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|Copy Link||December 21, 2010|
Thanks to friends out there, in the big wide world, we have just got wind of this video snippet, explaining what the current wave of feminism is all about. Look, listen and enjoy!
True, the piece is created by feminism-sceptics and therefore somewhat biased, but it is obvious that the producers have done their best to be analytical and as unbiased as they can be.
|Copy Link||December 20, 2010|
…not to any male power structure out there, keeping women down.
That is the message of sociology doctor Catherine Hakim at the London School of Economics in a just-published report titled Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine. The report and its conclusions have been taken note of in many British papers, including The Daily Mail, whose write-up you can read - here.
Another balanced summary of Hakim's message is Kate Spicer's in Britain's The Sunday Times and Australia's The Australian, which you can read - here.
But of course, left-wing feminists find it hard to agree with Hakim. Read, for instance, what Tanya Gold of Britain's The Guardian had to say - here.
We in Children's Right find Hakim being essentially right, primarily in her conclusion that men are not trying to keep women down, neither consciously nor subconsciously and that the career and pay gaps that exist between men and women primarily are attributable to the different lifestyle choices men and women tend to make (differences which in turn have ancient biological and genetic roots).
Since we too hold views similar to Hakim's, we find attempts by governments (our own included) to impose a certain kind of narrowly-defined gender equality, constituting an expression of intolerable totalitarianism which must be combated at all levels and in all ways.
Further, it is frustrating noting in the articles linked to above how unaware people are of how elegantly Family Taxation (defined and described elsewhere on this web site) would solve the gender gap issue and put a stop to the ongoing – one-sided – gender war.
|Copy Link||December 16, 2010|
That is the message of this opinion article published in today's issue of Ottawa Citizen, written by Andrea Mrozek of our sister organisation in Canada: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
As usual, a first-class enlightenment job done by the IMFC and by Mrozek! As can be seen, one of that org's weightiest arguments against the universal day-care scheme just introduced in Ontario, Canada, is the fact that it will cost far more than what the provincial government thinks it will.
(IMFC's own estimate indicates a cost figure of approximately CA$ 9 000 a full-time child a year, 80 per cent higher than the provincial government's own precalculated figure). But if Sweden, the longest running, large-scale communal childcare operator in the world is anything to go by, even IMFC's figure is misleadingly low. Here, full-time preschool child care costs approximately CA$ 25 000 a child a year!
Don't get me wrong, if it is worth CA$ 25 000 a year to you, Ontarian reading this, to get relief from your juvenile rascals for 1/3 of your 24-hour cycle, then all is well! Then you should endorse your provincial government's scheme. Otherwise, you should oppose it, in the strongest possible terms!
|Copy Link||November 4, 2010|
Our member Jonas Himmelstrand has been in Brussels and delivered a lecture on Sweden's family policies to an organisation that has an agenda similar to ours: Forum Européen de Femmes. Approximately 40 people listened, posed questions and commented.
Read Himmelstrand's lecture - here - and see him doing it live - here!
Himmelstrand's lecture is a perfect read for anyone wanting to get a condensed but still comprehensive description of Sweden's internationally famed family policies.
|Copy Link||October 28, 2010|
Last Friday, a couple in Karlstad, Sweden, was sentenced to nine months in jail and to SEK 75 000 in damages to three of their four children for abuse for having employed spanking as a means of upbringing. The couple claimed the Bible supported them in this behaviour.
The sentence was based on Sweden's antispanking and antiwounding laws, introduced as early as in 1973, ahead of all other nations of the world.
Read the Swedish, English-language, paper The Local's account of the case - here - and preferably compare that domestic reporting and those appended comments with this reporting of the same thing by conservative, Christianity-influenced, LifeSiteNews.
The case brings to mind this somewhat similar incident.
What a terribly tragic outcome for all concerned!
Without knowing more about the case than what can be read in the papers, it is obviously difficult to form an opinion on how reasonable the verdict is, but it is crystal clear that the Swedish legislation, outlawing "corporal punishment and other wounding treatment" of children, grants the courts wide-ranging powers to decide what is punishable by law and what is not, a process in which the views of the legal guardians of the children weighs feather-lightly.
