Contradictory Interests: Work, parents, and offspring in early modern Holland

M.P.C. van der Heijden

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The consistory notes of the Dutch Reformed Church (1573-1700) reveal conflicts over work between parents and children during the early modern period. Two issues that caused particular tension were the labor experience of future sons-in-law and the division of household tasks. Parents' concerns about the financial position of their future son-in-law were sincere and realistic. Skills definitely bettered the new family's chances to survive financially. Children were not expected to take care of their destitute parents nor were parents obliged to support their poverty-stricken married children. Power struggles between children and stepparents also resulted in conflicts over work. After a widowed parent remarried, children and stepparents had to redefine their roles in the new situation. The child who had assumed responsibilities when a parent died resisted a stepparent who took over those tasks. Although the cases presented may not represent everyday interactions between parents and children, they do provide insights into how work caused problems between parents and older children. © 2004 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-370
JournalThe History of the Family
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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