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Have Sweden’s permissive parents given birth to a generation of monsters?
Have Sweden’s permissive parents given birth to a generation of monsters?


I remember being very upset by the UNICEF Report many years ago that showed that the UK was among many countries where children were unhappy and extolling the virtues of the Scandinavian way of raising happy, confident children.

So I was fascinated to read an article published in The Telegraph claiming that Sweden’s permissive parents may given birth to a generation of monsters and very unhappy young people.

I have long been an advocate of parents being parents, not their children’s friend and I work all the time with parents afraid to say ‘NO’ to their children for fear of damaging their child’s self esteem. But often it is down to parents feeling unsure of their own rules and their own lack of confidence.

Children thrive on rules and boundaries as as a former Deputy Head teacher they also thrive on routine.

So Sweden, Norway and Denmark who once prided themselves on their enlightened, child-centred parenting style are, it seems, having second thoughts about the wisdom of letting their offspring do what they want, whenever they want.

A best-selling Swedish academic has concluded that permissive parenting is creating a generation of arrogant young adults who lack social empathy, personal resilience and, after a childhood of pampering, are destined to be bitterly disappointed in life.

“Saying ‘no’ to a child is not the same as beating a child. Parents should act like parents, not best friends,” says David Eberhard, psychiatrist, father of six and author of How Children Took Power. “They should prepare their kids for adult life by teaching them how to behave, not treat them like princes or princesses. In Sweden, they think that any form of intervention against the child is a sort of molesting.

“The so-called experts think that parents should negotiate, rather than punish. They have misunderstood the concept of parenting. Children are not as fragile as they think.”

Eberhard, 47, points to a breakdown of discipline in schools, plummeting grades and a worrying rise in attempted suicides among teenagers as evidence that allowing children to be boss has failed.

Read more here


To listen to my interview on BBC Radio about Unhappy Children go to

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