True, we in Children's Right are currently not involved in any enlightenment campaign related to this legislation but let it be said that we are sceptical of it, partly because our country, long before the law clauses involved were introduced, had anti-abuse legislation in our statues book (and still have), legislation the courts have always applied more harshly when the perpetrator is an adult and the victim a child, and partly because it has markedly contributed to the weaker position Swedish families and parents currently suffer and the correspondingly stronger position the State enjoys.
|Copy Link||October 27, 2010|
We have all heard the ill-founded claim that women's brains turn to mush when they get babies but now research, highlighted by the American Psychological Association, indicates that the opposite probably is true at least if brain size is anything to go by. A study of 19 women indicated as early as four months after delivery, their brains had grown by small but significant amounts.
The areas affected seem to be the hypothalamus (1), the substantia nigra (2), the amygdala (2), the parietal lobe (3) and the prefrontal cortex (4).
Read more in Britain's the Daily Mail - here!
I wouldn't be surprised!
|Copy Link||October 27, 2010|
In the year 1980 only 21 per cent of Sweden's children aged 1-6 were cared for during the day in day-care centres or by day-care mothers while last year the figure was as high as 90 per cent.
Those interesting statistics can be found on Sweden's School Board's website (unfortunately, it appears as if the figures are only available in Swedish).
Further figures of interest from last year are the following:
The figures show that parents do their best to delay their children's day-care debut but by the age of two years, most parents think the time is right or finally surrender, whichever the case may be.
The figures are a good illustration of how what we term "the day-care coercion" works in practice, how the combination of so high income taxation that the family cannot get by on a single income and more than ninety per cent tax subsidisation of the day-care costs forces parents to dance to to the piper's (the state's) tune in child care.
|Copy Link||October 21, 2010|
In January, here, we asked you, dear maternal follower of this web site, to respond to World Movement of Mother's call for opinions on how life should be. Now we have received the following reply from that org:
Dear members and friends at cooperating associations,
We thank you for your help in promoting the "Survey of Mothers in Europe” during the first half of this year.
The feedback was amazing, we received over 10,000 responses from mothers across Europe!
The survey is now closed, preliminary results of it were used in a technical report on “Realities of Mothers in Europe” that you can download from - here!
We are currently analyzing the results to create material to communicate to European and national policymakers and to the press in the spring of 2011. Our objective is to voice the realities, concerns and opinions about the well-being of their families that mothers have shared with us. We will keep you posted!
Anne-Claire de Liedekerke / President
At the time of this writing, we haven't looked at the results of the survey mentioned above but fear the worst - that the overwhelming majority of respondents want the State to employ its coercive powers to further the status and material well-being of women at the expense of their men, despite the fact that we already have pretty gender-neutral legislation.
|Copy Link||October 17, 2010|
Read Swedish journalist Helene Almqvist's answer to that question on BBC's website - here!
Yours Truly finds Almquist's praise of Sweden's allegedly generous parental leave and childcare programmes somewhat mindless. She doesn't seem to realize that since the parents still are paying for those programmes by force of taxation and since they cost more than they are worth, 'generous' is the least they are. Instead they combine to force mothers to work doubly (at work during daytime, at home during spare time) to make ends meet, thus creating a "rat race" that many women suffer badly from.
What is so generous and admirable about that?
|Copy Link||October 12, 2010|
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has compiled an index of gender equality, reflecting how equitably income, resources and opportunities are distributed between the two sexes and has arrived at Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden (in that order) topping the chart.
Read more - here!
These figure must be interpreted with extreme caution. Factors such as development level and whether countries employ family taxation or individual ditto surely affect the ranking drastically and so create a risk of mirages. All the Nordic countries employ individual income taxation, making women big losers if they don't work for money.
|Copy Link||October 8, 2010|
Yesterday, I got this piece into Finland's English-language paper Helsinki Times! But since that periodical only exposes some of its contents for free on the web, my contribution ended up in the exclusive department - which is why I now offer it to you here, for free!
I know, the piece is long but what can I do when there are so many wrongs that simply have to be exposed, especially to unsuspecting foreigners, admiring my country's welfare programmes without bothering to examine the drawbacks, i.e., allowing themselves to be seduced emotionally when they really should be more on their guard intellectually.
Krister Pettersson, board member of Children's Right
|Copy Link||October 5, 2010|
Yesterday, during the Conservative Party of Britain's conference in Birmingham, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced harsh cuts in that country's welfare payments in order to reduce Goverment's huge spending deficit. Among the cuts announced was a cap on Child Benefit to parents earning more than £43 000 a year. The only problem is that parents who both work for money, i.e., contribute to that income jointly, will still receive the benefit up to twice that amount of income.
