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In 1991, the leading historian of emotions, Peter N. Stearns, published an essay together with Timothy Haggerty in the American Historical Review, entitled "The Role of Fear: Transitions in American Emotional Standards for Children, 1850-1950." The authors discuss the transition of fear from an emotion to be surmounted and not to be instilled in a child to fear as a normal aspect of a child's inner life: unpleasant, better avoided, but manageable. This transition was accompanied by an overall intensification of concern about fear especially since the 1920s. Using advice manuals directed to middle-class parents and children's fiction as sources, they draw the conclusion that both the emotional life of the American child and emotional standards have changed. To explain the transition the authors point to a related set of causes, leading to a more intimate relationship between parents and children. The psychological theory behind the popular advice manuals as well as the cultural imagination presented in childre n's fiction were remarkably well in tune with these social processes. Inspired by the claim of some historians that, by the twentieth century, as a result of a long term process fear for the external world was replaced by fears coming from within the individual psyche, the authors suggest that the changes they discuss may "fit into a larger Western transformation in which nineteenth-century confidence yielded to twentieth century Angst even in the cozy confines of the American middle class." [1]

Following Stearns and Haggerty, I also consider fear not just an intrinsic human response to certain stimuli, but a cultural construct. Therefore, changes in the standards for fear, including those recommended for children and for adults dealing with children, are not only open to change but may be considered a reflection of deep-seated variations from one culture to the next. Prompted by the suggestion that their findings might be an indication of a more general transformation in Western culture, I will put the authors' interpretation to the test of comparison. In this essay I analyse the changes in standards for children's fear and for ways of handling it in Dutch parental guidance literature from the same period. As in the United States this prescriptive material represents middle-class emotional standards rather than those prevailing among the lower classes, who were included among the consumers of this literature only after the 1950s. The main evidence is derived from 299 domestic advice manuals and two popular parental guidance magazines. [2] Psychological and philosophical studies that inspired the advisors were used as well. My sources do not include children's fiction or other kinds of literature aimed directly at children. Therefore, I do not go into children's actual experiences of fear which, according to Steams and Haggerty, are mirrored in their reading material. In other words, I focus on the 'emotionology' of childhood fear. [3]

To clarify the conditions of the comparison I first give an outline of Dutch social and cultural history, focusing especially on those processes mentioned by Stearns and Haggerty as determinants of the transition of fear from an avoidable and relatively umimportant emotion to fear as a normal aspect of the American child's mental life: the reduction of the family size, urbanization, and secularization, especially during the first decades of this century. Next, I discuss fear as subject of the late nineteenth-century, the early twentieth-century, and the post-1920 Dutch parental guidance literature, comparing the discourses with the American counterparts. Finally, I draw the conclusion whether or not the Dutch case confirms the hypothesis of a larger Western pattern of normalization of fear in children's lives.

The Netherlands and modernization

Between 1850 and 1950 the Netherlands went through a process of modernization in which industrialization manifested itself relatively late, toward the end of the nineteenth century, and urbanization was relatively unimportant. The country had been urbanized to significant degree ever since the sixteenth century. About 180035 percent of the Dutch population lived in towns, while in the coastal province of Holland this figure had reached 59 percent. [4] After a period of stagnation a renewed economic revival caused urbanization to reach as high as 70 percent by 1910. [5] Commerce, the perennial backbone of the Dutch economy, no less than industry accounted for this accumulation of people. Between 1860 and 1930 their respective shares of the total working population grew from 36 and 26 percent to 43 and 36 percent. During the same period the agrarian sector was further reduced from 38 to only 21 percent of the labour force. [6]

In contrast to the relatively modem, urbanized and therefore bourgeois character of the mid-nineteenth century Dutch society, the next period shows a different picture. During the latter half of the 19th century religious revival movements, both orthodox Calvinist and Roman Catholic, initiated a process of social and cultural differentiation within civil society called "pillarization" (verzuiling). Integration into what was around 1900 rapidly turning into a democratic national state went along separate lines. Each denomination created its own political, social and cultural community. Not only modem political parties and trade unions, but also schooling and youth organizations were organized along religious lines. One of the consequences was a relatively strong cultural impact of the churches and their doctrines. [7]

This ecclesiastical influence expressed itself for example in a relatively high birth rate. Like in other Western countries this rate continued to fall since the 1880s, but in contrast to other countries it did not fall so quickly. Between 1910 and 1970 marriage fertility continued to be higher than in neigbouring countries, especially Germany, France and Great Britain. [8] However, it is not so much this fact that is of interest here but differences in fertility. Roman Catholics, a 35 percent minority of the Dutch population at the beginning of the twentieth century, showed a typical front line mentality by producing more children than Protestants did. Orthodox Calvinists were the second best producers of large families; they were successful in defending their modest 9 percent share of the population. [9] Especially during the interwar period, which is considered the climax of pillarization in Dutch society and culture, the differences in fertility were significant. While Roman Catholic and orthodox Calvini st women, married during the 1920s, gave birth to on average 5.3 and 4.8 children, liberal Protestants had no more than 3.5 and the small group of non-denominationals [10] only 2.8, a discrepancy which cannot be explained by overrepresentation of confessional groups among the more traditional agrarian population. [11]

Summing up the consequences of this brief excursion into the social and demographic history of the Netherlands, we may conclude that those processes that are held responsible for the transition of fear--both as a reality and as an emotional standard--in the lives of American children do not apply to the Netherlands. Neither urbanization nor secularization manifested itself on a significant scale, at least not during the early decades of the twentieth century. By then urbanization had almost reached its late twentieth-century level and secularization gained momentum only at the end of the 1960s. [12] In contrast to other West-European countries, the size of Dutch families was declining only in the more liberal sections of society. Dutch Roman Catholics and orthodox Calvinists obeyed the ecclesiastical prohibition of birth control and the quickly falling infant mortality rate did nor discriminate between denominations. As a consequence the average size of Roman Catholic and orthodox Calvinist families was risi ng. In these segments of the population extremely large families with six to ten children were quite common indeed between the 1920s and the 1960s. [13] This raises the question whether the normalization of fear reached these parts of Dutch society at all before the 1950s. The answer will be crucial. In these cases none of the determinants of the emotional revolution mentioned by Stearns and Haggerty seems to have occurred before the end of the period under consideration.

Absent fear

The Anglo-Saxon Victorian era had a Dutch counterpart in what, despite the advancing pillarization, is usually called the liberal era. This refers both to politics and to the dominant intellectual climate. [14] Late nineteenth-century child-rearing manuals stressed the autonomy of the individual. Parents were addressed as free and morally responsible persons capable of raising their children according to the experts' instructions. Children in turn were depicted as incomplete individuals, whose lack of morality made them the natural subjects of education. Character formation was considered the most important goal of child rearing. Not surprisingly, during this period, parental advice was meant for the bourgeoisie, the model citizens of liberal ideology. Only gradually, especially after the 1880s, did the middle classes join the experts' audience. Moreover, the advice became differentiated, as orthodox Calvinists and Roman Catholics began to publish their own versions of the ideal family upbringing. In these c ases general Christian norms and values were replaced by Calvinist or Catholic dogma as the source of the kind of morality children were expected to acquire in the process of being brought up. Consequently, clergymen began to publish child-rearing manuals that resembled the ones written by liberal teachers and physicians, except for religious education as the most prominent issue. [15]

Compared to the relative silence about children's fears in the American Victorian parental guidance literature, as observed by Stearns and Haggerty, the Dutch experts of the second half of the nineteenth century were even more reticent about this and other children's emotions. [16] However, the most authoritative family manual of this era did discuss children's fear. De ontwikkeling van het kind (The Development of the Child) was published in 1845 by an enlightened medical doctor, Gerard Allebe. This handbook was generally known and widely read among the liberal Protestant bourgeoisie and it was still reprinted more than sixty years later. Doctor Allebe's manual on child care was part of a larger campaign, propagating hygiene both in the public and in the private sphere. [17] Happiness and prosperity were rooted in the individual's virtue, these campaigners believed. The family was supposed to lay the foundation, as domesticity and hygiene were considered preconditions for a virtuous life. The physician's po pular manual discussed the physical and mental development of the young child from a "scientific" point of view. As a son of the Enlightenment he stressed the necessity of a style of upbringing based on reason. Like his contemporary colleagues in the United States he contrasted this style to what was called a traditional (not necessarily brutal but at least thoughtless) approach, embodied by the maid or other representatives of the lower classes. But unlike the American advisors the Dutch doctor's main concern was not brutality but sentimental overprotection by the mother. This was a serious danger, because it would deprive the child of the necessary excercise for courage; weakness would be the result. It could be avoided only when a mother let herself be guided by nature and reason instead of blind love. In the spirit of John Locke, Allebe stressed the necessity of physical hardening. "Civilized" mothers were terribly deficient in this respect, he claimed.[18]

