For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 29 Dec 2013.
Swedish society is well known for its progressive stance on a wide range of social policies regarding children. New parents get 16 months’ maternity or paternity leave. Generous childcare support means that 92 per cent of Swedish children are in institutional care from the ages of 18 months to five years, when they are eligible to attend school. A total ban on smacking kids has been in force since 1979.
But all is not well with Swedish kids. School grades are dropping. Truancy rates and anxiety disorders are on the rise. Psychiatrists and academics point to long day care and lack of parental discipline as leading causes of such problems.
Commenting on the trends, Family Voice Australia National Director, Dr David Phillips, said Australian “Prime Minister Tony Abbott should take note – and alter his paid parental leave scheme to allow mums to care for their own toddlers.”
He said, “The grim alternative is to produce a nation of out-of-control, depressed brats.”
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.