Read more e.g. - here!
The cut and its unfair effect highlights the inherent inequity of the individual income taxation systems both Britain and our country, Sweden, make use of; they invariably subject single-income families to heavier taxation burdens than dual-income ones have to face, at the same total incomes!
The solution spells voluntary Family Taxation, where the family becomes the taxation subject, not the adult income earners individually. That would enable the family members to contribute to the well-being of the family as they see fit, without undue governmental interference, go a long way towards appraising home making, both economically and socially, and, last but not least: make beautiful macro-economic sense!
|Copy Link||October 2, 2010|
In today's issue of Britain's The Guardian - here -, Amelia Gentleman tries to summarise the current positions in the seemingly endless debate about who should look after small children: parents themselves or Government's specially appointed and trained experts in crèches.
As usual when this subject crops up, lots of people have lots of opinions, as can be seen from the comments following the article.
Gentleman (what a nice family name!), does a good job of condensing the various views, but she conspicuously leaves a number of important aspects of the issue out of account, including the macro-economic (1), the human rights (2), the popular-opinion (3), the bacteriological (4) and the longer-term juvenile behavioural (5) ones.
But it is probably asking to much from a hurried journalist to cover such a wide field in a single article. But, the unfortunate effect is that her article arrives at seriously misleading conclusions, reaching hundreds of thousands of British readers. But then, on the other hand, that misdirection is no different from the one the western world's academic childcare 'experts' and lobbyists are guilty of.
|Copy Link||October 1, 2010|
Modern-day feminists disagree but men and women are different biologically and therefore also behaviourally. Women in general are much more interested than men in having children, building a family and going for part-time jobs so as to get time to look after children and the home. For obvious reasons, all this has consequences on women's earning power compared with that of men.
Now, the question arises: should Government allow these behavioural differences to manifest themselves or should it interfere to coax women to spend more time at work and override employers' and jobseekers' tradition-won right to negotiate pay and other employment conditions bilaterally?
Socialists and today's feminists are all but unanimous in their call for governmental interference while conservatives and classic liberals are equally strongly opposed to such political meddling.
A Ms Emily Booker has written a lucid and thought-provoking article on this subject - here!
|Copy Link||September 22, 2010|
Presumably inspired by the ongoing debate in Canada about the benefits, or otherwise, of government-funded day care, partially taken note of - here -, Andrea Mrozek of The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada did this interview with one of the key partakers of that debate, economics professor K Milligan of the University of British Columbia.
It is evident from their conversation that Milligan finds the day-care lobby's case for such child care exaggerated and misleading. His argument is that the fact that there is experience of government-run parent-&-child support programmes having been successful cannot be extrapolated to a licence to subject all parents and children to such programmes.
Milligan is dead right, but he has far more arguments on his side than he made use of in that interview, the most important omission being failing to mention that the existence of the marginal cost of taxation effect (a k a "the excess burden of taxation") necessitates that every tax dollar spent e.g. on child care - in Canada's case - must return benefits worth two dollars to citizens.
In other words, since experience tells us that high-quality child care costs approx. CA$2000 a child a month to produce, it must be worth $4000 to parents (i.e. be sellable to them for that amount). If not, it simply isn't worth its tax cost, will make the population poorer and put economically marginal people (other than day-care workers) out of work!
He further seems to accept, at face value, the truistic fact that the seven-dollars-a-day childcare system, introduced in Quebec in 1997, has increased the number of 'working' women but fails to mention that the higher tax level that system requires increases the cost level of private businesses and citizens and so puts other economically marginal operations and workers out of business.
To illustrate this latter point: If I were the maker of Mercedes Benz cars and decided to sell my top model, costing me $75 000 to produce for only $10 000, how surprised would you be if I, a little later, were able to report a sharp increase in sales of that model (equivalent to that increase in female work-force participation reported from Quebec)? And how surprised would you be if I, a further few months later had to file for bankruptcy, so eliminating my company's contribution to my country's affluence and putting scores of 'innocent' people out of work (equivalent to that drop in affluence and employment I am writing about above)?
Milligan also, on behalf of the international community of economists, expresses a preference for government-issued vouchers that can be used in lieu of money for specific expenditures, e.g. for child care or education, but what he really is saying is that such vouchers are a smart way of manipulating citizens' behaviours so cleverly that they won't even realize they are being manipulated.
