December 1972 | Volume 24, Issue 1
“What a sacred office is that of the parent!” exclaimed an anonymous contributor to The Parent’s Magazine in December, 1840. By 1915, he went on, the population of the United States should reach 156,000,000, and “what an influence when [the parent] may mould the character ofthat distant day and ofthat multitudinous population! … What destiny temporal and eternal awaits it depends upon parents now upon the stage. … An individual is now something; he is known and felt, and claims his influence and importance; then individuality will almost be lost when the greatest man is only one in one hundred and fifty-six million! ”
Need he have distressed himself? Even in a population of more than two hundred million, the average American feels himself to be “something” and “claims his influence and importance”—perhaps rather too much so at times. Just as the Parent’s contributor predicted, those mothers and fathers who were “upon the stage” in 1840 did indeed have a far-reaching influence. Hardly anyone remembers it now and it was scarcely apparent then, but the parents of that generation were the pioneers of permissive child rearing.
In our time the name of Dr. Benjamin Spock comes to mind when permissiveness is mentioned. But in fact, in the middle and late nineteenth century, there were dozens of writers on child care who could match him and several who wildly outdid him. The latter were at the farthest swing of a pendulum that had moved from an opposite extreme, the rigidity of Puritanism.
During the early years of the Republic, American children were still being brought up according to the Bible and John Calvin. The Bible left no doubt as to how to proceed :
“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”
”… a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
“The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”
And, best known and simplest, the no-nonsense message paraphrased from Solomon, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
In Calvin’s view a child was born evil. A parent’s most important duty was to break his will and thus bring him to realize what a loathsome little worm he. Parents who neglected to lead or push their children toward salvation would find themselves in a nasty situation on the Judgment Day. Child rearing, according to the Puritan tradition, was largely a religious concern.
”… they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies,” said the psalmist. There were parents who whipped nursing babies on the ground that the little wretches were thinking and acting lies, even though too young to enunciate them—plotting ways of getting, attention, for instance, by feigning hunger or pain. Lying was one of the worst of sins and practically guaranteed the liar an eternity spent in “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” One seven-year-old who told his father a lie in order to cover up a forbidden skating expedition pined away and died of remorse—even though he confessed the lie ten minutes after telling it and was corrected with the rod.
That awe-inspiring implement, the rod, was usually either a slender switch of birch or apple or a whalebone from Mamma’s stays. It was kept in a handy and conspicuous place, such as the mantelpiece. Theoretically, it would be seldom needed if the parents did an efficient job of subduing their children, preferably at the first sign of defiance. Mothers magazine about 1833 told of a sixteenmonth-old baby girl who was able to say “dear Mamma,” but one day declined to do so on command.
“Say ‘dear Mamma,’” insisted Dear Mamma.
“Won’t,” replied the child, and the battle was joined. For four hours the mother alternately whipped her daughter and shut her in the closet. At last “dear Mamma” was forthcoming and the Devil exorcised. Whether he ever attempted a comeback in this case is not recorded, but the Reverend Orange Clark proudly described an infant boy whose will had been broken at ten months. He was taught “never even to cry in his father’s presence,” and when he grew up his chief delight was in rendering his parents happy; their wish was his law. “Life to such a child is never a burden. … A parent’s will to him is paramount, and cheerfulness and happy industry crown his days.”
But if traditional child-rearing methods were still being followed in the early nineteenth century, change was abroad in the land. The Republic was young and rambunctious. It had achieved its independence not through submission and a broken will but through self-assertion- a lesson not lost on bright children, who were urged to be patriotic and to learn their country’s history. “In every home in our land, the altar of patriotism should stand beside the altar of religion,” intoned a writer on child care. “Mothers should teach the first lesson in history, in one word—Washington.”
In colonial times, when most men tilled the soil at home, it had been the fathers, not the mothers, who taught and disciplined their children. But with the progress of the new industrial age, fathers were likely to be away from home for ten or more hours a day, six days a week. They necessarily delegated the reins of child management to their wives, who were often young things in their teens or early twenties—eager and determined but woefully uncertain, and suspecting that the changing times required changed methods. In 1830 a mother looking for a book on child care would have found that the few that were available gave far more attention to physical care, manners, and salvation than to everyday problems of management. But not many years later the situation was entirely changed: a mother would scarcely have found time to read all the advice available. She could learn what to do if her little boy should bite the baby (bite him back); whether to tell a child to believe in ghosts (yes, because there are supernatural beings in the Bible and children must believe the Bible); how to handle questions about sex (use unintelligible terms). For good measure a mother might join a mothers’ club, usually supervised by a clergyman but not limited to religious discussions.
