William Whately, Preacher of the word of God in Banbury, Oxfordshire, wrote a fascinating treatise on marriage in 1624. The description below of the behavior of some English children of Whately's time, will seem all too familiar to a few contemporary parents:

Many a child puts his mother to after-throes more terrible, than those with which she brought him into the world at first. . . . Sometimes they prove stubborn, sometimes riotous, sometimes unclean, sometimes false, and sometimes bring themselves to infamous punishments, and untimely deaths. Sometimes they be lewd before marriage and vex the parents, with beholding a bastard of their names. . .

Set them to learning they learn nothing but vanity: set them to labour, they labour for nothing, but to undo themselves; running away from their Masters; it may be also robbing them, and having run themselves out of breath, come home ragged, and miserable, but not penitent, ready to do as bad again, and put their parents to extremity of care, so that they are even distracted, and at their wits ends, not knowing what course in the world to take with them, because both fair means and foul means have been used, and none will avail. .

Or if thou escape these petit [sic] crosses, in thy children, how could thou brook a stubborn, rebellious son, or a daughter, that will interchange words with thee, and snap thee up short, and chide faster than thyself? That will cast upon thee a leering, horse-like, contemptuous eye and will stab thy soul, with a lowering, pouting, scornful look . . . that will steal thy goods from thee, and consume it in ill company, whores and drunkenness that wastes all that thou hast gotten and given to him. . . .

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