Maternity / Paternity

Over the course of the 19th century, the bourgeois concept of nuclear family took shape, reinforcing the emotional bonds between progenitors and their offspring and focusing paternity/maternity on education and socialization of the children. The woman took on special importance in child rearing and their upbringing, idealizing her image as mother, while the father was the moral example and the one who focused attention on instructing the children, especially the sons. This primarily affected the upper levels of society, but gradually spread to the rest of the social classes. Amongst the lower strata, the need to contribute to supporting the family hindered access to education. In any case, even though the mother was responsible for child rearing, control over all members of the family fell to the father, who legally exercised parental authority over the children and legal guardianship of his wife.