Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Child-rearing culture in Sweden

Is Sweden raising a generation of brats?

The country has built a child-friendly reputation on its mandates for long parental leave and provision for state-funded day care from age 1. But a new book paints an ugly underbelly to Scandinavia's child-centric ways. Youngsters here—deemed "competent individuals" by the state and legally protected from spanking—are becoming the chief decision makers in homes at very young ages in what some Swedes think is an alarming trend. ...

One example Dr. Eberhard cites: A teacher who confiscates the cellphones of children who text or play games in the classroom will later have to answer to parents who say their children's rights have been violated. Some Swedish teachers end up spending time reasoning with the children to try and get them to put away their cellphones. The same scenario may play out with sending children out of class for talking.

Dr. Eberhard notes that Swedish children routinely make family decisions like what to eat for dinner, what to watch on TV, and where to go on vacation. ...

Strict child-welfare laws may make parents more hesitant to discipline children. Allegations of physical discipline are investigated by a team of police, psychologists and prosecutors, and fines can be steep, reaching the equivalent of $1,000. Arrests are rare.
--Jens Hansegard, WSJ, on anti-Tiger parents