Welcome to Part 18 of my World Building blog series :D I’ll be covering just about every topic I can think of that goes into world crafting. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know :)
What defines a child in your world? What is the age of majority and what are the set societal differences between child and adult? In some historical settings children were treated as small adults and the concept of childhood didn’t really exist. Does it exist in your world?
What are the points of life where someone is no longer considered a child and does it match up with the age of majority or are there other distinctions? For example; at thirteen a bar mitzvah might occur so within the religion they are considered an adult, but not in society at large. Another example would be different age limits for getting married, voting, owning property, etc. that create stages of liminal adulthood that slowly allow increased rights and responsibilities until you achieve an undisputed adulthood that applies across all spheres of society.
Are there any ceremonies, etc. that mark the transition from childhood to adulthood? How does this change based on the religion, class, culture, etc.? If you are planning to have your protagonists be minors, be sure to examine how that impacts them vs if they were adults in this world.
Does child marriage exist? Are children able to be betrothed or engaged? If yes, be sure to explain why. What are the societal views on these concepts? Are they condoned or taboo?
Are children protected? Are they viewed as a group that needs protection in your world? Historically some families had many children because of high infant mortality and needing the labor force for farms, etc. How does this play into the society of the world you’re building? Do you have a distinction between children assisting with family work compared to them being fully employed elsewhere?
There are lots of examples through history to show you how children were viewed by different societies. Sometimes they are coddled, protected and educated in a safe environment until they are adults where in others they are viewed as free labor that can be abused and exploited. Determine the overall societal view of this and be sure not to forget the laws surrounding this as well.
How does your character feel about children? Are they able to engage with them or do they have an aversion? How do your characters views line up with the societal views and expectations of children?
How are children educated? Is it mandatory? You’ll have gone over this when you developed your jobs and education, but it can be further explored in regards to and child characters. Are there other differences between children and adults? Do they have a distinctly different style of clothing, consume different food, etc.?