In How The Children Took Power, the author and psychiatrist David Eberhard claims that since Sweden became the first country in the world to ban smacking in 1979, a measure now adopted by more than 30 countries including the UK, parents have also become less willing to discipline their children verbally. Eberhard argues that this has led kids to become the key decision-makers in families, and that parents and kids suffer as a result.
On paper at least, Sweden seems a perfect society for children and parents.
We are always told so by the ‘Guardian’, aren’t we?
But despite these apparent advantages, Eberhard argues that there has been a downside to the measures, which is evident in the increasing number of anxiety disorders and self-harming cases among young Swedish people.
The UN has also pointed to an increase in child obesity.
“We’ve gone from not being physical towards children to not being allowed to say anything to them – it’s not the same thing,” says Eberhard.
No, it’s not. But it’s an expected progression
, and I defy anyone
to tell me that it wasn’t at the back of the minds of the people who thought this up…
“We have this notion that we must over-protect children, because there are so many terrible things that can happen to them. The effect is that is very hard to tell someone who is so fragile what to do. They’ve become like porcelain dolls.
“We don’t have the courage to correct them. That automatically transfers decision-making to the child,” says the father of six.
As we have seen in other areas
, not only has that lead to the concept that children are untouchable, but they are ‘truthful’ as well, when we know they are often anything but!
Eberhard’s book has sparked debate among Swedish parents about how much children should be allowed to influence the modern family.
A free parenting course called “All Children in the Centre” offered by local Swedish authorities was set up in 2010 to support parents with young children, and one of its key messages was that punishments and boundaries are not necessarily the right approach to take with kids.
And, with the lack of boundaries, comes the sort of ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenarios
we often see amongst the underclass, where anything goes...
“If you want a child to co-operate the best way is to have a close relationship,” the psychologist Kajsa Lönn-Rhodin, one of the architects of the course, told The Local. She rejects the idea that children have taken over and says a bigger problem is posed by “harsh parenting” .
kids must be delightful company, eh?
Rebecka Edgren Alden, editor-in-chief of Mama, a Swedish parenting magazine, said she could relate to the idea that children do now rule the roost, and that is not always a positive step.
“Too much choice is probably not good for a child – I say that not as an expert, but as a mother of three,” she says.
“We adults have responsibility for them, and it’s up to us to decide.”
But overall, she says she believes the advantages of the Swedish system outweigh the disadvantages.
She's drunk too much of the Kool-Aid to turn back now!
Ebhard says it’s time to stop thinking of our children, Swedish or otherwise, as delicate, brittle creatures.
“Quick fixes don’t exist, but I keep coming back to the same thing – children aren’t as fragile as we think.”
Well, no. But some parents, as MacHeath is quick to point out
, are determined to try to see them that way!
Thanks for the link!
Eberhard argues that this has led kids to become the key decision-makers in families, and that parents and kids suffer as a result
And teachers. And fellow-passengers, -diners, waiters, shop assistants and everyone else who has to put up with children with inflated ideas of their own importance. I also wonder if the recently publicised issue of sibling bullying is another unmentioned consequence of these policies.
It's ironic that to be perceived as a problem requiring action, the issue has to be portrayed in terms of self-harm, obesity or anxiety disorders affecting the children themselves rather than the way their behaviour affects those around them.
(Meanwhile, o/t, remember your comment at my place that 'The Basildon chavs could take Snake Plissken?'
I used to work on schools projects years ago and my favourite was the electricians when they got pissed off with the kids would shout. 'Big mac and chips, get used to it, its all you're good for.'
It's amazing how a little good old fashioned physical violence directed towards the parents of precious little darlings has a surprisingly tempering effect on their misdeeds.
For the sceptics out there, ever wonder why people with names like "Harry the hatchet", "Slasher Stevens" or "Teeth puller Tony", rarely if ever have the worry of their mum either having their windows broken, house burgled or being mugged for their pension on the way back from the post office?
No? Me neither..
And now the children are grown are they worthy.
Possibly not - the epidemic of drug taking, obesity,litigaton all sort come from the young of the 70s.
Dont worry though. as you have stopped breeding the newcomers will sort things out. Like it or not.
This exchange is from Trip Advisor
Foster parents failed to supervise their boys (son age 14 and foster child 10) one evening. Given the euphemisms, I can take a guess at what the boys did. The campsite owners had to shut the mens' showers for two hours to clean it following complaints. The owners waited until the parents had finished entertaining so as not to embarrass them in front of their guests, then called them in to the office and asked them to leave the site the next day.
The parents seem utterly unable to understand that it was their job to supervise the boys since they knew they had certain needs, and that had they done so, the situation would not have arisen. Instead, they seem to be blaming the operator for refusing to engage in a child-psychology and training session. But that isn't the job of the campsite operator; they had no option but to make sure that the facilities were cleaned to public service standards and it would not have been appropriate to use unpaid, uninsured child labour to do it.
"Immaculate but it comes at a price" (click through preview)
I am not trying to argue that the boys have no responsibility. This is to point out that since the parents will not accept responsibility themselves, they have taught the boys that they can do as they like and then claim that anyone who criticises them is 'reinforcing their feelings of worthlessness'.
Well, how about behaving worthily?
Explain yourself Anon by "The newcomers will sort things out"?
Do you mean the Swedes, us Brits or the west in general?
I think you're wrong, and here's why. Nationalism is on the rise, the boomer progressives are all starting to die off, along with their ideals.
The exact same mechanism that brought about the progressive mentality against the perceived Victorian values will come into play once it all comes to its logical conclusion.
Once the system collapses under its own weight, which it surely will do, and not too long into the future in my view. People will be looking for scapegoats, and all our little prejudices will be magnified and come to the fore. Then when the dust has settled, we'll be living under an East Germanesq regime for a further 2 generations.
"...and everyone else who has to put up with children with inflated ideas of their own importance."
I see this virtually every day now. It's become an epidemic. :/
"...'Big mac and chips, get used to it, its all you're good for.'"
I doubt it - they think they are too good to serve others, and up with that, McDonalds will not put!
"...since the parents will not accept responsibility themselves, they have taught the boys that they can do as they like and then claim that anyone who criticises them is 'reinforcing their feelings of worthlessness'."
Oh, yes. Like all problems, it begins in the home.
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