According to the doctor, child rearing was the exclusive right of the mother. Nannies, servants, and other "uncivilized" women had better keep distance, Nature had endowed the mother with a special educational talent he stated, following Jean-Jacques Rousseau and in accordance with Victorian gender stereotypes. Unfortunately, this talent had a weak side: her inclination toward indulgence and spoiling her little darlings. Children needed the reverse approach to become brave and energetic citizens. Therefore, the mother ought to control herself. If she did not, a fearful child could be the result. Fear was one of the few behavioral problems the doctor mentioned. And it is clear that the mother's anxiety was the cause: "Nothing is more pernicious, nothing more weakening, than the child seeing anxiety or hearing cries of fear of his mother." [19] Before the end of the first year a baby should be accustomed to sleeping in the dark. When a mother went out for a walk with her toddler it was not necessary to evade a mutilated person or the blackened chimney sweep, whose appearances could evoke fear in the child. But one should not go out and look for those creatures deliberately either. When an animal was frightening a child, one should never force the little one to touch it. A reasonable mother explained that the animal was harmless. Patiently she should await the day the child would approach the animal, perhaps even play with it, and certainly be proud to have conquered his timidity. As in the American Victorian advice literature these examples of children overcoming fear related invariably to boys. However, unlike his American colleagues the Dutch doctor did not present a child's capacity to do so as gender specific, nor did he show any special delight in fearless male children.

The enlightened doctor did not like punishments. A child should obey out of his own free will, the molding of which was a central element in Allebes ideal of family upbringing. Spanking was harmful, the physician explained. And locking up an angry child in a cupboard would instill nothing but fear for the dark in an otherwise dauntless child. These warnings, which resemble the ones in American Victorian family manuals, were reprinted unchanged until the last edition of the popular handbook, published in 1908. Certainly, the doctor's reassuring recommendations have strenghtened the liberal bourgeoisie's confidence as parents: when a mother did not instill fear in a child, it would not appear. And if it did, it could be surmounted by character.

The second characteristic of the American Victorian family manuals with regard to childhood fears, observed by Stearns and Haggerty--the insistence of parental advisors to avoid the use of fear in discipline--does not hold true for the Dutch counterparts. Probably, the reason for the difference is to be found in a gentler approach toward the child, at least among the bourgeoisie, compared to what was the rule among for example New England puritans. [20] Late nineteenth-century Dutch experts echoed doctor Allebes aversion of punishments and brutality, but they did not show any concern about parents using fear. Locking up a child in a dark cupboard or cellar, which may have been a common practice, was for example disapproved of repeatedly, not because it might be a frightening experience but because it would make the little sinner nervous or annoyed instead of willing to improve his character. [21] And that was what upbringing was all about in the dominant strain of late-nineteenth-century child-rearing advice . Discipline was based on the good example of the parents and on repeated appeals to conscience in the child. Important values and standards, including the apparantly contradictory goals of independence and self-control, had to be internalized, as soon and as fully as possible. [22]

The only parental guidance books which did mention fear, were a small number of orthodox Calvinist manuals. From the 1880s Neo-Calvinists tried to revive the seventeenth-century orthodox Calvinist tradition of strict, but nonetheless loving, discipline as the central element of parental commitment. [23] As a matter of fact they propagated an education "in the fear of The Lord." However, it is important to note that this expression does not refer to any specific emotion, but to God's absolute moral and religious authority and its corollary, the child's obligation to obey his earthly father in every respect. This, of course, does not mean that parents who followed these instructions did not run the risk of instilling fear in their offspring. As matter of fact, it is likely that they did, because these orthodox believers continued to value punishment as an important disciplinary means, albeit with as little spanking as possible. [24] Mainstream Protestant manuals on the other hand disapproved of punishments exc ept in extreme cases.

Fear as fault

About the turn of the century things began to change. The international New Education Movement, together with the Anglo-Saxon child-study movement and the new developmental psychology, [25] raised the level of sensitivity to children's condition. After the turn of the century the overall interest in education and parenting increased all over the Western world. In the Netherlands a rapidly growing quantity of educational literature gives evidence of the new sensitivity to the quality of the child's treatment and environment both at school and at home. During the first two decades of the new century no less than 88 different family manuals were published in the Netherlands, compared to 38 in the latter half of the nineteenth century. As before, the authors of these books were mostly teachers and clergymen. Only gradually, medical aspects of child care were dealt with in separate handbooks. Therefore, physicians like doctor Allebe lost importance as parental advisors. [26]

The dominant role of moral experts in Dutch turn-of-the-century child-rearing advice reminds us of an important difference between the intellectual climates of continental Western Europe on the one hand and Anglo-Saxon countries on the other hand during this transitional phase of the emotionology of childhood fears. The influence of Darwinian concepts of child development was much more important in the latter. Although the origins of the experimental child psychology are to be found in Germany, the new emperical and evolutionist child study was practiced mainly in the Anglo-Saxon world. [27] In Germany and the Netherlands a traditional hermeneutic approach to the child continued to dominate educational theory. Whereas evolutionism did have a substantial impact on Dutch science and on liberal and social-democratic political theory, [28] educationalists also continued to prefer reformist optimism to Darwinian pessimism when it came to possibilities of molding a child's character. [29] Even the only evolutionis t Dutch child-rearing manual, not surprisingly the work of a physician, bears witness of the dominant moral approach of child rearing. Like his contemporaries the author considered moral shortcomings, such as lying, the most serious obstacles to overcome. [30] Emotions that might bother "primitive" creatures like children were not even mentioned.

This is true also of the most authoritative parents' manual of the time, Zedelijke opvoeding (Moral Education), which appeared first in 1894 and was reprinted eight times until 1919. The book is a fine example of Reform-inspired optimism. It was written by the liberal Calvinist Ietje Kooistra, the first female director of a teacher training college for girls. She stressed the child's susceptibility to influences from the environment, embodied first of all by the parents. Love, understanding, tact, trust, and patience, together with the child's conscience and an increasing self-control, were the most important tools in raising a child to moral goodness. The parents' good example was to invite the child to internalize crucial values like honesty and modesty. Indeed, she told parents, "the child becomes what you believe it to be." [31] Good parents used very little and only mild punishments. Spanking or locking up a child in a dark closet should be avoided, not because it would arouse fear in a child but becaus e it kept the little one from feeling remorse. Whereas guilt played a central role in this model of child rearing, an emotion like fear could be ignored. Of course, this does not imply that children did not suffer from frightening experiences, or that Kooistra's readers did not comfort their offspring when they were scared to death. The author had simply no reason to suspect her liberal Protestant middle-class readers of using fear tactics toward their children. Meanwhile, it is clear that his rather dogmatic evolutionism was not the only reason why the American child psychologist G. Stanley Hall's early study of fear [32] remained unnoticed in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, family advisors began to mention fear slightly more often as a serious problem which parents, especially those of young children, would have to deal with. However, the incidence of discussion of the subject, mostly in terms of the necessity to avoid scaring tactics, lagged behind the American case. In the Netherlands, child rearing continued to be conceived of primarily as moral education until well into the 1920s. This is reflected in the kind of behavioral problems parental advisors dealt with. In the first Dutch parents' magazine, Het Kind (The Child), moral shortcomings like lying and egotism, followed by problems with parental authority like insubordination and self-willed children, towered above all others during the first twenty years of its existence (1900-1919). Children's emotional troubles, such as fear, were discussed only incidentally. [33]

In the meantime, the awakening of a certain interest in childhood fear is shown for example by the translation of the behaviorist James Sully's study about fear in children's lives, published in one of the Reform-oriented pedagogical journals. This incident itself is remarkable, because behaviorism and American psychology in general were usually ignored at the time. According to Sully, who took pride in warning against cheap evolutionism, only the baby's fear of sudden loud sounds and of falling could be called natural. All the other manifestations of fear (of animals, strange faces, or the dark) were, albeit understandable, not universal and therefore not necessary. They were either caused by adults or they were the fruit of the toddler's lively imagination. The condition of the child, its weakness and insecurity, made it susceptible to fear, in the same way as ignorance of so many surrounding phenomena scared primitive people. Instead of exorcism the frigthened infant needed comfort, encouragement, and sup port, the psychologist claimed. [34]

