Sociologists see childhood as socially constructed as it is created and defined by society. The position that children occupy in society is not fixed but can be changed depending on different times, places and cultures. Some sociologists take a ‘March of progress view’ claiming that the position of children is improving. The ‘March of progress’ view argues that over the past few centuries childhood in western societies has been improving steadily and is better than ever today. This is as children today are seen as precious and the idea of childhood is fundamentally different from adults. Sociologists suggest that children are not physically and psychologically mature enough to live their lives without a huge amount of support from their parents, this means children are becoming more valued than in previous generations.
Sociologists such as Aries and Shorter hold a ‘march of progress view’ they argue that today’s children are better cared for, educated and protected. Children today are protected from harm as there are strong laws put in place against child abuse and labor, this would obviously create a better position for children in society as they are not being exploited. Not all sociologists agree with this view, Marxists and Feminists reject this view and argue that society is based on conflict between social groups and genders. They claim that some groups may have more power, status and wealth than others. Both Marxists and Feminists claim there are inequalities among children as if children are from a higher social group they will have more opportunities and experiences. For example Bonked claims that girls do five times more domestic labor than boys.
They also claim that there are even inequalities between children and adults, arguing the children have greater control and protection, Firestone argues that the protection from paid work and being exploited is not to protect children at all but in fact to form further inequality by segregating children and making them more dependent on adults and therefore easier to control. Overall the March of progress sociologists argue than the family has become far more child centered than ever and perhaps what the family is revolved around, therefore improving the position of children massively.