20 Sep Who is being Sacrificed for What?
by Rachel Allison
A recent study issued by the UN arm UNICEF paints Swedish parents as pillars of commendable restraint because they undermine materialism by not purchasing toys and gifts for their children. UNICEF throws out accolades as if the limiting of commercialism is the one and only dimension that makes any parent worthy of praise.
By focusing only on materialism as a determinant, other key factors influencing a child’s well-being are omitted.
For example, David Quinn, a well-known Irish journalist has written recently that the Swedish state has completely stripped marriage of any special standing in Swedish society. This is one reason why Sweden has such a low marriage rate, a very high rate of cohabitation, and a very high rate of births outside marriage…more than one in two of all births.
Mr. Quinn suggests that this factor impacts the children more significantly than society is willing to admit.
In 2007 UNICEF was forced to admit that “there is evidence to associate growing up in single-parent families and stepfamilies with greater risk to well-being—including a greater risk of dropping out of school, of leaving home early, poorer health, or low skills and of low pay.”
Given these findings about the family breakdown in Sweden, are we to believe that simple materialistic self- restraint produces happy, productive, well adjusted children?
The best parents are those who always do that which is best for the child. Perhaps that “best” is saying “No, we can’t afford it.” Or, “You have to practice the piano before going out to play with your friends,” Or “before you can watch television, you have to do your homework.” Parents who take their disagreements into the privacy of the den and out of their children’s ear shot are also doing what is best for their children. AND this much is certain. The best for every child is that a man and woman who court and fall in love get married, demonstrating a long-term commitment to each other and the children who bless their home.
Pointing out further damaging behavior in May, Jonas Himmelstrand told the Iona Institute Conference on “Women, Home and Work” that the vast majority of Swedish children are put in day-care from the age of one. Himmelstrand points to evidence that this has more of a detrimental effect on Swedish children than UNICEF or Swedish parents want to admit. For example, the educational performance of Swedish children has slipped from near the top to just average.
The number of children reporting psychological problems is growing at a faster rate than in eleven comparable countries. According to one study Himmelstrand cites Sweden as having the most serious school discipline problems in Europe today. He quotes an EU-sponsored study by Swedish school researcher Britta Johansson who describes the growing difficulties Swedish parents face raising their kids.
We could delve further into what is happening in Sweden, but so much of what we read describes exactly what is starting to be the trend all over the world. We certainly are experiencing it in many areas of the United States.
I have heard it said that “years ago men and women sacrificed having “things” for their children, but more and more we see children today being sacrificed so that parents can have their “things.”