Current Attitudes Towards Child Rearing

1664 Words7 Pages
Our modern, first world reaction to hearing that children are involved in combat usually bring our thoughts to child soldiers in Africa or children caught up in fighting in the Middle East. When photographs of children in civil war uniforms are seen, we might automatically assume it was done in jest, and no such service was ever performed by children. If we assumed this, we would be wrong. While 18 years was the official age for a combat position, many underage soldiers or supposedly “non-combat” musicians were otherwise in the middle of battle during the American Civil War. One estimation has that 20% of the conflict participants were under 18. This is not surprising as nearly half the population of the country at the time was…show more content…
Popular media sparked the imaginations of children. In the periodical magazine “Our Young Folks” stories could be found of children enlisting in the ranks of the military, and personally encountering the immoral behavior of the enemy, as the child-hero in the story fought the good fight. Songs like “Southern Wagon” encouraged all to join. Modern parents cannot fail to notice the effects the current YouTube fad has upon our children. We watch them copy the dance, the attitude or the mode of dress ascribed by the music video. Music is a great motivator for certain behaviors, true then as it is now. Reasons why the children joined the military varied. Some were caught up in the romantic excitement of war. Others were influenced by family. They joined the military to escape, or to follow family members into battle. In the case of 15 year old Elisha Stockwell, he suffered the public humiliation of this father’s disapproval of his enlistment. He was dressed down by his sister when she called him a “Snotty little boy”. He had the need to prove himself to others and to himself as well. 18 years old was the minimum age for combat positions, but this rule did not stop underage children from enrolling. Boys would lie about their age, lie about parental consent, gain authentic consent or simply find a willing adult to help them, as Stockwell did
Open Document