Milligan may well be right on this last point (that citizens must be manipulated by those at the centre who know better) but, if so, it is time for Canada and all other countries with representative democracies to abandon that form of government in favour of some kind of expertocracy, and to sign out of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights!
We in this org have written on the topic of the profitability ,or otherwise, of institutionalised child care many times, e.g. - here - and - here - (note the two different approaches but the similar conclusions) but it seems impossible to get academic economists to comment on our findings. Presumably, they don't want to rock the boat.
|Copy Link||September 20, 2010|
Yesterday, approximately six million Swedes went to the polls to elect a new parliament, new regional assemblies and new municipal councils. The liberal-conservative alliance, consisting of the Moderates, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party, which was formed in the run-up to our previous elections in 2006 - and won then - managed yesterday to retain power by emerging as the biggest parliamentary group and so will form our next government.
But the Lib-Con Alliance lost the absolute majority in Parliament it enjoyed in the previous term of office due to the fact that a new party, the Sweden Democrats, accused by the other established parties of being racist, got enough votes to gain entry into Parliament. So now it looks as if we have got ourselves a new bunch of swingers in Parliament, the Sweden Democrats, who will be able to decide outcomes by supporting the one or the other parliamentary block, the Lib-Cons or the Red-Greens (the latter consisting of the Social Democrats, the Left Wingers and the Greens).
So we Swedes are in for a politically more uncertain period. What this will mean to this association's favourite political field, family policies, is hard to predict at this stage, but perhaps there is cause for a bit of cautious optimism; the Swed Dem's family-political manifesto is pro-families and critical of what we call the existing "day-care coercion".
Unfortunately, 'our' issue, family policies and child care, did not feature anywhere near as prominently as we would have liked during the election campaign. Consciously or not, both blocks seemed bent on playing it down in the hope that voters would forget it, an intention we in Children's Right were pretty powerless at combating.
When the political and medial industries join forces in some 'evil' pursuit, poverty-stricken idealists like us carry as much weight as a speck of dust!
|Copy Link||September 18, 2010|
On September 14, British Columbian Education Minister, Margaret MacDiarmid, wrote in the paper The Vancouver Sun - here - among other things that tax-funded all-day kindergarten would generate "limitless returns for the future of our province and our economy".
A few days later, our much admired Andrea Mrozek of The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada responded with this piece in the same paper, challenging MacDiarmid's statements primarily on the grounds that the good return that might be achievable from at-risk children is likely to be very different from the return that can be expected from the kind of universal day-care programme MacDiarmid advocates.
It is intriguing how a minister can (almost) get away with statements like "limitless returns"! No investment yields that kind of return, unless - of course - the investment amounts to zero dollars (meaning that it is not an investment at all), but universal child care certainly does not qualify; it will cost millions.
The talk of "great profitability" reveals that the minister is nowhere near appreciating how expensive tax money really is. Due to a phenomenon economists call "the marginal cost of taxation" or "the excess burden of taxation", new tax-financed programmes in Canada must return $2 in benefits to citizens for every tax dollar spent on them for them to be macro-economically justifiable.
That universal, tax-funded, day care doesn't qualify can be realized by considering that all-day, high-quality child care costs approximately CA$2000 a month a child to produce and so must be worth (i.e. be sellable) to parents at CA$4000 a month for the service to be economically justifiable, a level of usefulness the service clearly does not reach.
But the idea of all-day institutionalised child care has other serious implications, e.g. that parents in general are not fit to look after their own children properly. If that assumption is true then Canada must sign out from its support of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and abandon its representative democracy in favour of some kind of expertocracy and leave the running of the country - and of people's lives - to those who (claim to) know better, perhaps to misguided but surprisingly self-assured political phenomena like Margaret MacDiarmid!
We in this org have written on the topic of the profitability, or otherwise, of institutionalised child care many times, e.g. - here - and - here - (note the two different approaches but the similar conclusions) but it seems impossible to get academic economists to comment on our findings. Presumably, they don't want to rock the boat.
|Copy Link||September 8, 2010|
As may be known, Sweden has general elections on September 19 for Parliament, our regional assemblies and our 290 municipalities. In the last election round four years ago, our four right-of-centre parties combined into an alliance under a joint election manifesto. That initiative proved successful, so that grouping has been at the political helm up to now, a near-historic event since our Social Democrats have dominated our political stage ever since the early 1930s.