The few Dutch family advisors who treated the subject agreed upon the opinion that little children's fears for strangers, thunder or the dark were caused by adults. The mother or the maid might have told horror stories or shown her own anxiety to the ever impressionable toddler. Nevertheless, the advisors showed little understanding for a frightened infant. They blamed him-the typical child continued to be a boy-for lack of willpower or of self-restraint. Parents should give reassurance, divert attention, and help him to overcome his panic. From this point of view parents were not encouraged to give a child a small light when he was afraid of sleeping in the dark. [35] It is as if the emotion was acknowledged but not yet accepted. Jan Ligthart, the foremost Dutch representative of the Reform movement, was one of only two experts who saw no harm in a nightlight. Referring to a number of child psychologists, Sully among them, he declared children's fears to be natural. Did not cavemen fear thunder and lightnin g too? Therefore, these feelings earned respect and sleepless nights of the parents. Actually, he could not think of a higher sacrifice of a loving mother than sitting up at night at the bed of a terror-stricken infant. [36] The other early twentieth-century Dutch expert who valued pity above educational principles, Frits van Raalte, happened to be the first Dutch educationalist with a positive interest in psychoanalysis. He recognized a child's reluctance to sleep in the dark as a symptom of a "nervous predisposition." [37]

Fear as a normal emotion

Between 1920 and 1950 the number of advice manuals published in the Netherlands almost doubled compared to the two preceding decades (173 books against 88). At the climax of pillarization orthodox Calvinists and, to a lesser degree, Roman Catholics produced large numbers of blueprints for their own ideal family life. Consequently, their share of printed advice was increasing rapidly. [38] At the same time child-rearing handbooks grew more voluminous and the advice became more specific. For example, the 1920s saw the introduction of family manuals structured according to children's age, including separate chapters on babies, infants, toddlers, school-children, and adolescents. As children were changing constantly, the right way of handling them was just as variable. This acknowledgement of the natural development of the child as an important determinant of parenting was an expression of a more general tendency toward a psychological instead of a morality-based view of children and a corresponding approach tow ard parent-child interaction.

Therefore, it is not surprising that, from the 1920s, children's emotions received more attention. Fear was one of them. As the new generation of child-rearing experts explained, even a harmonious family life could not prevent a child from having nightmares or suffering agonies from certain noices or voices. As a rule, after 1920, parents were expected to show respect for a fearful child. [39] The emotion was just natural. Around 1930, the most authoritative child-rearing manual was the liberal Calvinist Leyden professor of educational science Rommert Casimir's Langs de lijnen van het leven (Along the lines of life), which sold more than 10,000 copies within six weeks in 1927 and was reprinted eighteen times within just as many years. The book echoes a more general shift of emphasis from the autonomous individual toward the community, which could freely be interpreted either as the nation or as one of the religious communities that constituted Dutch society. Casimir's manual is a plea for a loving, trusting, and respectful approach to the child in the different stages of its development. Although the author could not decide upon the cause, he declared fear, especially night-time fright, a normal aspect of the infant's nature. Parents, especially mothers, were warned not to make things worse, for example by telling horror stories. A whole range of remedies were suggested: a nightlight, a soft voice, taking the baby's hand, or singing a song. [40]

This acceptance of the more annoying aspects of a child's life occurred at the same time in the Netherlands and in the United States. However, with regard to an explanation the Dutch case points in a different direction. Stearns and Haggerty have stressed changes in the day-to-day experience of middle-class American children, especially the higher incidence of children having a room of their own, as a consequence of a reduced family size. This experience was likely to make them the easier victims of terror at night. In addition, they hold, for an urbanized child--the number of whom was rapidly growing during the interwar Years--almost every animal could appear as a dreadful monster. Stearns and Haggerty also stress the overall intensification of parent-child contact, which made parents more sensitive to childhood emotions. Furthermore, they claim that, as a result of reduced reliance on religion, the concomitant of secularization of everyday life, "fear almost inevitably surged forward as an emotional proble m." [41] This leades them to draw the conclusion that concerned adults were served by experts with corresponding advice.

Although some of these experiences were part of the reality of liberal Protestant Dutch middle-class children, the processes held responsible for the normalization of fear in the United States certainly do not apply to the Netherlands as a whole. Nevertheless, a general intensification ("modernization") of affective parent-child relations in Dutch families has been observed in a large-scale historical inquiry. Between 1920 and 1974 each generation of children was, for example, cuddled more often and each parental generation played more often with their parents. As to punishments, however, there was no clear development. Parents of any generation and of any social background may have inspired fear in a child by regular punishments or occasional beatings. [42] Unfortunately, this research focused on social differences and did not discriminate between denominations. Therefore, we know that middle-class parents have always shown more affection than working-class or farming parents, but there is no proof for our assumption that liberal parents raised their children in a more "modern" way than Roman Catholic or orthodox Calvinist ones. [43]

A contemporary sociological inquiry into bourgeois family life, carried out in the late 1950s, provides no more solid ground in this respect either. Nevertheless, the regular occurrence of punishments and beatings in the allegedly "modern" urban middle class as late as the 1940s and 1950s is confirmed. This researcher failed to identify the companionate or egalitarian family, which was well on its way to replace the authoritarian family, according to his fellow sociologists. Most likely, this can be explained by the fact that the latter contented themselves with the interpretation of demographic statistics and literary evidence. [44] The sociological field-worker stressed instead the "patriarchal" character of the Dutch well-to-do urban middle-class family. Discipline and a well-defined authority structure between both parents and children and older and younger siblings were its most prominent characteristics. [45] These findings correspond with the outcomes of an inquiry into punishment practices in the 195 0s. Spanking occurred in the majority of Dutch families, whereas locking up a child in a cellar or a cupboard was--despite a century of expert warning--still used in a few cases. Although significant differences among denominational groups could not be established, the researcher also could not keep herself from mentioning the cruelty of a couple who whipped their six children with an appeal to the Bible. [46]

Social variety in family living conditions is amply documented. The middle classes' overall higher level of concern for children's physical and mental health is also beyond dispute. Although material conditions were not at all favourable throughout this period of economic depression, war, and postwar scarcity, with the aid of church-bound political forces the Dutch working class succeeded relatively well in imitating certain aspects of middle-class family life. Married women from the industrial working class, for example, entered the official work force only in very small numbers. [47] Housing conditions however continued to be bad, especially for extremely large families. There is no doubt that the majority of Dutch children could only dream of a room of their own and a large proportion even only of a bed of their own. This is true at least until the late 1960s, when housing conditions finally improved, [48] partly because of a flourishing economy and partly because of a considerable decrease of family size.

This brief detour into child-rearing practice indicates that in the Netherlands an intensification of parent-child contact has occurred, but probably later and not at the same rate as in the United States. Whereas American historiography tends to date the rise of the companionate family as early as the first decades of this century, [49] the Dutch case points in the direction of the post-war era for the origin of less authoritarian relationships. The time-lag may be explained by the strong influence of the churches or, in other words, the relatively late secularization of Dutch society and culture. Therefore, in spite of a similar development in child-rearing mentalite in the two countries, it is clear that we have to look for different causes, most likely outside the social realm, to explain the acceptance of fear as a normal childhood emotion by Dutch experts and their audience as early as the late 1920s.


Considering the advice literature, which seems to reflect intellectual developments more directly than social conditions, the most striking change during the 1920s appears to be the acceptance of the unconscious as a serious dimension of the human mind. As a consequence, children were no longer held responsible for what they thought and felt. [50] From the mid-1920s Dutch family advice came under the influence of subject-oriented--as against the older function-oriented--psychological theories. Especially German and Austrian theory, particularly the works of William Stem, Eduard Spranger, and Karl and Charlotte Buhler, were influential. [51] In turn, their ideas wore the imprint of biologically based theories of character, originating from current trends in psycho-pathology. Of the latter only Ludwig Klages' vitalistic and anti-rationalistic characterology was widely acclaimed. [52] In contrast with the Anglo-Saxon world, behaviorism had no substantial influence during the interwar period. [53] That is not su rprising, because since the nineteenth century theories from German speaking countries have always had a strong hold on Dutch education. English theory, especially Anna Freud's psychoanalysis and John Bowlby's attachment theory, began to dominate Dutch child rearing only after l950. [54]

A common element of these subject-oriented theories of the human mind, is the acknowledgement, of the uniqueness of the personality of the individual, not so much in terms of heredity but as the outcome of the individual life-history. Therefore, family advisors stressed the influence of early emotional experiences on later patterns of behavior and ways of coping with stress. Fear for strangers or the dark was now mentioned regularly as a typical early childhood experience, which would have consequences in later stages of life, if it was not treated properly. [55] Young children were open to all kinds of fears. Experts saw it as their task to raise parents' consciousness as to a child's suggestibility. Whereas fears for certain objects or situations could as a rule be traced back to particular experiences, the more undetermined Angst was considered the normal emotional condition of an infant, which would turn into phobia only if these feelings were neglected or in case the child was mistreated. [56]