The young American mother threw herself into her new role as energenitically as her husband threw himself into his business. Her most important job was to produce sons who would become the nation’s leaders and some day say, like George Washington, “Home influence directed by pious mother is the source of my success.” As for the daughters, they were to become gentle, devout, pure, and accomplised—not much in domestic skills as in such pursuit as piano playing, embroidery, and reading Sir Walter Scott aloud and with expression. The old-fashioned domestic skills, such as spinning, weaving, and making candles, were no longer esteemed. Some mothers did not even teach their girls to cook and dust. In the first place it was now possible to buy many necessities readymade and to hire immigrant Irish girls to do the dirty work, and in the second the American middle class was slowly becoming infected by the Old World idea that ladies and gentlemen did not work with their hands. Better travel facilities now enabled rich Americans to visit England and the Continent, whence they were likely to return (as the New York diarist Philip Hone complained) full of “the foppery of foreign manners and the bad taste of antiAmericanism. ” Their less prosperous but upwardly mobile neighbors watched what they did and tried to imitate them.
Old-fashioned people railed against the bad influence of un-American notions. Mrs. Lydia Child, a New Englander of impeccable background, argued in The Mothers Book (1844) that daughters must be prepared to fill any station in life: ”… half our people are in a totally different situation from what might have been expected in their childhood.” In case a girl’s fate took her downward, she should be able to support herself; if she moved up, domestic efficiency should be no disgrace. Mrs. Child pointed out that Abigail Adams, “the admiration of European courts… knew how to make butter and cheese as well as any woman in Weymouth.” Foreign observers were almost always dismayed by American children, finding them precocious, noisy, and disrespectful of their elders. One of the more charitable critics, the German Francis J. Grund, thought that the phenomenon was caused by bad climate, long school hours (a boy between four and six years old was likely to spend six hours a day in school and three more doing homework), and the fact that American parents “are living altogether for their children.” Harriet Martineau also noted this devotion and added shrewdly that it was natural for children to occupy an important place in a country of enormous resources and small population.
Another cause of early precocity, just beginning to be apparent in the 1830’s and 40’s, was the decline of the father as teacher, model, and authority. Now that boys necessarily acquired skills and knowledge outside the home, they often picked up bits of new technology and science that the father had never heard of. No wonder (Grund said) that “from the earliest period of his life a young American is accustomed to rely upon himself as the principal artificer of his fortune” and exhibits “a certain untimely intelligence seldom found in Europe.”
Yet never before in history had there been children so worried over and thought about as those little Americans born in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Although the rod was prominently displayed on the mantel, and in many households did not gather dust, it was no longer used as a matter of course. There were doubts as to the desirability of breaking the will. Would not the child have need of one when he entered the great American race for success? As Catherine Sedgwick briskly pointed out in a book addressed to boys and girls, “You have a great responsibility as American children. It is not here as in the old world, where one man is born with a silver spoon, and another with a pewter one, in his mouth. You may all handle silver spoons, if you will.” Clearly a young person who was out to get his own silver spoon had better have work done on his character as well as on his soul.
Soul saving was not forgotten, but the new child-care books expatiated at length on character building. Two of the most widely read of these books were written by Congregationalist ministers who allowed their orthodoxy tobe tempered by compassion for children in this world. In The Mother at Home (1833) the Reverend John Abbott insisted on a child’s absolute obedience, exacted by the rod, if necessary; but at the same time he warned parents not to punish for accidents or ignorance, nor to find fault continually, nor to pepper the child with commands. If a whipping became inevitable, a mother should remain cool while making sure to inflict real pain. “It makes mother very unhappy to have to punish you,” she should say, adding, when the child appeared contrite, “Do you wish me to ask God to forgive you?”—for it must be clear that a parent acted as the Lord’s surrogate and that the only appeal was to Him.
