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Childhood was not necessarily viewed as a distinct stage of the life cycle; rather, children were viewed as miniature adults .
It was not until the 15th and 16th centuries, with the rise of the middle class, that childhood began to be considered a separate developmental stage .
Records have documented cruelty to children by adults throughout the ages and across societies.
Physical abuse has historically been justified because it was believed that severe physical punishment was necessary to discipline, to rid the child of his or her evil nature, and to educate children .
Furthermore, immigrant families may be isolated, and isolation, along with the stressors, increases these families' vulnerability to child maltreatment and other problems .By the mid-19th century, a romantic perspective emerged and children began to be seen as the "torchbearers" of the future .There was much emphasis on education, training, and the overall nurturance of children.Hispanic infants comprise the largest portion, representing more than half of all births in 26 states including California, Texas, and New Mexico .The number of white children in the United States declined between 20, and by 2020, they are projected to make up 49% of this population [29,45].
Many Renaissance scholars argued that children had their own unique needs, which were distinct from adults; however, this perspective was primarily held by the upper middle class .