However, the decisive influence in leaving behind the idea of a naturally fearless child must be attributed to psychoanalysis. Theoretically, leading Dutch educationalists showed a clear-cut disapproval of Freudianism, because of its "pansexualism." [57] They preferred the most conformist of neo-Freudian heterodoxies, [58] Alfred Adler's individual psychology, which in a sense upheld the notion of an autonomous individual, to Freud's iconoclasm toward so many standards of nineteenth century liberalism. Individual psychology dominated Dutch child-rearing literature during the 1930s and 1940s, while orthodox psychoanalysis had a much more limited influence. [59] Adler, the disciple, had created his own theory after he had left the Vienna circle in 1911. He denied the sexual origins of mental illness and considered physical experiences during early childhood, especially diseases and infirmities, as the prime cause of neurosis. In his early work, physical distress explained the development of feelings of inferior ity and a compensatory pursuit of power. Later he attributed these feelings to every child. Throughout his work the focus is directed at parent-child interaction, interpreted in terms of a power relationship. In a young child's mind a battle was fought between two opposite drives: one to defend the self and one to belong to the community. Frustration of either of the two could easily enlarge feelings of inferiority. Parents could discourage a child by unrealistic demands or by failing to appreciate his true individuality. [60]

Dutch editions of Adler's work were published after 1930. Within a few years several translations and a number of popular introductions to his work were published. [61] Paradoxically, however, perhaps the best propaganda for individual psychology was the amendment of a psychiatrist from Berlin, Fritz Kunkel. By calling the infantile drives "egotism" (Ichhaftigkeit) and "realism" (Sachlichkeit), Kunkel turned Adler's unconscious drives into normative categories of behavior. This perception of the child was more consistent with the interpretation of growth as moral improvement and of growing up as submission to parental authority than Adler's theory was. [62] Therefore, Kunkel's version of individual psychology found an even warmer reception in the Netherlands, among both liberals and confessionals. [63] His books were translated immediately after they were published in Germany. A popular synthesis of his theory, written together with his wife Ruth, was first translated in 1930 and sold over 17,000 copies befor e 1950. [64]

How did these theories and a corresponding interpretation of children's emotions affect post-1930 child-rearing standards? The first thing that strikes the historian, is that childrearing no longer aimed at self-control but at self-confidence, now a precondition for individual happiness. The parental role continued to be very important, but it was no longer authority that mattered most. Instead, the quality of parent-child interaction became the central issue. Henceforth, good parents were successful in creating mutual trust. This meant that they ought to scrutinize their children's "real" emotions. Fear was one of them. [65]

According to individual psychology, children's behavior had to be interpreted in a symbolic way. Parents had to understand that disobedience, bed-wetting, or fear were not the real problems. They were symbolic representations of all kinds of "unconscious feelings", like "discouragement" or frustrated "assertiveness". In fact, family manuals stopped giving general advice and focused on problems. They informed parents how to redress their own faults in order to "cure", instead of "correct", the child, who was no longer a sinner but a sufferer. For each manifestation of a troublesome or unhappy child--be it nervousness, refusal of food, sleeping disorders, bed-wetting, or anxiety--experts gave an analysis of possible causes and formulated corresponding advice. Parental advisors, often psychiatrists or psychologists now, presented clinical cases to make their point. [66] Not only parents' manuals changed. Around 1930, Dutch parents' magazines began to give more attention to the darker sides of childhood as well. As in the United Stares, from the late 1920s onward letters-to-the-editor began to be published regularly. Henceforth, a good deal of advice was given by means of editorial answers to letter-writing parents of problem-children, mostly mothers.

Family advisors of the 1930s and 1940s believed that fear was an unconscious but purposeful defence reaction of a child against certain unpleasant stimuli from the outside world. As children's fears invite adult protection, an anxious child will be spared from unpleasant duties or routines. Therefore, the child capitalizes on the emotion to avoid responsibility, of course without being aware of it. Fear was no innate or inherited emotion; parents did not instill it. It was the product of a child's individual feelings toward his parents, who might be either too demanding or too indulging. Anyway, a fearful child suffered from a lack of courage and self-confidence. When parents changed their attitude, the child would eventually get over his feelings of inferiority and be brave enough to face life. According to this interpretation fear was perhaps not natural in the literal sense--although some authors maintained that there were acquired as well as inborn variaties [67]--but it was beyond doubt that fear was a n ormal aspect of a child's behavior. It deserved patience, trust and understanding. [68] Meanwhile, some advisors still felt obliged to warn against bogeyman tactics. [69]

Compared to Watsonian behaviorism, which dominated the Anglo-Saxon advice literature during the interwar years, [70] individual psychology brought an even wider acceptance of childhood emotions. Behaviorism, like evolutionist child psychology, assumed that only noise and falling produced innate fears, other kinds of apprehension being the result of suggestion by parental behavior. That is why the American manuals stressed the necessity of prevention and the possibility of management of childhood fears, as Stearns and Haggerty have pointed out. Dutch handbooks on the other hand expected parents to understand why their child was suffering. It is interesting to note that, unlike the American colleagues, Dutch parental advisors did not drop references to contagiously fearful mothers altogether. The importance of the theory behind the advice is underlined by the fact that the only post-1930 writer who used the Victorian gender stereotype of a mother screaming at the sight of a mouse or a frog to emphasize the impo rtance of prevention of terror through parental self-control, was a pedagogue who refused to let himself be carried away by individual psychology. [71] Mainstream advice literature had stopped blaming mothers for the occurrance of childhood anxieties; they were the child's own answer to his frustrated feelings.

Confessional groups

We still have to ask to what extent Dutch confessional experts were touched by the new approach of the parent-child relationship and if they too accepted fear as a normal childhood experience. During the late 1920s orthodox Calvinist advisors showed a sudden ardour in warning parents against the use of fear in discipline, which was presented as the opposite of the trustful relationship they now were supposed to have with their children. This was nothing short of revolutionary, because an upbringing "in the fear of the Lord" had been a distinctive feature of the revived orthodox tradition. Whereas turn-of-the-century orthodox Calvinist manuals had stressed the necessity of obedience and discipline onesidedly, [72] the new generation preferred the Gospel "message of love and grace" to the Old Testament regime of rules based on the Ten Commandments. These innovators took pains to explain that children's shortcomings were no matter of sin. Parents could be severe, but never harsh, as long as they followed the Ch ristian principles of "freedom, love and trust." [73]

From the late 1920s onward Calvinist parents' manuals advised their orthodox readership to create an enjoyable home, to pay attention to the individuality of their children, and to merit their confidence. Respectful fear of the Lord was explicitly distinguished from childhood emotion. [74] When children feared the severity of their parents, this would preclude any confidential relationship and consequently any real influence upon their conscience. Both were important. In the wake of this concern for intimacy between parents and children other kinds of childhood fears received more attention as well. That is why orthodox parents began to be warned not to instill fear in the child. Telling tales of the bogeyman, reading gruesome stories from the Bible, or locking up a child in a dark cellar were just as wrong as refusing it the comfort of a small light in the dark sleeping room. Not even the over-anxious mother was missing among the many dangers to be avoided. Fortunately, at the end of a day maybe full of fri ghtening experiences the Calvinist child would be tucked in safely with a reassuring evening prayer. This was a superior weapon in the "battle against fear," a psychiatrist explained. [75]

By the 1930s orthodox Calvinists considered childhood fear a very important and omnipresent enemy, from which "no child will be free." [76] This was true, not only for the experts who even devoted special booklets to the topic [77] but for the public as well. In the Neo-Calvinist popular magazine Moeder (Mother) fear was the third most important subject of the letters-to-the-editor between 1934 and 1950. It was only surpassed by nervousness and bed-wetting, which can equally be interpreted as expressions of anxiety. In their letters these mothers named things as they observed them: a child afraid of strangers, thunder, sleeping in the dark, the radio, water, or the vacuum cleaner. As basic information about the family concerned was one of the requirements for a letter to be published, we know that hardly any of these little victims belonged to a family with less than four children and that a relatively large proportion lived in the countryside. Therefore, their anxieties cannot be related to either modern ci ty life or the loneliness of a single bedroom and certainly not to a reluctance to rely on comfort from religion. Editorial answers aimed at reassuring worried mothers; calm, understanding, and some praying would do the job. In spite of the editor's theoretical objections to secular psychological theory in general and to psychoanalysis in particular, his interpretation of what was bothering these children was symbolic and it was clearly coloured by individual psychology: the anxiety could be caused by a sense of inferiority, which in turn might be the result either of too much concern or of too much strictness in discipline. [78]

As in the United States and other Western countries, Dutch Roman Catholic moral authorities did not stop using scare tactics toward adolescents in matters of sexuality until the 1960s. [79] In a sense they were obsessed with the dangers of lust and desire. It was Catholic parents' obligation to teach their offspring modesty and self-restraint as early as possible. Only strict discipline could teach the little sinners to fear the Lord's "ultimate punishment." [80] Although the 1920s witnessed pleas for a more modest discipline and against the use of cruel punishments like solitary confinement in a dark closet, [81] Catholic experts continued to advise a strict disciplinary regime. They did not join the "battle" against the deliberate use of fear in child rearing until the end of the 1930s, when finally psychologists began to replace priests as leading authorities in family affairs. Fear was a fully normal infantile reaction and it was caused by a lack of self-confidence, the new generation of Catholic writers started to sing in tune with the rest of the nations professional guardian angels. They distinguished themselves from Protestants only in that they clung to punishments and especially children's remorse as essential means in family upbringing. [82] But it was just a matter of time before the 1960s would finally rule out denominational differences in the advised child-rearing styles.

