torsdag 6 augusti 2009

Corporal punishment of children in Sweden

The right of the swedish parents to spank their children was abolished in 1966. A proper ban was made march 15 1979 and upheld in parenting act of the swedish law by July 1:st 1979.

"Children have the right to care, security and a good upbringing. Children shall be treated with respect for their person and integrity and shall not be subjected to corporal punishment or otherwise demeaning treatment"

This clarifyes that the law regarding assault in 3 chapter 5 § in the penal law also covers the corporal punishment of children. Sweden was the first country to do this.

Corporal punishment in school was abolished in 1958 when the new school law passed.

In 1965 53% of swedish adults were in favour of the use of corporal punishment as a diciplinary tool. In 1994 the number i favour had dropped to 11%. The usage of corporal punishement of children is today is very low in international comparison.

We can se a continuing fall of the acceptance of corporal punishment in the 21 century but at the same time there has been a rise in the actual assault on children from 2000 to 2006. This rise, however horrifying is small, and it is possile that it will fall once more and isn't a break in the trend. And worse is that the percentege of children subjected to aggravated corporal punishment has been hovering around 3-4% since the 80:ies. The same numbers subjected to aggravated corporal punishment in the US. However, that kind of use of violence is hardly ever swayed by changing societal attiudes but requiers specialised help. (1)

Since Sweden passed its ban on corporal punishment in 1979, 22 other nations have followed:

1983: Finland; 1987: Norway; 1989: Austria; 1994: Cyprus; 1997: Denmark; 1998: Latvia; 1999: Croatia, Israel; 2000: Germany, Bulgaria; 2003: Iceland; 2004: Romania, Ukraine, Hungary; 2006: Greece; 2007: Chile, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela(2)

We've also had showings of "Supernanny" and such shows here in sweden but the methods depicted there (Time out) are discussed and not very popular at times. Some of thos methods could work for the moment, but some are just plain behaviouristic....

And is it not far better to see your child as an individual, needing individual means?

For additional reading there is this booklet that the organization Children’s Rights in Society (BRIS) distributes for free.

It tells seven tales about young and older children and mothers and fathers who sometimes loose control and do not understand why. The stories are told from different points of view, and contain very insightful conclusions and useful advice.(3)

Does your country allow the corporal punishment of children? If it does, is there a movement to change it? How do you feel about it?




söndag 2 augusti 2009

Baby sleep in sweden. How much and where?

Me and my man have been bedsharing with our baby since she was born. Neither smoke, my man is a teetotaller and has never had a sip of alcohol in his life and I'm abstaining. We're practising safe bedsharing.

About 1971 the term sudden infant death syndrome was coined. During the eighties the numbers of deaths from SIDS rose alarmingly when it was recommended that babies slept on their stomache. During the ninthies the recommendation changed, you should place your baby on it's back and ever since the death toll from SIDS have been lower. 1990, 93 babies died from SIDS (0,143% of born alive infants) in 2007 it was 8 (0,015 of born alive infants). Changed recommendations about smoking probably also had an effect on this change.(1)

When my mother had her first four kids it was recommended that the baby slept on its stomache. When she had her last two the recommenation had changed. She and my dad bedshared with my older brother in the 70:ies when he was an infant. Neither smoked.

For the first nights after she came home from the hospital with me she placed me in a basket on the floor, but I didn't sleep very well. She then moved me into a nursery one door closer to the kitchen, and I think into a crib. I slept and slept and slept. She said I slept for almost 8 months, getting cranky if if they tried keeping me awake for more than a feeding. When I got to 8 month I became more awake and sociable. I have pictures of myself bedsharing with my parents in the eighties and I remember coming to the family bed after waking up as a toddler and being welcomed.

When I got older there was always a matress under the bed for usage after nightmares. I think I used it more than any of my siblings. I also coslept with my younger brother at times when I was extra troubled.

My mother tells me she doesn't remember sleep, sleeping and sleeping arrangements as something you discussed. It was up to every parent. But I know she read the book Barnaboken (The Childbook) by Anna Wahlgren. Anna Wahlgren is a mother of nine and also has connections to the Scientologist.(2) Wahlgren is still active and her views on baby sleep and her methods are widely discussed. She wrote a book about it (3). I don't know what my mother thinks about Wahlgren today. I can't condone her methods myself.

I've spoken with friends and some bedshare, some have the crib next to the bed with the side taken of or the crib in the master bedroom. Some use nurseries next to the master bedroom. Almost every one own a crib, not everyone uses it. It's very common to put the baby in a crib during the evening and then taking it to the family bed after it wakes up for it's first or second feeding during the night.

I own a crib and have placed it in the livingroom with a new ergonomical matress from IKEA. It's very seldom used. My daughter has taken to falling asleep in the family bed for her naps, with me or her dad at her side untill she's fast asleep. She's almost five months old and will soon be a bit to we will have to take the legs of the bed.
I get the impression that bed sharing is becoming more common but also that some are afraid to do it bcause of SIDS.
It's also become more common for people to get Respiratory Movement Monitors like the babysense. (4.) They usually reason that it is better to be safe than sorry. But most RMM:s can only be used when the child sleeps in it's own bed, so I would guess those babies sleep on their own.

When your percieve that your child has trouble sleeping many are recommended the "five minute method" that in many ways reminds of Richard Ferbers "The progressive waiting approach" but where you check in on the child every 5 minutes for as long as it takes but don't give the child bodily contact or any comforting behaviour. It was design by Berndt Eckerberg (4) and his wife Britta during the 70:ies and 80:ies. Also this method is controversial today and many parents describes how their children cried until vomiting and got hysterical when seeing the crib. This is the cause of a "pareting war" in sweden between those calling it borderline abuse (me, for instance) and those parents who feels it has saved their sanity.

I've made a pledge myself to NEVER condone the use of this method or recommend it in my line of work. I would rather be OUT of work!

I feel that healthy babies will sleep as much as they need to and that they can fall asleep in a crib, in a family bed or on the TV-couch, whatever works for them.
I prefer nursing my baby to sleep, either lying on my side in bed or in my lap on the couch. This is not controversial but sure, some wonder about my "me-time". Me-time seem very important to people.
I belive it's important to have realistic expectations of your baby or toddlers sleeping patterns. A breastfeeding baby needs to nurse at night for months, you yourself need to nurse at night to keep your milk going. My hormones help me and I'm not tired during the day as long as I get enough sleep.
But when someone says "My baby sleept through the night!" they are usually congratulated.
I'm okay with that, but it shouldn't be something to attain at every price. Most babies don't sleep through the night. And that's normal.