Thursday, September 5, 2019

Raising boys in the 1800's

Raising kids today is quite different than it was in the 1800s. For the most part anyway. Hi, Kit 
Morgan here and today I want to talk a little about raising boys back in the day. I came across a wonderful book called Ungovernable. It's about raising children in the Victorian era. In it, the author mentions one Ascott Robert Hope Moncrieff, a lifelong schoolmaster of boys, who describes the sort of Victorian boy he liked in his 1886, A Book About Boys.

I like a happy, healthy, unsophisticated boy, who 
is a boy, and not a young gentleman; active, restless
generous, brave, truthful, simple, and pure-minded.
who thinks it half a pleasure to bear pain without
crying, climbs trees, tears his trousers, has frequent 
tumbles, bumps, and bruises, and comes home now and 
then splashed over with mud.

Do you ever think of boys covered head to toe in mud, who've been in all sorts of mischief? What about strong teen boys navigating through those awkward years with confidence and chivalry? Our society might have changed, but a boy's biology hasn't. Back in the day, it was the Mother's job direct a boy's healthy animalistic nature into something noble. How did folks back in the day accomplish this? Well, today's pediatrician would faint at what they did! Before the child was even born, those that wanted sons, made sure to expose mother and fetus to a good balance of manly influences. Such as fine cigar smoke and nourishing well-aged whiskey. Then there was witnessing bloodshed in an honorable and valiant manner of course. Yikes!

Today our kids see things on television, sure, but at least we don't put a woman who's expecting in a cigar smoked filled room and have her drink whiskey! The raising of children (not to mention our smarts in the matter) has come a long way. Thank Heaven for that. But they did give their boys some space and spent time directing and tempering their son's natural nature. They encouraged them to play sports, just as we still do. Parents were strict back then, sure, but the world was harsh. Our cultures are so radically different now in so many ways, yet our basic natures remain the same. How different would be if raised in the latter part of the nineteenth century? Now there's something to think about.  Maybe this is one of the reasons we love reading historicals. It's fun to imagine what life was like back then. Parts of it we can do without, poor conditions in places, oddball medical practices and such. But there was a simplicity and wholesomeness we crave, including for our children. Even if they're grown.

Kit Morgan is the best selling author of western historical romance. You can check out her books on her website here.


  1. Hi, I enjoyed reading this post. Pretty nice photos also. I learned some things from this post as I usually do . I think that was a little crazy the men exposing the poor fetus and the mother to manly things ! Little boys for sure are rougher then little girls. This is a very interesting post. Thank you so very much. Have a Great weekend. God Bless you.

  2. I agree, Kit. I do like reading about the wholesome part of the Old West, but I prefer living now.