A European experience

In the United States a profound understanding of what was bothering a frightened child, based on the idea that certain fears lay deep in an infant's mind, would be the rule in the advice literature only after Freudianism had become an important intellectual source by the 1940s. Then, a selective popularization of Freud, together with the anxious wartime atmosphere, succeeded in ruling out behaviorist assumptions about children's lack of many natural fears.

In the Netherlands, as in other European countries, the threat of a new war alone was sufficient to change the cultural climate long before the Second World War actually broke out. From 1930, there was an upsurge of interest in human fear as an existential problem. [83] It was fed by several intellectual and artistic sources, bound together by criticism of modern individualized society and inspired by a common European experience, the memory of which became even more frightening as the likelihood of a repetition increased: the shell shock of World War I. [84] Existential philosophy, which considered the pitiful human condition of the post-war era, combined with psychoanalysis in focusing upon the darker sides of the human mind. Martin Heidegger and a reissued Soren Kierkegaard, for example, discussed existential Lebensangst extensively. [85] These philosophers explained that it was a basic and general emotion stemming from the condition of "modern" man.

For the new generation of psychoanalysts, many of whom had left while others had never entered the Vienna circle, human emancipation of anxiety was a central issue as well. Some, like WH.R. Rivers, had personally treated victims of war-neurosis. Apparantly, his patients suffered from the suppression of a basic fear of death, mainly for reasons of shame. This experience had taught him the relevance of having to face one's basic fears to avoid repression and to be in a position to be able to solve one's inner conflicts. [86] Others, like Otto Rank, Wilhelm Stekel, and Paul Haberlin, attached their own appendices about fear to the original theory. The former developed the concept of birth anxiety, whereas the latter two pointed at feelings of guilt as the source of anxiety neurosis. Even Freud himself felt challenged to consider matters of fear which could not easily be reduced to the Oedipus complex, such as a baby's fear for the dark. [87]

Dutch intellectuals, including an orthodox Calvinist psychologist and even a Roman Catholic psychiatrist, read these studies, commented upon them and popularized their own selections of these ideas. [88] They preferred the concept of anxiety as a disease of a bad conscience. Nevertheless, a gradual and nationwide secularization of the basic concept of humanity cannot be denied. But we have to wait until after World War II before-what John Demos has so accurately termed-a "readiness" for psychoanalysis [89] became manifest among child-rearing experts. Especially young children's fears for strangers, the dark or for being left alone were discussed at length, whether or not in terms of "birth anxiety" or "separation anxiety." [90] The Dutch pedagogue, now a well-known professor, who had resisted individual psychology during the 1930s, discussed fear in analytical terms in a 1947 popular encyclopedia. [91]

Even a purely Freudian concept like "castration anxiety" found its way to the Dutch discourse on childrearing. In spite of the fact that a majority did not have the opportunity to do so, parents were encouraged to give young children a room of their own. There was nothing wrong with brothers and sisters sleeping together. It was the habit of having the cradle of the youngest child in the parents's bedroom the experts disapproved of. From a Freudian perspective the experience of witnessing parents having sex was considered a high risk. It might inspire fear of the father or indeed castration anxiety. [92] From this line of thought it was only a small step to believe that the quiet comfort of a room of one s own would prevent nighttime fright from entering an infant's mind.

If anything, the experience of war-time bombing and the German occupation promoted the interest in children's anxiety and its many causes and expressions among postwar popular writers and their audience. Haunting fears were accepted not just as symbolic representations of something else but as a serious problem in their own right. [93] If adults lay wake at night because of terrifying dreams or memories, why should not frightened children scream or constantly wet their beds and simply command their parents' compassion? In this respect, as well as in many others, Doctor Spock's Baby and Child Care did not stand out among the Dutch advice literature, when his best-selling handbook was first translated into Dutch in 1950. [94] The nightmare of war created an atmosphere in which victims of horrible dreams were no longer blamed for a lack of self-restraint or courage. But it had not only been soldiers and bombs which had come across the eastern border; from the 1920s the ground had been prepared by German and Aus trian theory, which accepted fear as a normal childhood condition.


This research into Dutch family history does not confirm the hypothesis of a more general Western pattern of normalization of fear in children's lives as an effect of modernization. The three processes, mentioned by Steams and Haggerty as determinants of the transition in the United States, did not occur in the Netherlands, at least not during the early decades of the twentieth century. In this case neither secularization, nor a rapid increase in urbanization, or even a small family size were necessary to turn fear into an accepted childhood emotion. Careful handling of frightened infants became an important topic in the child-rearing literature of an already highly urbanized but not yet secularized society with a high proportion of extremely large families. There is every reason to believe that the audience shared the experts' concern. Worried orthodox Calvinist mothers, writing letters about fearful children, provide a clear-cut case. However, the research shows something else, which is perhaps more fundam ental. Parents were not simply served by experts with a kind of advice that mirrored actual children's experiences in one way or another. The relationship between prescription and practice, or between emotionology and emotions, appears to be more complex. Adult concerns, much more than childhood reality, seem to have determined the advice. This is likely to hold true also for children's fiction. These sources reflect variations in the meaning of fear or any other childhood emotion, rather than its role in real life. If an emotion begins to receive more attention in the advice literature of a particular society, historians need to consider those developments that determine adult interest, no matter whether they belong to the social, cultural or intellectual domain. The shadow of World War I opened up European adult minds for the darker sides of childhood. It may even have reached the cozier confines of the American middle class.


The author would like to thank Peter N. Stearns and Leendert P. Groenendijk for comments on earlier versions of this essay and Joost Cote for his assistance in refining the English.

(1.) Peter N. Stearns and Timothy Haggerty, "The Role of Fear: Transitions in American Emotional Standards for children, 1850-1950," American Historical Review 96 (1991): 63-94, p. 64. They refer especially to: Jean Delumeau, Sin and Fear. The Emergence of a Western Guilt Culture, 13th-I 8th Centuries (New York, 1990).

(2.) This collection of 299 guidance books includes all popular publications on domestic child rearing published in the Netherlands between 1845 and 1950 that could be traced. The collection includes 32 small booklets. Reprints are not included in this number. The two parents' magazines are: Het Kind (1900-1950) and Moeder (1934-1950). In this essay I mention only the titles of those manuals to which explicit references are made.

(3.) The very useful distinction between standards for emotion and actual emotions was introduced by: Peter N. Stearns and Carol Z. Stearns, "Emotionology: clarifying the history of emotions and emotional standards," American Historical Review 90 (1985): 813-836.

(4.) A.M. van der Woude, "Variations in the size and structure of the household in the United Provinces of the Netherlands in the seventeenth and eighteenth century," in Peter Laslett, ed., Household and Family in Past Time (Cambridge, 1978) pp. 299-3 18, especially p. 302.

(5.) D.J. Noordam, "De demografische ontwikkeling in West-Europa vanaf het einde van de achttiende eeuw," in H.A. Diederiks et al., eds., Van agrarische samenleving naar verzorgingsstaat (Groningen, 1994), pp. 175-210, especially p. 190.

(6.) B.M.A. de Vries and J.Th. Lindblad, "De economische ontwikkeling van West-Europa van 1750 tot heden," in: H.A. Diederiks et al., eds., Van agrarische samenleving, pp. 211-300, especially p. 218.

(7.) Arend Lijphart, The Politics of Accomodation. Pluralism and Democracy in the Netherlands (Berkeley, 1968); Siep Sruurman, Verzuiling, kapitalisme en patriarchaat. Aspecten van de ontwikkeling van de moderne staat in Nederland (Nijmegen, 1983); J. Sturm, L.F. Groenendijk, B. Kruithof and J. Rens, "Educational Pluralism: a historical study of so-called 'pillarization' in the Netherlands, including a comparison with some developments in South African education," Comparative Education 34 (1998): 281-297.

