completed a standardized medical
-Questionnaire about adverse childhood experiences – 70.5% response rate.
Adverse Childhood Experience Pyramid:
Level 1: Adverse Childhood Experience
Level 2: Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Impairment
Level 3: Adoption of Health Risk Behaviour
Level 4: Disease, Disability, and Social Problems
Level 5: Early Death
Intervention at any stage will prevent the upcoming stages from occurring. Brent Benzo’s Lecture: Holodomor Genocide:
National aspirations were developing in Ukraine. Separation would have precipitated
the fall of the Soviet Union.
Stalin’s desire to destroy the Ukraine nation was exacerbated by his documented phobia
7-10 Ukrainians perished.
Genocide by starvation.
Interview questions – experience, opinions/values, feeling questions
Snowballing technique – by word of mouth, no ads.
First Generation: Survived genocide, 15 participants, average age 87.
Second Generation: Adult children, 15 participants, average age 58.
Third Generation: Adult grandchildren, 15 participants, average age 30.
Fear to Take Action, Indifference to Others, Hoarding/Stockpiling of Food Supplies.
Intergenerational Transmissions of this Trauma:
-Living in survival mode.
-Not enjoying life.
-Just struggling to get through life.
-Is a cycle that continues through generations.
Children Living in Indigenous Societies:
Incredible Diversity In Canada:
-Status/Registration First Nations (Registered under the Indian Act)
-Data by ethnicity from the 2011 Census hasn’t been released yet.
-In the 2006 Census, 1,172,790 people identified themselves as an Aboriginal person.
-A very young, and quickly growing population. (median age 27) Professor Hicks Research:
My hypothesis is that the rapid rise in the rate of suicidal behaviour by Inuit youth is in
large part the result of a higher rate of ‘adverse childhood experiences’ after the
beginning of ‘active colonialism’ by states vis-à-vis their Inuit populations, in addition to
some amount of ‘base rate’ suicidal behaviour.
I also hypothesize that the impacts of ‘active colonialism’ are mediated into suicidal
behaviour by conventional pathways (i.e. essentially the same ‘risk factors’ seen
elsewhere in the world). This has crucial implications for suicide prevention.
The rapid rise in the rate of suicidal behaviour by Inuit youth is an expression of ‘social
Kleinman et al suggested in their 1997 book Social suffering that “Social suffering results
from what political, economic and institutional power does to people and, reciprocally,
from how these forms of power themselves influence responses to social problems.”
But how are we to understand the persistence of social suffering in situations where
aboriginal people (e.g. Inuit) exercise considerable say in the operation of sub-state
political structures (e.g. Nunavut)?
Nunavut – and the Government of Nunavut (GN) – came into being on April 1, 1999.
In the 13 years since then, the GN has failed to take concerted suicide prevention
measures such as those which the evidence base suggests has made some degree of
difference in other jurisdictions.
We can no longer ask ‘Why is the rate of suicide among Inuit in Nunavut so high’
without factoring in the GN’s failure to implement evidence-based suicide prevention
Why has the GN failed to implement evidence-based suicide prevention measures?
-In part, this failure may reflect the intensity of the suicide-related trauma that Inuit
society has experienc