Definition: The science of bringing up healthy children.
Origin: This science was founded in France in 1866, with the first English references appearing in print in 1887. It was derived from the Latin word ‘puer’, meaning ‘child’ and ‘culture’ – referring to the idea of ‘cultivating’ a child. A much more alarmist translation than the rather benign ‘Child Cultivation’ would be ‘Child Farming’, given that puericulture has the same structure as ‘agriculture’, etc.
Why This Word?
Chrissy and I are engaged in the practice of puericulture – that is, we have kids … Although the word today is almost exclusively used by the medical profession to refer to anything that has been established to assist in the health and well-being of children (Puericulture clinics, for example), it seems that the word still, in essence, refers to the craft of child rearing – or ‘parenting’ as it is also known.
How to use this word:
Puericultureis one of those words that was coined by a profession and never made it into general circulation. It was coined by the medical profession – and there, to this day, it still resides.
I think that its high time parents liberate this word for general use. There is nothing more trepedacious as rearing a child – so parents may as well use the fanciest term for it. After all – they deserve to use it. Have you taken a career break to raise children and are now trying to return to the work place? Are you looking for résumé-friendly terminology to showcase your skill-set? You, my friend, can refer to yourself as a Puericulturist.