That successful bid for power prompted the remaining three parties, the Soc Dems, the Left Wingers and the Greens to form an alliance of their own, popularly called the Red-Greens, in anticipation of this year's elections.
Now, a week and half before the big day, the centre-right alliance seems to be in the lead but few dare to heave a sigh of relief / refuse to give in beforehand (depending on political views).
A good summary of the issues at stake and how the arguments run can be found - here!
Unfortunately this association's issue, family policies and child care, does not feature anywhere near as prominently as we would have liked it to. Both blocks seem bent on playing it down in the hope that voters will forget it. An interesting thing however is that all three parties to the Red-Green block individually want to divide our internationally famed parental leave period more strictly between the father and the mother so as to force fathers to shoulder a heavier parental burden but since the voters are dead set against that kind of "undue meddling", the block has simply decided not to put forward any proposal at all on that front now. But the sceptics among us watchers remain pretty convinced that if the Red-Greens regain power they will introduce their strict leave distribution anyway, mid-term, when the voters will be unable to stop it.
|Copy Link||August 21, 2010|
That is the message of this association to the European Commission in this submission which we have just sent in, in response to a request for comments from the said body.
As can be seen, we find the preamble of the Convention promising but the articles of the document potentially harmful to parents and families in the hands of family-unfriendly legislators and judges. On balance we find the Convention having contributed to the serious weakening of the authority of parents and the integrity of families that is readily observable in Sweden.
|Copy Link||August 12, 2010|
This association is not against industrial-scale child care per se, only against governments' coaxing parents by taxation and subsidisation to favour such child care over all other forms, parental ditto included!
We feel compelled to repeat that statement after having read this good comment to a couple of editorials practically encouraging women to hand over their babies to day-care establishments for care since new research allegedly says that children are OK there, that working mothers should not develop a sense of guilt.
Those sociologists conducting this kind of research completely miss the point: that governments employing their legislative and fiscal powers to promote on lifestyle over all others, against popular opinion violate basic principles of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention on Child Rights, i.e., break international law!
The fact that taxation is used to fund public services that do not provide adequate value for money, i.e. make us all poorer than we need to be, adds insult to injury and hurts young parents and babies particularly much.
|Copy Link||August 1, 2010|
That is the interesting question the opinion editors of the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun ask themselves in this interesting leader and answer with "perhaps not", but finds Sweden's political openness and lack of corruption copy-worthy.
I do find the article accurate and insightful but also lacking in appreciation of the fact that we Swedes have not achieved our reasonably high standard of living thanks to our lavish social policies but despite them!
|Copy Link||July 28, 2010|
The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Duke University, North Carolina, USA has studied the amount of affection mothers invest in their babies at approximately eight months of age and followed that up no less than 34 years later and found that those children who had above-average maternal care were healthier psychologically as adults than their less fortunate cohort peers.
Read a summary of the studygroup's findings - here!
It is probably safe to conclude that maternal affection is important even beyond the eight-month stage, e.g. at say 13 months of age, but the trouble is that by then the vast majority of Swedish kids will be farmed out to day-care establishments for care by strangers.
It is going to be interesting to se if these findings will generate any debate and any new conclusions in my country about how children should be looked after. But deep down I know the answer and it is 'no', our political and medial classes will close ranks and like one man ensure that these news do not reach the general public.
|Copy Link||July 27, 2010|
That is the message of this essay by the late Australian lawyer Charles H Francis.
His conclusion, that if the convention is given any legal effect or legitimacy, it poses a real threat to the authority of parents and to the integrity of families, is worth taking seriously. His reasoning brings to mind this debater who arrives at the same conclusion.
|Copy Link||July 26, 2010|
Every parent who has access to so-called 'affordable' child care (footnote), sooner or later starts wondering when it might be okay to hand over her/his precious one to a crèche for care and to take up / resume paid work.
Many studies over the past few years have indicated that such child care is risky in terms of parent-child bonding and child behaviour, not least the longer-term effects at puberty and beyond.
But now a research group at the Columbia University's School of Social Work has concluded that, on balance, the outcome of day care - even before the child's first birthday - is quite neutral compared with home care when taking all (?) factors into account!
Read a summary of the group's findings - here!
