Stop beating on Sweden’s parents!
By Caroline Olsson
Translation: Ruby Harrold-Claesson, Lawyer, President of the NCHR
This article was previously published on the Swedish Internet Site, Newsmill.se – 2009-12-03
Swedish authorities and legal institutions have a negative attitude towards parenthood, which is not good for the relationship between children and parents. Many children need more time with their parents to feel safe. Now the government intends be even stricter with school attendance, and even prevent parents who want to take care of their children’s schooling, so-called Home-schooling. They are also negative to children’s absence from school for travel with their families, and in general they announce “tougher measures” which will not help the confused children.
Children need their parents as life-coaches, but there is so little time in today’s stressful society. Children need a solid relationship with an adult to find their identity, and develop their personalities in a natural way.
Swedish society does not respect parenthood. Parents are seen as some sort of service to the school system, which will ensure the provision of children who are rested, fed, have done their homework and are interested in going to school.
I am sure that very many of the problems of today’s society, have arisen precisely because time for children and parents to be together has shrunk. This has happened gradually, and perhaps imperceptibly. We have given priority to other things, and now we need to wake up and see that too many children are suffering.
Those in power do not see this connection, so now they want to legislate more stringent attendance at school and even “tougher measures”. They want to prevent parents who have the opportunity to take responsibility for their children’s schooling, so-called Home-schooling, by requiring “special reasons”. It will also be more difficult to get time off from school for example to travel with the family. They have not tried to find out how very many children suffer today in the schools, due to bullying, harassment, and the like. Politicians talk about the “right to education”, as if there are no problems in the schools. Many children and young people are experiencing the “right” to attend school and social interaction, which the politicians are talking about, rather like a prison and a torment. A very large proportion of children today are exhibiting anxiety about going to school.
Politicians say: “We must have schools, because we have had them since the 1800s.” Usually it would not be so modern for you to say that something is from the 1800s. We are living in a completely different society now. Back then they wanted to increase public knowledge. But now the level of education of most adults is much higher than primary school, so now there is no reason to force all children to go to school, if the parents have other options.
The Government’s new Education Act Bill sends out a very serious message to all the parents in this country. We are now being prohibited from giving our children a better alternative to going to school. Parents are simply not allowed to judge what is good for their own children.
Sweden needs a new approach to parenthood. We need to see parents as experts on their children. The solution is not to pull children away from their parents even more, but to support children and parents, to make use of all the time they can get to spend together.
Sweden is selling out the immense power that parents’ responsibility for their children represents. This is a disaster. We cannot afford to do without it. It is upon that power that a society rests. If you who are in power continue to display this negative attitude, you will undermine the whole society. You cannot replace parenting by doubling the number of school nurses and counsellors. Parenthood cannot be substituted at all. Your animosity towards parents will only cost countless extra billions.