Theodore Dwight, in The Father’s Book (1834) —despite the title, the book was also for mothers—showed sympathy and tenderness for small children, even while subscribing to the Calvinist doctrine that their natures are inherently evil (“The nature of man is ever running one way”). He enjoined parents to soothe and divert fretful little ones in order to head off confrontations. Fathers ought to ask themselves,” What is my business and ought it to engross me so as to make me a stranger to my children?” Further, he recognized that children should not be blamed or punished for behaving like children.
“Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight, Make me a child again just for tonight!” These are the opening lines of “Rock Me to Sleep,” one of the most popular poems of the nineteenth century. It was learned by heart, wept over, recited in elocution classes, and given at Christmas in a keepsake edition bound in blue and gold. Its author, Mrs. Elizabeth Akers Alien, was born in 1832, a member of the generation in which children began to assert themselves. If the response to “Rock Me to Sleep” is any criterion, the new methods must have engendered many happy childhoods. For example, Julian Hawthorne, in his autobiography, wrote that if angels had given him permission to choose his own fate, he would have answered, “Let me be the only son of Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia, born in Boston, Massachusetts, at 1 o’clock in the morning of June 22nd, in the year 1846” —which is just what he was. Lucy Larcom, born in 1824, was one of ten children of a family so poor that when the father died, the little girls had to go to work in the Lowell mills. Nevertheless, she remembers her childhood as a joyful one. “We were a neighborhood of large families, and most of us enjoyed the privilege of a little wholesome neglect. Our tether was a long one. …” And ”… the happiness of our lives was rooted in the stern, vigorous virtues of the people we lived among…. There was granite in their character and beliefs, but it was granite that could smile in the sunshine and clothe itself with flowers. We little ones felt the firm rock beneath us and were lifted up on it, to emulate their goodness and to share their aspirations.” (We, of the anxious, peripatetic twentieth century, have our own name for that kind of granite and sunshine: security.)
One could go on at length with these glimpses of satisfactory childhoods. Nevertheless, there were definite drawbacks to child life ofthat time, and most of us would find them hard to bear. Schools were stuffy and uncomfortable, the hours long, the masters handy with the rod. Children’s clothing inhibited play. Medications were horrid (for headache, leeches sucking blood at the back of the neck; for stomachache, a sticky paste of rhubarb and magnesia; for almost anything, castor oil). But worst of all, about a third of the children born did not live past the age of five. Tuberculosis took a terrible toll of adolescents and puerperal fever of mothers. This high mortality rate was nothing new, of course, but now the widening horizons of science and the decline of Puritanism made meek resignation more difficult. Infant damnation was becoming very unpopular.
But if there was a falling off in strict adherence to Calvinism, there was little or no slackening of outward religious observance. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” was as important a Commandment for most Americans as the seventh or the sixth. In most homes no work or play was permitted from sundown Saturday evening until Monday morning. There were church services for three hours on Sunday morning and three hours more in the afternoon. The close of the day brought family prayers, Bible reading, and hymn singing. “What can be more delightful on earth,” asked Theodore Dwight in The Father’s Book , “than the Sabbath in a family where every arrangement and practice has been established in conformity with the principles of the gospel?” Yet Dr. Dwight allowed a few un-Puritan laxities that no earlier clergymen would have countenanced. Hc thought that small children might be given a toy or two on the Sabbath and that since pews are uncomfortable for little people—their feet dangle—they might be allowed sometimes to stand up on the seat and look about. Kind parental looks and even a few sugarplums might also help them through the service. However, there could be no question of leaving them at home.
A Boston Brahmin lady, born in 1842, writes of a contented childhood—except for Sunday. “Sunday,” she states flatly, “was a dreadful day.” On the other hand, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, born some years earlier into the same milieu, remembers “mild” Sundays. His mother circumvented the prohibition of secular music on the Sabbath by decreeing that “all good music is sacred.” Higginson even notes in his memoirs a Sunday afternoon when he actually played ball behind the barn. Apparently, Mrs. Higginson did not subscribe to Mothers magazine; if she had, she might have been dismayed by the story of a condemned murderer who said, “When I was quite young, I had many stings of conscience, till one Sabbath I went into a neighbor’s cornfield and plucked three ears of corn and my mother boiled them for me . From that fatal hour my career of sin and impiety has been unbroken till it has at length brought me to the gallows.” Deploring the laxity of the times, Mothers went on to say that in the old days a child who played in church would find the minister stopping the sermon to bellow out his name and command him to report to the parsonage next day. But now (1833) ministers seemed to have lost their power to terrify. And if they preached the doctrine of infant damnation, the result was likely to be newly empty seats in the meetinghouse rather than new conversions.