This study raises suspicions, from start to finish! Apparently, the group (consisting of all professional women, presumably with their kids in day care) has factored in things like day care enabling the mother to bring in more money to the family and tending to improve the mother's mental state, the quality of child care and intra-familial relationships. So, all these pros weigh up the cons, the study concludes.
But how do you measure the various effects of day care to make them comparable? For instance, how do you balance the consequences of weaker parent-child bonding against the effect of more money in the family's purse? Doesn't the latter effect depend on the financial circumstances of the family before outsourcing child care? And if day care is charged out at cost price (a price level that should be the norm), the family is likely not to be better off at all!
How low can a so-called 'scientific' study sink in terms of quality?
Footnote: "Affordable child care" is a euphemism for heavily tax-subsidised care, luring parents to consume more of the service than is macro-economically sound, i.e. meaning that it contributes to making society at large poorer than it otherwise would be.
|Copy Link||July 26, 2010|
We have just discovered this good article by a Mr Soutik Biswas in which he steps forward in defence of housewives and the invaluable services they provide and laments the bad treatment they get by most governments of this world, suggesting that the value of domestic work be included in national accounts.
Biswas is dead right in everything except that last bit about including the value of domestic work in national accounts! Don't get us wrong, we would also like that value to be more visible but since GDP and GDI calculations really are about summing up market values less production costs across the entire economy, we fear that imputing a standard sum into those accounts representing every home maker's contribution to overall affluence would reduce the value of those calculations to 'real' - as opposed to 'political' economists.
We think a far better way would be "family taxation", i.e. that the family be taxed like the family business it is or should be seen as and support burdens and income-necessary expenses be tax-deductible as such expenses are in the business world. Then the housewife's economic contribution, by reducing costs and enabling the spouse to concentrate more fully on his/her income-generating role, would become far more discernible!
|Copy Link||July 21, 2010|
That is the message of this article by a Ms Sandra Parsons in today's issue of Britain's Daily Mail. Her message seems to be that mothers should go back to work after child delivery when they feel like it and not succumb to undue feelings of guilt when handing their infants over to others for care.
I don't think anyone, certainly not we men, expects women to stay at home for ever, after having become mothers, but getting children does call for a significant change of priorities and lifestyle. If you are not prepared to make those changes: don't have a baby! I always say, getting your first baby is more life-changing and overwhelming than getting married!
Another thing: Parsons seems to expect lost contact and ingratitude when the child is old enough to fly out of the nest. That is, in most cases, a serious misunderstanding! Yours Truly happens to have two flown-out daughters aged 31 and 27 and one very new grandchild. The bond I have with my daughters at this late (?) stage in our lives is a terrific source of meaning, comfort and joy to both generations. So hang in there, Parsons, you will be richly rewarded!
|Copy Link||July 20, 2010|
In this good article, The New York Times has discovered how Swedish home makers are discriminated against by law and by resulting public opinion and suggests that domestic work be included in GDP figures as a remedy.
Fine article, but I can't se how domestic work that doesn't involve money changing hands could be included in GDP calculations except as not very attractive standard estimates that would value laggards and fireballs the same and degrade GDP and GNP calculations in the eyes of 'real' - as opposed to political - economists seriously.
A better way would be abolishing all tax subsidies going directly to institutional childcare establishments, which would force them to charge out their services at cost prices, and those expenses be made tax-deductible by parents. That kind of arrangement would make far more sense macro-economically and expose the true cost of looking after children for all to see, including all those self-esteem-strapped home makers!
|Copy Link||July 2, 2010|
Our sister organization in Sweden, Haro, is an advisory member of an EU-associated development project called Family Platform (1). According to the website of the project, its aim is to analyze ongoing family-policy-related research in the EU, predict future challenges and finally suggest to the EU Commission family-related research areas which should receive EU funding.
In a recent meeting among the project members, Haro's Jonas Himmelstrand was able to deliver this alternative description of the, in foreign lands, famed Swedish family policies.
We say "well done Jonas!", there is more to say of course (2), but we realize that there were time constraints.
|Copy Link||June 28, 2010|
Dominic Johansson is a Swedish boy whose parents are locked in battle with the local municipality over who should be educating him, the parents themselves or the municipality's compulsory schools. The conflict has led to Dominic having been put in a foster home and the parents getting only limited visitation rights to him.