(8.) Noordam, "De demografische ontwikkeling," p. 177.

(9.) During the period under study the Roman Catholic share of the population fluctuated constantly between 35 and 39 percent. Orthodox Calvinists had a stable 9 percent share: Hans Knippenberg, De religieuze kaart van Nederland. Omvang en geografische spreiding van godsdienstige gezindten vanaf de Reformatie tot heden (Assen/Masstricht, 1992), pp. 266-268, especially p. 273.

(10.) Between 1899 and 1947 non-denominationals saw their share of the population increase from 2 to 17 percent: Knippenberg, De religieuze kaart, p. 276.

(11.) These numbers concern women who married under the age of 25 between 1919 and 1928: Frans van Poppel, Differential Fertility in the Netherlands (Voorburg, 1983), p. 12A.

(12.) Noordam, "De demografische ontwikkeling," p. 190.

(13.) Dirk Damsma, "Van hoeksteen tot fundament. Het gezin in Nederland 1850-1960," in H. Peeters et al., eds., Vijf eeuwen gezinsleven. Liefde, huwelijk en opvoeding in Nederland (Nijmegen, 1988), pp. 209-247.

(14.) Siep Stuurman, Wacht op onze daden. Het liberalisme en de vernieuwing van de Nederlandse swat (Amsterdam, 1992); Henk te Velde, Gemeenschapszin en plichtsbesef. Liberalisme ennationalisme in Nederland, 1870-1918 ('s-Gravenhage, 1992).

(15.) Nelleke Bakker, Kind en karakter. Nederlandse pedagogen over opvoeding in het gezin, 1845-1925 (Amsterdam, 1995).

(16.) Of the 38 parents' handbooks, published in the Netherlands between 1844 and 1900, only three discussed children's fears. See: Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 11-70.

(17.) Eddy S. Houwaart, De hygienisten. Artsen, staat en volksgezondheid in Nederland, 1840-1890 (Maastricht, 1991); J.A. Verdoom, Het gezondheidswezen in Amsterdam in de 19e eeuw (Nijmegen, 1981, reprint, orig. 1965).

(18.) G.A.N. Allebe, De ontwikkeling van het kind naar lichaam en geest; eene handleiding voor moeders bij de eerste opvoeding (Amsterdam, 1865, revised edition), p. III.

(19.) G.A.N. Allebe, De ontwikkeling van her kind naar ligchaam en geest; eene handleiding voor moeders bij de eerste opvoeding (Amsterdam, 1845), P. 272.

(20.) According to Schama the Netherlands have a unique tradition of sensibility toward children, which dates back to the seventeenth century: Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches. An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (New York, 1988), pp. 481-561. See for thorough criticism of this claim of uniqueness: Jeroen J.H. Dekker and Leendert F. Groenendijk, "The Republic of God or the Republic of Children? Childhood and Child-Rearing after the Reformation: An Appraisal of Simon Schama's Thesis about the Uniqueness of the Dutch Case," Oxford Review of Education 17(1991): 317-335. See for the New England tradition: Philip J. Greven Jr., The Protestant Temperament. Patterns of Child-rearing, Religious Experience and the Self in Early America (New York, 1977); Philip J. Greven Jr., Spare the child, The Religious Roots of Punishments and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse (New York, 1992).

(21.) J. Versluys, Wenken over opvoeding, vooral ten dienste van moeders (Groningen, 1878), p. 72; H. Douma, Opvoeding in het huisgezin. Loosdrecht, 1891), p. 85.

(22.) Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 53-70.

(23.) See for this tradition and for the comparison with the more liberal Calvinist tradition: Bernard Kruithof, "Continuiteit in opvoedingsadviezen in protestants Nederland van de 17e tot de 19e eeuw," Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift 9 (1982/183): 476-492; Jeroen J.H. Dekker, "A Republic of Educators. Educational Messages in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting," History of Education Quarterly 36 (1996): 163-190; Dekker and Groenendijk "The Republic of God". Between 1880 and 1899 five orthodox Calvinist family manuals appeared: Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 45-49.

(24.) Nelleke Bakker, "Opvoeden met de harde hand? Een historisch-kritische beschouwing van de neo-calvinistische opvoedingsmentaliteit 1880-1930" in Bas Levering et al., eds., Thema's uit de wijsgerige en historische pedagogiek. Bijdragen aan de Achtste Landelijke Pedagogendag (Utrecht, 1998), pp. 77-85.

(25.) Marc Depaepe, Zum Wohl des Kindes? Pddologie, Padagogische Psychologie und experimentelle Padagogik in Europa und den U.S.A., 1890-1940 (Weinheim/Leuven, 1993).

(26.) Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 86-88. The titles of these 126 parents' handbooks are to be found in: Bakker, Kind en karakter. Of the 88 manuals dating from the years 1900-1919 18(20%) were written by orthodox Calvinist authors and 14(16%) by Roman Catholics.

(27.) Depaepe, Zum Wohl des Kindes?; John R. Morss, The biologising of childhood. Developmental psychology and the Darwinian myth (Hove/London/Hillsdale, 1990); Ilse N. Bulhof, "The Netherlands," in: Thomas F. Glick, ed., A Comparative Analysis of the Reception of Darwinism (Austin, 1974): 269-306.

(28.) Piet de Rooy, Darwin en de strijd longs vaste lijnen (Nijmegen, 1987).

(29.) Ernst Mulder, "Patterns, Principles, and Profession: The early Decades of Educational Science in the Netherlands," in: P. Drewek and Ch. Luth, eds., History of Educational Studies, Paedagogica Historica, Supplementary Series III (Gent, 1998), 231-246.

(30.) G.A. Ootmar, De wereld van het kind. Nieuwere beschouwingen over de handelingen en uitingen der kinderen (Haarlem, [1903]).

(31.) I. Kooistra, Zedelijke opvoeding (Groningen, 1894), p. 104.

(32.) G. Stanley Hall, "A Study of Fear," American Journal of Psychology 8 (1897): 147-249.

(33.) In this bimonthly journal childhood fear was discussed in only 12 out of 734 advice-giving articles during the years 1900-1919 (compared to lying in 57, egotism in 31, insubordination in 29, and self-willed children in 23 out of these articles): Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 153-168, 248.

(34.) James Sully, "De vrees in het kinderleven," School en Leven 9 (1907/08): 90-95, 113-119, 129-132, 150-155, 161-166.

(35.) Bakker, Kind en karakter, p. 163.

(36.) Jan Ligthart, "Over bangheid en principes," School en Leven 7 (1905/06): 559-560; Jan Ligthart, Jeugdherinneringen (Groningen, 1916), P. 10.

(37.) Frits van Raalte, Wat de Kinderen ons leeren. Opstellen van ... (Nijmegen, 1916), p. 167; Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 94, 167-168.

(38.) The share of books written by orthodox Calvinist authors grew from 20 (18 out of 88) to 41 percent (71 out of 173); the share of those written by Roman Catholic authors grew from 16 (14 out of 88) to 20 percent (35 out of 173). Out of the 71 orthodox Calvinist handbooks no less than 32 were 16-page booklets, which appeared in a series, Bibliotheek voor Bijbelsche Opvoedkunde (Library for Biblical Education). Roman Catholics had their own (bi)monthly family educational magazine: Tijdschrift voor R.K. Ouders en Opvoeders (1919-1940). The titles of the majority of the 173 manuals are to be found in: Nelleke Bakker, "Onzekere ouders? Over de geschiedenis van opvoedingsvoorlichting en opvoedingsonzekerheid," Pedagogisch Tijdschrift 19 (1993): 153-17 1; Nelleke Bakker, "The Lamp in the Living Room. Dutch Family Educationalists on Adolescence, 1915-1950," Paedagogica Historica 29 (1993): 241-255; Bakker, Kind en karakter; Bakker, "Opvoeden met de harde hand?"; Nelleke Bakker, "Child-rearing Literature and the Reception of Individual-Psychology in the Netherlands, 1930-1950: The Case of a Dutch Pedagogue," in Peter Drewek and Christoph Luth, eds., History of Educational Studies, pp. 583-602.

