In medieval times, there was a system in place for parents to deal harshly with children, sending them away to live and work in someone else’s home.
“Around the year 1500, an assistant to the Venetian ambassador to England was struck by the strange attitude to parenting that he had encountered on his travels.
He wrote to his masters in Venice that the English kept their children at home “till the age of seven or nine at the utmost” but then “put them out, both males and females, to hard service in the houses of other people, binding them generally for another seven or nine years”. The unfortunate children were sent away regardless of their class, “for everyone, however rich he may be, sends away his children into the houses of others, whilst he, in return, receives those of strangers into his own”.
It was for the children’s own good, he was told – but he suspected the English preferred having other people’s children in the household because they could feed them less and work them harder.“