HuffPost Living 7 November 2013
It’s not likely that Canadians will read Swedish psychiatrist David Eberhard’s new book about Swedish parenting. But the headline in the U.K. press says quite a lot: “Sweden’s liberal approach to raising children has bred a nation of ill-mannered brats.” Dr. Eberhard is asking Swedish parents to reclaim their parental role.
In fact, the Swedish approach to raising children is not best described as “liberal.” Rather the Swedish approach is that the state has taken over raising children from parents through the state run daycare system — a phenomenon I have studied for several years as an educator and a writer.
North Americans are presented with a vision of heavenly perfection in Swedish daycare but in reality, education outcomes are declining, teens are anxiety-ridden and misbehaving and the quality of parenting is suffering.
Ninety-two percent of all 18 month to five year olds are in daycare in Sweden. Universality is a much admired principle and it’s true that this has been achieved.
However, the outcomes are otherwise unremarkable, even negative, for psychological health, learning, maternal health and parenting.