(39.) O. Barendsen, Over de kunst van opvoeden (Zeist, 1924), pp. 181-188; J. Cannegieter, Kennen we onze kinderen (Deventer, 1926), pp. 91-95. In the bimonhtly magazine Het Kind fear was discussed almost twice as often after 1920 then before. Between 1900 and 1920 it was discussed in 12 articles, against 22 articles discussing it in the next two decades and another five in the years 1940-1943 and 1946-1949 (between mid-1943 and the end of 1945 the journal did not appear). More significant is the change of focus in parents' manuals. Our of a total number of 173 handbooks published between 1920 and 1950 no less than 26 gave substantial attention (often a separate chapter) to childhood fear, compared to two our of 88 handbooks mentioning fear at all in the two earliest decades of the century. Half of these 26 books had liberal Protestant authors, nine orthodox Protestant, and only four were written by Roman Catholics. Individual authors show an increase in interest in the subject as well. For example, one of th e most popular family advisors of the 1930s, Johanna Riemens-Reurslag, ignored fear in her early work but discussed it extensively in her popular encyclopedia for mothers: J. Riemens-Reurslag, ed., Encyclopedie voor moeders. Medisch opvoedkundig handboek voor ouders en opvoeders (2 vols.) (Amsterdam, 1935) I, pp. 28-32.

(40.) R. Casimir, Langs de lijnen van her leven (Amsterdam, 1928 [2]), pp. 32-33.

(41.) Steams and Haggerty, "The Role of Fear."

(42.) Henk van Setten, In tie schoot van her gezin. Opvoeding in Nederlandse gezinnen in de twintigste eeuw (Nijmegen, 1986).

(43.) A Dutch historian, Hugo Roling, is currently analysing twentieth-century Dutch autobiographies systematically. The hypothesis of a more traditional child-rearing style in orthodox Calvinist and Roman-Catholic families will not be confirmed. In liberal and orthodox religious families children were raised with and without understanding for their individual wishes and feelings. In Dutch autobiographical literary fiction even the orthodox Calvinist father has two images: the authoritarian patriarch, who was ready to beat out every sign of insubordination, and the deeply pious family priest.

(44.) Most prominent among this generation of sociologists was G.A. Kooy, whose Het veranderend gezin in Nederland. Een sociaal-historische studie (Leerdam, 1957) was very influential among sociologists of "modernity".

(45.) K. Ishwaran, Family life in the Netherlands (The Hague, 1959), pp. 154-161.

(46.) H.W.F. Stellwag, "Welke straffen passen ouders op hun kinderen toe?" Het Kind 54: (1954) 324-328.

(47.) Hetty Pott-Buter, Facts and Fairy Tales about Female Labour. A Seven-country Comparison, 1850-1990 (Amsterdam, 1993); Ali de Regt, "Het ontstaan van het 'moderne' gezin, 1900-1950," in Ton Zwaan, ed., Familie, huwelijk en gezin in West-Europa. Van Middeleeuwen tot moderne tijd (Amsterdam/Heerlen, 1993), pp. 219-240.

(48.) Van Setten, In de schoot, pp. 48-74.

(49.) For example: Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions. A Social History of American Family Life (New York/London, 1988), pp. 107-131.

(50.) Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 167-168, 241-244.

(51.) Bakker, "Onzekere ouders?"; Bakker, "The Lamp".

(52.) A very popular introduction to his work was: H.C. Rumke, Inleiding in de karakterkunde (Haarlem, 1929). The Neo-Calvinist Jan Waterink's handbook of psychology was partly based on this theory: J. Waterink, Ons zieleleven (Wageningen, 1946 [5]) See also: P.J. van Strien, Nederlandse psychologen en hun publiek (Assen, 1993), pp. 148-150.

(53.) See for the USA: Stearns and Haggerty, "The Role of Fear". See for Great Britain: Cathy Urwin and Elaine Sharland, "From Bodies to Minds in Childcare Literature: Advice to parents in inter-war Britain," in: Roger Cooter, ed., In the Name of the Child: Health and Welfare, 1880-1940 (London, 1992), pp. 174-199. See for Canada: Katherine Amup, Education for Motherhood. Advice for Mothers in Twentieth-Century Canada (Toronto-Buffalo-London, 1994). The popular advisor Johanna Riemens-Reurslag may be an exception to the rule that Dutch experts were not influenced by behaviorism. Her early work stresses the importance of order and regularity in a way not dissimilar to the Anglo-Saxon approach: J. Riemens-Reurslag, Onze jonge kinderen (Amsterdam 1923); J. Riemens-Reurslag, Van kind tot mensch. Kennen wij onze kinderen? Hoe voeden wij ze op? (Amsterdam, 1926); J. Riemens-Reurslag, Tot geluk geboren (2 vols.) (Amsterdam, 1927, 1929). However, after 1932 she turned her back on the almighty influence of rules and h abits, as she too came under the influence of individual psychology: J. Riemens-Reurslag, Nieuwe zakelijkheid in de opvoeding (Amsterdam, 1932); Riemens-Reurslag (ed.), Encyclopedie voor moeders. See also: Nelleke Bakker, "G.J.H. Riemens-Reurslag (1886-1950). Ritme en romantiek," in: Mineke van Essen and Mieke Lunenberg, eds., Vrouwelijke pedagogen in Nederland (Nijkerk, 1991) pp. 119-131.

(54.) Bakker, "Onzekere ouders".

(55.) For example: Casimir, Langs de lijnen, pp. 33-34; I.C. van Houte & G.J. Vos, Moeilijke kinderen. Een boek voor ouders en opvoeders (Utrecht, 1929), pp. 73-83; M.J. Langeveld, Da opvoeding van zuigeling an kleuter (Amsterdam, 1938), pp. 80-83; O. van Andel-Ripke, Nieuw leven op deze wereld (Utrecht, 1949), pp. 141-143; O. van Andel-Ripke, Kinderstudie door omgang met kinderen ('s-Gravenhage/Rotterdam, 1949), pp. 229-231.

(56.) Casimir, Langs de lijnen, 33-34; J. Riemens-Reurslag, "Angst en vrees," in: Riemens-Reurslag, ed., Encyclopaedie voor moedars, I, pp. 28-32; Langeveld, De opvoeding, pp. 80-83; P.W.J. Steinz, Angst an vrees in het kinderleven (Hoenderloo, 1940).

(57.) Bakker, "Child-rearing literature," p. 589.

(58.) Russell Jacoby, Social Amnesia. A Critique of Conformist Psychology from Adler to Laing (Hassocks, 1975), pp. 19-45.

(59.) Wilhelm Stekel's psychoanalytical handbooks for parents were translated into Dutch but were disapproved of by commentators. W. Stekel, Brieven aan een moedar (Zutphen, 1929); W. Stekel, De opvoeding der oudars (Zutphen, 1936). Other Freudian manuals, published during the interwar periode, are: A.S. Neill, Probleemkinderen (Amsterdam, 1931); Th. van Schelven, Psychologie van het kind. Een boek voor oudars an andere opvoaders (Amsterdam, 1934); Ada Citroen, Kinderpsyche en opvoeding volgens psycho-analytische opvattingen (Amsterdam, 1939).

(60.) Hertha Orgler, Alfred Adler en zijn werk. Overwinning van het minderwaardigheidscomplex (Utrecht, 1940).

(61.) Rudolf Dreikurs, Alfred Adler's Individualpsychologie (Rotterdam, 1934); P.H. Ronge, Individualpsychologia. Een systematische uiteenzetting (Utrecht, 1934). Menschenkennrnis (1927) was Adler's first work to be translated into Dutch: Alfred Adler, Mensenkennis (Utrecht, 1930). Another popular edition was: Alfred Adler et al., eds., Het moeilijke kind (Amsterdam/Antwerpen, 1953, orig. 1934).

(62.) Anton Bruder Bezzel, Alfred Adler. Die Entstehungsgeschichte einer Theorie im historischen Milieu Wiens (Gottingen, 1983); Anton Bruder Bezzel, "Zur Geschichte der Individualpsychologie Alfred Adlers," in: H.E. Luck et al., eds., Sozialgaschichte der Psychologie: Eine Einfulrung (Opladen, 1987), pp. 267-281; Paul E., Stepansky, In Freud's Shadow: Adler in Context (Hillsdale N.J., 1983).

(63.) Bakker, "Child-tearing Literature".

(64.) Fritz Kunkel and Ruth Kunkel, Opvoeding tot persoonlijkheid. Inleiding tot de Individualpsychologie (Amsterdam, 1949).

(65.) For example: Van Houte and Vos, Moeilijke kinderen; F.H. Richardson, Het nerveuze kind en zijn ouders (Amsterdam, 1929).

(66.) For example: Van Houte and Vos, Moeilijke kinderen; Adler et al., eds., Het moeilijka kind; Rudolf Dreikurs, Hoe voed ik mijn kind op? (Utrecht, 1948; Hildegard Hetzer, Opvoedingsfouten--opvoedingsraad: feiten en inzichten (Amsterdam, [1938]).

(67.) Van Houte and Vos, Moeilijke kinderen, p. 78; Riemens-Reurslag, "Angst en vrees."