According to this news item, the conflict has now entered a new phase with the parents lodging a complaint against Sweden with the European Court of Human Rights for alleged violations of the European Convention on the same rights, assisted by Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
This conflict is of great importance to us Swedes as precedent for the handling of future cases where parents want to home-school their children.
|Copy Link||June 18, 2010|
That is the message of this media release from our sister organizations in that country: Australian Family Association and Kids First, Parent Association of Australia.
It is disheartening seeing how our political representatives, time and again, fall for the temptation to buy votes for the voters' own money without due regard to the values the contemplated services return or their effects on personal freedom. In the current case it can easily be shown that the service offered (paid parental leave) is not worth its tax cost and hence will reduce affluence, employment and personal freedom.
A particularly offensive aspect of the enacted scheme seems to be the "work test" which will force mothers to hand over their infants at 18 weeks to some child-care establishment and resume paid work - and stay their until 6 months pregnant again - to ensure benefits also for the next child.
This kind of behavioural manipulation of citizens has no place in a society that aspires to be free!
|Copy Link||June 17, 2010|
We have just become aware of this opportunity, presented by one of the world's most widely read papers (NY Times) to express opinions on a wide variety of interesting topics, including who should look after small children paid staff or parents.
Do make use of it to let ordinary people understand that in reality generous offers of "free" parental leave and child care are not as cheap as they look.
|Copy Link||June 10, 2010|
Yesterday, this association held its annual general meeting for 2010 and appointed Bo C Pettersson chair person, Linda Gällentoft treasurer, re-appointed Krister Pettersson consultative director and newly appointed Jessica Emgardsson to the same position. As stand-by directors Monica Sunvard (previously: Bodling) and Eva Sternberg were re-appointed, while our previous chair person, Jenny Odälv, was newly appointed to that position.
– In view of the fact that we will be having general elections in this country in September, only three months from now, let us shift up so that the undue political coercion to put our kids in day care and the likewise undue discrimination of home makers both come to an end, says our new chairman.
If you, dear reader, gets inspired to contact any of our new board members to discuss childcare issues, you find their contact addresses - here.
|Copy Link||June 4, 2010|
Dr. Fraser Mustard is a Canadian Doctor of Medicine who in later years has become a strident advocate for government-run early childhood education and care (ECEC) as opposed to parental ditto. His name crops up frequently, not only in Canada but all over the place.
His message is that kids who are well fed and intellectually stimulated from the start do far better than kids who are deprived of these two important prerequisites. He also says that only about 30 per cent of the parents are good enough.
That observation and that personal hypothesis lead him to conclude that the state must play a bigger role in the care and tuition of young children.
Listen to this interview with Mustard, done by The Canadian Broadcasting Corp to hear him make his case.
Frasers basic observation (that well fed and stimulated kids do far better) is indisputable, but his statement that only 30 per cent of parents are acceptable is not only unsubstantiated but also unduly arrogant and disrespectful to the majority of parents. (What make the guy so sure he and his cronies belong to those acceptable 30%? I bet he wouldn't pass his own test! ;-)
But the big problem arises when he combines that truistic observation with his sloppy statement about parents' inadequacies and arrives at the conclusion that the state must play a bigger role in the rearing of children! Here he exposes his poor grasp, not only of economics and political science but also of psychology. He doesn't seem to understand that his recommendation would lead to worse outcomes for children, to more poverty all around and to more unhappiness among more citizens, including the children he professes to champion.
Mustard holds up my country (Sweden) as a model and points out with unmistakable admiration that we spend US$ 16,500 a child a year of public money on ECEC but fails to mention that only a few years later, those same children do poorly at school by international standards (despite continued, world-leading, spending of public money on education) and are among the world's unhappiest.
And why not also compare with how his suggested model for ECEC turned out behind the Iron Curtain and on the kibbutzes of Israel.
Mustard should be stopped (by constructive debate) before he creates even more damage!
|Copy Link||May 27, 2010|
That question, brought to the fore by a debate in the province of British Columbia, Canada, inspired our clever and energetic contact in Vancouver, Helen Ward of Kids First Canada to write this opinion piece into the Vancouver Sun paper.
As you can see, Ward takes the opportunity to push not only for lowly paid municipal workers' getting a decent wage but also that all home makers with small children get the same benign treatment, not merely those utilizing tax-subsidized child care.
Indisputably, Ward has a point, it is grossly unfair that the public purse sponsors formal child care but leaves home-staying parents with small children not only without public support but also forced to co-finance their more adaptable day-care peers by way of the tax bill.