There was no doubt that the sterner Protestant communions—the Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Methodists—were losing members to the Unitarians and Episcopalians. To the rescue, in 1842, came a Congregationalist minister named Horace Bushnell. He relieved the minds of thousands by pointing the way to reconciliation between the old beliefs and the new. In the book Christian Nurture Bushnell postulated that children are not born depraved but are “formless lumps” at birth, equally capable of good or of evil. If the parent gives proper guidance (“Christian nurture”), the child will grow and thrive in goodness. Religion should not be presented as a gloomy restraint but as “the friend of play.” Children should not be scolded for inattention in church, nor should they be “worried and drummed into apathy by dogmatic catechisms.” While parents “personate God in the child’s feelings and conscience,” they must be careful how they use their authority. If they are harsh and rejecting, the child will feel shut out from God.
Although Bushnell’s book was primarily intended to present a religious doctrine, it was filled with helpful hints on the daily management of children. Some of them seem to foretell modern psychology. Bushnell was the only writer of his day to suggest that children pass through developmental stages. An infant, he said, is at the “stage of impressions” ; the first three years are of more importance in character building than any “stage” that follows. The young absorb the faults and virtues of their parents, who must therefore make an enormous effort to be wise and self-controlled. While parents must not be harsh, neither must they be overprotective, for then the child will grow up lacking in self-confidence. The trick is to slowly let him go so that he will be able to stand on his own; not to break his will but to teach him to control it.
Bushnell’s superiors in the Congregational church were not ready for Christian Nurture . In fact, they found it so distressing that he withdrew it from circulation. But he went on preaching, and twenty years later, when his ideas no longer seemed radical, he revised and reissued the book and it became a best seller. By the time of his death in 1878 most clergymen and most child-care writers found Bushnell’s methods normal, if perhaps even a little oldfashioned.
By midcentury there had clearly been a revolution in child management, even though it took time for its impact to spread from the comparatively few parents who read books and magazines and were not afraid of new ideas. Some advice was reiterated for decades before it became common procedure. For example, we read again and again of the necessity for fresh air in the nursery; or of the inadvisability of securing a diaper with straight pins or (!) needles; or of the therapeutic benefits of allowing little girls to dress simply so that they might romp and play. America must have abounded with stuffy nurseries, pricked babies, and wan girls keeping their dresses clean.
During the latter half of the century the flood of childcare advice continued unabated, growing slowly more secular and more permissive. In this it reflected the mood of a middle-class America that had lost some of its old complacent rigidity and was changing its values. The shattering effects of the Civil War, the winning and closing of the West, the movement to the cities, the declining power of the Protestant ethic, the rise of great wealth and great poverty, and the dawning awareness that millions of fellow Americans did not share AngloSaxon middle-class traditions (the idea that they might not want to share them was still far distant)—all these factors combined against a rigid society. A mother’s impulse was to screen her little ones from this complicated world. Father would go out and cope with it, but it was too perplexing and sordid a place for mothers and children.
The self-appointed child experts still backed themselves up with scripture whenever appropriate, but now the favorite quotation was Saint Paul’s “Provoke not your children to wrath.” Some even advanced the theory that when Solomon had said, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” he had not meant that parents should actually lay hands on their children but that they should maintain discipline by wielding a symbolic rod. That might sound tricky, but if anyone could manage it, it would be “the gentle ruler,” the “force that is to the moral world what the steam-engine is to the physical,” she who is “one of God’s own vice-regents,” without whom “men cannot stir a step in life to purpose.” In other words, “the Christian mother—ah, in her what influences center! From her what perfumes breathe, what dews distil, what forces, still but mighty, ever emanate!” By the 1870’s there was a tacit understanding in most households that child management was the mother’s province, by right.