(68.) Ronge, Individualpsychologie, pp. 131-135; Dreikurs, Hoe voad ik mijn kind op?, pp. 181-189; E. Wexberg, "Het vreesachtige kind," in Adler et al., eds., Het moeilijke kind, pp. 26-37; O. van Andel-Ripke, Ontwikkeling en karaktarvorming. Een bijdrage tot de psychologie op grond van practische kinderstudie (Utrecht, 1947), pp. 151-157; O. van Andel-Ripke, Kinderstudie door omgang met kindaran ('s-Gravenhage/Rotterdam, 1949), pp. 229-231.

(69.) Richardson, Her narveuze kind, pp. 153-157; Dreikurs, Hoe voed ik mijn kind op?, pp. 92-93.

(70.) Stearns and Haggerty, "The Role of Fear"; Arnup, Education for Motherhood, pp. 84-98; Urwin and Sharland, "From Bodies to Minds."

(71.) Langeveld, De opvoeding, p. 83. This young psychologist founded his advice on German hermeneutic theory, on Susan Isaacs' interpretation of psychoanalysis, and on Carl Jung's psychology.

(72.) Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 177-196.

(73.) H. Leene, Wet en Evangelie in de opvoeding (Hoenderloo 1926), p. 8; G. Meima, De haardvuren brandende. Schetsen over de opvoeding in huis (Kampen, 1928), p. 103. See also: Bakker, "Opvoeden met de harde hand?".

(74.) J. Lens, Ouders en kinderen (Amsterdam, 1927), pp. 114-116; Meima, De haardvuren, pp. 102-103.

(75.) P.G. Schreuder, Angst bij kinderen (Hoenderloo, 1928), p. 16. See also: P. van Duyvendijk, Het angstige kind (Kampen, [1938]); A. Kuypers, De ziel van het kind (Wageningen, [1943.sup.2]), pp. 80-90.

(76.) A. Kuypers, Het onbewuste in de nieuwere paedagogische psychologie (Amsterdam, l93l), p. 161.

(77.) Out of the 71 orthodox Calvinist parents' manuals that appeared between 1920 and 1950 three (dating from 1928, 1938, and 1940 respectively) treated the subject of fear exclusively. Out of the 67 liberal protestant handbooks from the same period none did so.

(78.) Bakker, "Child-rearing Literature".

(79.) For the USA: Timothy Kelly and Joseph Kelly, "American Catholics and the Discourse of Fear," in Peter N. Stearns and Jan Lewis, eds., An Emotional History of the United States (New York, 1998), pp. 259-279. For Europe and Belgium in particular: M. Depaepe, De pedagogisering achterna. Aanzet tot een genealogie van de pedagogische mentaliteit in de voorbije 250 jaar (Leuven/Amersfoort, 1998), pp. 218-223. For the Netherlands: Hanneke Westhoff, Geestelijke bevrijders. Nederlandse katholieken en hun beweging voor geestelijke volksgezondheid in de twintigste eeuw (Nijmegen, 1996), pp. 361-396.

(80.) Anonymous priest s.j., "Het leerstuk der eeuwige straf", Trjdschrift voor R.K. Ouders en Opvoeders 3 (1921): 62-64, p. 64.

(81.) J. Uylings, "Gepaste tuchtmiddelen', Tijdschrift voor R.K. Ouders en Opvoeders 6 (1924): 95-99; A. Hulsmans, "Kinderlijk", Tijdschrift voor R.K. Ouders en Opvoeders 6 (1924): 439-443; A. Berkvens-Hulsmans, Van ouders en kinderen (Tilburg, 1926); A. Berkvens-Hulsmans, Licht en kracht (Tilburg, 1927). See also: Bakker, Kind en karakter, pp. 197-213.

(82.) Sis Heyster, Opvoedingsmoeilijkheden van iederen dag. Een boek voor moeders en andere opvoedsters (Amsterdam, [1938]), pp. 35-42; Sis Heyster, Levende opvoedkunde (2 vols.) (Leiden, 1948-1949) I, pp. 122-128; A. Chorus, Zuigeling en kleuter. Over de psychologie en de opvoeding van het kind vanaf de geboorte tot de schoolleeftijd (Heemstede, 1947), pp. 107-111; A.M.J. Chorus, Schrik, vrees, angst en verlegenheid (Utrecht, 1950).

(83.) See for example: R.P. van Calcar, Over de psychologie van den angst en haar beteekenis voor de opvoeding (Leiden, 1934); Ph. Kohnstamm, "Angst als paedagogisch probleem," Paedagogische Studien 19 (1938): 175-179; C.A. Mennicke, De angst in het leven van de mens (Amsterdam, [1940]); J. Neumann, Leven zonder angst. Psychologie en psychotherapie van den modernen mens (Amsterdam, [1937]); B. Stokvis, "De beteekenis van den angst in den opvoeding," Het Kind 41 (1940): 68-70.

(84.) See for the general cultural impact of World War I on European culture: M. Eksteins, Lenteriten. De Eerste Wereldoorlog en het ontstaan van de nieuwe tijd (Houten, 1990).

(85.) A Dutch translation of Soren Kierkegaard's study of fear was published in 1932: Vrees en beven (Putten: 1937, reissue of the 1845 edition). Martin Heidegger discussed fear and anxiety in his Sein und Zeit (1927).

(86.) W.H.R. Rivers, Instinct and the unconscious (Cambridge, 1924). The novel The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker (London, 1995) is based on his life and work.

(87.) The leading educationalist Ph. Kohnstamm discussed fear extensively in his major theoretical work, Persoonlijkheid in wording. Schets eener chistelijke opvoedkunde (Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink, 1959, orig. 1929): 311-334. He compared a series of theories about fear. He preferred Kunkel's interpretation to Rivers' and felt sympathy for all those interpretations that stressed the relevance of feelings of guilt. Freud was challenged to treat fear by the publication of Rank's The Trauma of Birth (1923), which concept was never integrated into orthodox psychoanalysis. Freud criticized it in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926) and a decade later in Analysis, Terminable and Interminable. See: Ronald W. Clark, Frend: the Man and the Cause (London, 1980), pp. 446-460.

(88.) Van Calcar, Over de psychologie; Kohnstamm, Persoonlijkheid in wording, 311-334; Mennicke, De angst. A. Kuijpers, a Neo-Calvinist psychologist, tried to reconcile the concept of the unconscious with his religion in his dissertation, Het onbewuste in de nieuwere paedagogische psychologie (Amsterdam, 1931), where he discussed fear extensively, pp. 161-194. E.A.D.E. Carp was a Roman Catholic psychiatrist, who was trained in psychoanalysis, but was no convert. He introduced an analytical approach of childhood fear in: Conflicten van het kinderleven ('s-Gravenhage, 1934), pp. 11-42. Later he stressed the relevance of feelings of guilt to explain the origin of fear: Angst en vrees (Utrecht/Antwerpen, 1960).

(89.) John Demos, "Oedipus and America: Historical perspectives on the reception of psychoanalysis in the United States," in Joel Pfister and Nancy Schnog, Inventing the Psychological. Toward a Cultural History of Emotional Life in America (New Haven/London, 1997), pp. 63-78 (reprint of the 1978 original), p. 65; John Demos, "History and the Psychosocial: Reflections on 'Oedipus and America'," in Pfister and Schnog, Inventing the Psychological, pp. 79-83.

(90.) Mennicke, De angst, pp. 58-60; Stokvis, "De beteekenis," p. 68; W.J. Bladergroen, "Angst en leugen in het kinderleven," Het Kind 53 (1953): 72-73, 108-109, 148-149, 179-180, 251-252, 288-290, 323-326, 396-397, Het Kind 54 (1954): 35-38.

(91.) M.J. Langeveld, "Vrees," in R. Casimir and J.E. Verheyen, eds., Paedagogische encyclopaedie (2 vols.) (Groningen/Batavia/Antwerpen, [1947]) 11, pp. 592-593.

(92.) Stokvis, "De beteekenis," p. 69; Mennicke, De angst, p. 65.

(93.) Heyster, Levende opvoedkunde I, pp. 131-134; Bladergroen, "Angst en leugen" 1953, pp. 396-397.

(94.) Benjamin Spock, Baby en kleuterverzorging ('s-Graveland, 1950), edited by Ph.H. Fiedeldij Dop. Among Dutch family guidance publications Spock's work distinguishes itself not so much in terms of the advised parenting style but rather by his radical denial of a child's responsibility of his own condition. Nevertheless, the book became very popular. He was one of the first experts who successfully blurred the lines between denominational groups; even Roman Catholic and orthodox Calvinist parents joined his audience.
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