This paper has the purpose to analyze historically the concept of childhood in Brazil. How the representation of children went from a secondary role during the colonization system to focus of concern in the 19th Century, through the performance of Hygienist Doctors. In order to do so, we studied all the Theses of the Medical College of Rio de Janeiro, produced from 1832 to 1930 regarding children. By this study, we intended to search how the construction and discipline of the children's body are reflected in the development of a Psychological Science. Throughout the study, we found discussions on themes that involve not only the body, but also the comprehension of a child's soul, the predominance of a scientific paradigm and of evolutionist theories which were in effect at the time. Moreover, associated to the image of children, we also found the importance of women - while mother and wet-nurse - as a family keeper, composing a new model for the feminine figure.
Childhood; medicine; psychology