Gentle Measures in the Management of the Young (1871) went through many editions until the end of the century. Its author, Jacob Abbott, had enormous prestige with mothers because for years he had been turning out the wholesome, moralistic, and boring Rollo Books, as well as countless other stories and histories for the young. He was an ordained (but not practicing) minister, a schoolmaster, and the brother of John Abbott, who back in the thirties had written The Mother at Home . Abbott told the late-Victorian mother exactly what she wanted to hear : that hers was an exalted and difficult mission; that it was possible to be both gentle and authoritative at the same time; and that she need not feel guilty if she were, in certain areas, permissive. Children, said Abbott, ought to be given “the greatest freedom of action. … It seems to me that children are not generally indulged enough … as a general rule, the more that children are gratified in respect to their childish fancies and impulses and even their caprices when no evil or danger is to be apprehended, the better.” However, like good soldiers they must obey parental orders, “even when they know their way is better or as good.” The suggestion that a child might be capable of a better idea than his parents must have shocked oldtimers. About this time Emerson quoted a friend, a “witty physician,” as having remarked that “it was a misfortune to have been born when children were nothing, and to live till men were nothing.”
But the pendulum had still not swung all the way. Some of the child-care books of the eighties and nineties made Gentle Measures look old-fashioned, arbitrary, and even cruel. ”… abolish law or the appearance of law,” was the message of one Mrs. Mattie W. Trippe in Home Treatment for Children (1881). “Let [the child] revel in an absolute sense of freedom, feeling only the restraints of affection.” In the opinion of Mrs. F. McCready Harris in Plain Talks with Young Homemakers (1889) children should be permitted to slide down the banisters because they will probably do it anyway. “If you forbid them, in nine cases out of ten you teach them to deceive. Better coax them not to out of love and pity for you, who can not help feeling nervous, thus appealing to their chivalry; or… spread your pillows and blankets … and let them have a grand slide. Any trouble, any wear and tear of clothes and furniture, is better than risking our child being pushed to a lie.”
Chivalry was much on the minds of late-Victorian parents. They had been raised on Tennyson, after all, and were prone to give their children early English names, such as Arthur, Maude, Ethel, and Egbert. Making the Best of Our Children (1909), by Mary WoodAllen, demonstrated to mothers how chivalry might help build character. When little Franklin pushes his sister Lucy into the lake, their mother, Mrs. Dawson, says, “I’ve been wondering if we left my little Sir Arthur at home today.” Franklin argues that Lucy deserved what she got, since she tore his hat and threw it in the water. But Mrs. Dawson points out that the business of a true knight is to fight for the weak and to succor distressed damsels. (“Do you think Sir Arthur would have pushed a little girl into the water?”) Franklin at once becomes contrite, and when he sees his sister “shining in her clean attire,” he kisses her and begs forgiveness. No rod ever enters the picture; the Dawsons probably do not own one.
In The Science of Motherhood (1894) Mrs. Hannah Whitall Smith advised mothers to win their children to goodness —“don’t drive them.” If a boy pounds nails into the furniture, give him some blocks into which nails can be hammered; a little girl who cuts holes in the curtains or in her clothes should be supplied with colored paper to cut—and an explanation as to why. Mothers, give reasons—so that the child will learn to choose the right! Don’t nag, be polite, and use the word “don’t” as little as possible. “The will is one of the most sacred parts of our nature and should no more be broken than the main shaft of a steam-engine.”
Elizabeth Glover’s Children’s Wing (1889) is a denunciation of the well-to-do for shunting the young off among nurses and servants. “Sensitive, delicate, little born ladies and gentlemen,” she declared, “should not… keep uncultivated company. … Their fathers and mothers could not bear such companionship for an hour … the child is born with all the sensibilities of the class to which it belongs.” The author’s solution to the problem was not that mothers should stay at home and mind the children but that the children should be taken about and allowed at grown-up parties.
