Swedes are now officially allowed to hit their kids. As long as it’s not too hard. After years of ridicule from the international community (ok I made that part up) for basically banning all forms of corporal punishment (I didn’t make that up) against kids, Swedes can now lay a smackdown on their children. A Swedish Smackdown if you will. As The Local reports “[t]he 1979 Parenting Act states that children ‘may not be subjected to corporal chastisement or other demeaning treatment.’" Most people read that to mean that no kid should ever be touched or even yelled at.
A surprising (to me) number of Stockholmers interviewed by the Metro, a beacon of journalistic integrity, agreed that kids should never be spanked. One even saying that even raising your voice should be avoided. On page two of the above link you’ll find Afsaneh Amini, who says: “Det är glasklart – man ska aldrig röra barnet i uppfostringssyfte. Man ska inte skrika heller om man kan undvika det.” Which translates to: “It’s crystal clear - you should never touch the child when it comes to child rearing. You should not yell either if you can avoid it.” No problem. No yelling at all. My parents had to yell. There were three boys in the house being little hellions as loudly as we could.
Well, despite these incredible crazy parents who never yell at their kids, Sweden has made a change. As long as you don’t hit your kids too hard and you have their wellbeing in mind you can get away with it.
A little girl was at a checkup and told a nurse that she had been hit. She said that her dad it her on the butt. The dad admitted to it and was then put on trial for assault. For spanking his daughter. Assault. Luckily, there are people in Sweden who aren’t idealistic to a fault. The court ruled that the spanking was not hard enough or done with ill will and so should not be considered assault. Well done Court, well done.
Swedes have this strange view that a spanking is akin to child abuse. In fact, that’s exactly how the newspaper described it with the title: “Barnmisshandlare blev frikänd,” which translates to: “Child abuser acquitted.” So even though the Swedes won’t show the faces of accused murderers they will continue to refer to someone who was acquitted of a crime as a child abuser. Good. So someone who spanks their kid but isn’t convicted of any crime doesn’t get the same respect as a person who might have pushed someone into the path of an oncoming train. Makes sense to me.
I got spanked every now and again. By my father. A Swede. I probably even got spanked by him while living in Sweden. Or maybe the move to the US was just so he could spank us without fear of repercussions. Hopefully the statute of limitations has run out on this. Wouldn’t want the old man to end up in prison. Anyway, never once did I think that a spanking was meant to do anything than remind me that I was being a little shit. I was never left with any physical harm, nor mental for that matter. I think I turned out pretty normal too. Along with my younger brothers. None of us are hardened criminals, none of us torture small innocent animals, pretty normal really.
Kids these days are just wimps. Back in my day we took a spanking and didn’t tattle to the police. But the fact that this little girl’s lawyer is planning to appeal the verdict really bothers me. The lawyer is pitting little girl against parents even after one decision has already been made. If anything, the whole process of trying to convict the parents will do more harm to the little girl than a quick spanking ever could. Welcome to Sweden.