Advice to mothers about managing children's behaviours in Canada's premier woman's magazine: a comparison of 1945–1956 with 1990–2010


  • Juanne N. Clarke

    Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
    • Correspondence:

      Juanne N. Clarke,

      Department of Sociology,

      Wilfrid Laurier University,

      75 University Avenue West,

      Waterloo, Ontario,

      Canada, N2L 3C5


    Search for more papers by this author


Recent research and theorizing has characterized contemporary mothering as medicalized, intensive and risky. The rate of diagnosis of children's mental health issues has grown rapidly, particularly since the 90s. This paper examines the construction of mothering in regard to children's behaviours and mental health through an exploratory and qualitative content analysis of the portrayal of advice to mothers in Chatelaine Magazine, the premier women's magazine published in Canada. The time periods chosen for comparison were 1945–1956 and 1990–2010. The first period was selected because it was a time of dramatic changes that occurred in family, occupational and domestic life for women immediately after World War II. The second represents the modern period. The findings of the paper suggest that mothering was intensive, medicalized and risky in both periods although the conceptualizations of problems differed.