Probably not many children were indulged to the extent recommended in these books, but for the great majority of middle-class, native-born American children the norm was certainly a good deal of freedom, with family life providing an anchor and a sense of belonging. The world had not yet learned to thrust itself into families. Without TVS, radios, uncensored books and magazines, “R” movies, many telephones, and fast, easily available transportation, it was easy for parents to keep an eye on their children and still not seem oppressive. A child, said Kate Douglas Wiggin, the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm , “has a right to a genuine, free, serene, healthy, bread-and-butter childhood.” She thought the best place for the young was a farm, where they could pick blueberries and slide down haystacks and feed chickens. The life of a farm was one in which “the child can share, and in the sharing of which he is moved to a sense of his own responsibilities.” The less he had to do with adults and their concerns the better, lest he “miss his childhood.”
In his autobiography, The Age of Confidence , Henry Seidel Canby tells of growing up in the nineties as a member of a prosperous family in a small city. His parents, he tells us, had a laissez-faire attitude toward their children. “Parents were by no means indulgent, yet they seemed usually to be secretly leagued with us to give the child a chance in the house. They let him alone unless he was outrageous. … It was the grandparents you had to watch out for.” It was his opinion that homes of the nineties were happier than in the “previous generation,” because they offered “more give and take between parents and children, more liberty and more cheerfulness.” Mother was usually at home, meals appeared regularly, “our house moved with felt rhythms.” Sunday was more a day of the family than a day of religion. “The parents left religion to the Church and the Church left it to the service and the Bible.” (The Canbys attended the Episcopal church, although earlier generations had been Presbyterians and Quakers.) To attend church was a matter of course, but “there was a tacit understanding between the two younger generations that hellfire had been overdone, though of course no open acknowledgment. It seemed to be agreed that if we stuck to character, hellfire need not be expected.”
Other memoirs of the nineties show middle-class childhoods that, like Canby’s, were passed under a generally serene blue sky. Nevertheless, there were clouds moving in as far as children’s freedom was concerned, and the long Victorian children’s picnic was nearly over. The turn of the century was a time of reform and moral uplift; while Ida Tarbell attacked the trusts and Lincoln Steflens was muckraking among the big city bosses, a crusading doctor named L. Emmett Holt stormed into the nursery to straighten out the children, especially very young babies. Dr. Holt, whose Care and Feeding of Children went through fifteen editions between 1894 and 1934, was the dominant nursery mentor of the early twentieth century. There was a good deal of the Puritan in Dr. Holt, but he was a doctor of medicine, not divinity, and his chief interest was in physical welfare rather than spiritual. He decreed no more coddling of babies. They must be fully regimented by the age of three or four months, eating, sleeping, and answering calls of nature according to the clock. Early child-care writers had suggested that happiness came first and that it was unimportant whether the child was dressed by nine o’clock or went to bed at six. But none of those earlier writers had been trained physicians like Dr. Holt, whose enormous prestige with mothers was a measure of the rise of science. In millions of American homes infants objecting to their schedules were left to scream in their cribs. Dr. Holt said it was good for them: “It is the baby’s exercise.” He warned mothers against playing with their babies: not at all under six months, very little after that. Of kissing, the less the better. No baby might have a pacifier. Should he attempt to pacify himself by sucking his thumb, pasteboard splints must be applied to his elbows to prevent him from bending his arms, and at night his hands must be tied to his sides. Tots must understand that mealtime is not for fun and games. (Twenty years before, one of the unscientific experts had offered the advice “Make the breakfast table a playground.”) Mother must permit no amusement at this solemn occasion, nor any playing with food, and she must see to it that children eat what is given them. She was warned that if they get the notion that they can eat what they like, they will give trouble in other respects.
Despite the popularity of Dr. Holt, it is not likely that his advice was often followed to the letter. By the early i goo’s there were many new cultures established in our country, lessening the traditional force of Anglo-Saxon middle-class dicta. Anyway, the mothers belonging to that class, permissively raised themselves, often shrank from carrying out Dr. Holt’s instructions. Holt and other physicians of the period accomplished much for the physical well-being of their little patients. Under their guidance the early twentieth century brought much-needed reform in sanitation and important advances in the field of obstetrics. Pediatrics at last became a recognized branch of medicine, and infant mortality declined spectacularly. Science entered the nursery (Holt would be followed by behaviorists, nutritionists, and Freud), and the concept of laissez-faire went out. As a matter of fact, it went out so completely that when in 1940 Dr. Spock brought it back in another form, people gave him the credit or blame for inventing it. Plus ça change . …