Is Sweden Raising a Generation of Brats? In How Children Took Power, David Eberhard, a Swedish psychiatrist and father of six, argues Sweden’s child-centric culture has gone too far. The book has sparked a fierce debate, reports Jens Hansegard in the Wall Street Journal.
. . . his book suggests the over-sensitivity to children and a reluctance to discipline has bred a nation of ouppfostrade, which loosely translates to “badly raised children.” “All this kowtowing to the kids actually causes kids and society more harm than good,” Dr. Eberhard said in an interview. He suggests the trend could contribute to higher anxiety levels or depression at a later stage in life for these children.
Swedish students have been falling behind on international exams. Swedes look enviously at countries like Finland, which has more discipline in schools and where teachers retain an old-school authority they have lost in Sweden.”
“The kids of today, who are the children of parents who did not experience much discipline themselves, become very obstinate and self-centered,” says Ida-Maria Lindros, 31, a teacher outside of Stockholm. A typical scene at her school might go like this: “I ask a child to clean up after himself, and he replies ‘No, you’re not my boss, you cannot decide what I’m supposed to do,’ ” she says. “They’re very anti-authoritarian.”
. . . “If you get your way all the time, you won’t develop empathy and you’ll have problems respecting other people’s wishes,” says Beatrice Nyström, a Swedish developmental psychologist.
Swedish parents get long parental leaves in their children’s first year, but then universal day care encourages parents to disconnect, says educator Jonas Himmelstrand. “The state is sending out the message that you don’t have to raise your children yourself,” says Himmelstrand. “Day care and schools will raise your kids, and when the kids come home, you can just be their friend.”