But let us return to the initial question Ward skipped: should people get paid what they need to survive or what the job is worth?
Any market-oriented economist worth his salt would reasonably answer: "The worker should get paid what the job is worth on the market, less the reasonable share of that worth that is attributable to the providers of capital!"
That is the market economy's way of ensuring that people's talents and efforts are not wasted on tasks that do not return enough value.
But the problem is that the debate Ward involved herself in was about how low-level public workers should be remunerated, and for public jobs it is notoriously difficult to establish their market values.
This difficulty is compounded by the Excess Burden of Taxation phenomenon, which, in Ward's country, can be estimated at contributing another $ to every tax $ every civil servant costs the tax-paying community.
These difficulties are two strong arguments in favour of keeping the public sector trimmed down to size.
There is more to say about the matter, of course ;-)
|Copy Link||May 9, 2010|
Sharon Lerner, author of The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation, believes that the US government must step in more forcefully than so far to provide the social security mums need to dare to have children and to be able to balance family life with professional careers. That is evident from this review of her book.
But state support is a poor substitute for support from a husband and the security provided by money in the bank. No woman should ever get pregnant without those two prerequisites in place!
|Copy Link||May 6, 2010|
That seems to be the message of this article, written by a Dr. Jody Heymann, author of a book titled Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone.
I mention it here because it is so typical of all those government interventionists out there who believe that especially women would be better off if their governments spent more on them for parental leave and child day care.
Unfortunately, so many of them don't seem to realize that since the money for those schemes will not be coming from outer space, they will still be paying for them even if they get their way, but by force of taxation instead of voluntarily. And they don't seem to realize how subjugated to the whims of the state they would become.
Don't get me wrong, there are things governments can do to ease life for young couples wanting to raise a family, such as taxing them leniently so that they are able to get a decent home and build up some savings before the babies arrive. And there are things young women can do, such as never to have a baby by the wrong man!
|Copy Link||May 3, 2010|
That is the message of this interesting article at Family Security Matters. The writer's argument is that the Convention paves the way for national governments and the UN itself to take over the raising of our children, so relegating parents to an insignificant secondary role and usurping the family.
Yours Truly finds the writer of the piece having a good point. It is quite possible that the CRC has played a bigger role in the dismantling of the Swedish family, that undoubtedly has taken place, than I have previously realized.
|Copy Link||May 1, 2010|
In its effort to regain political power in this autumn's general election, Sweden' left-green opposition is pledging to earmark 1.225 billion kronor ($170 million) in benefits for single parents (1).
Read the Swedish English-language paper The Local's report on the initiative - here!
The current left-green political alliance of Sweden is pretty shameless in its attempts to buy votes for the voters' own money. It should be said that single mums here already enjoy preferential treatment in social benefits.
Footnote 1: But this is of course not the reason given publicly. There the stated aim is "to bolster gender equality".
|Copy Link||April 28, 2010|
As you, Dear Reader, can se below, we have been aware for some time of moves in Ontario, Canada, to introduce full-day schooling for four- to five-year-olds. And indeed, yesterday, the province's parliament in Toronto passed the bill that is going to make it happen.
Read the Ministry of Education of that province's announcement of the decision and its immediate consequences - here!
The announcement is frightening reading due partly to its propagandistic tone, partly to the fact that it confirms our worst fear of the confidence-trick nature of the sell-in effort that preceded the voting, and partly to the fact that it reveals that the provincial government has much further-reaching plans for take-over of the region's children than it implements at this stage.
Of course, this development in Canada is a disappointment but not so bad that we who know better give up and concede defeat. We may have lost a battle but certainly not the war!
|Copy Link||April 23, 2010|
The age-old lifestyle of parents making decisions about and looking after their children, enjoying seeing them develop and children developing strong emotional bonds back will be seriously compromised if the Ontario Provincial Government gets its bill for All-day Kindergarten through the provincial parliament in Toronto, writes mother & education activist Kate Tennier on her website - here.
Tennier is bang on! The scheme, envisaged by Provincial Premier Dalton McGuinty and his childcare 'expert' Charles Pascal, would, if implemented, turn Ontarian social life on its head and reduce overall affluence and civil liberty in the process. But those negatives are the proponents not anywhere near declaring to their unsuspecting general public.
Like in business there should be laws against fraud, also in politics!
|Copy Link||April 23, 2010|
…writes Andrea Mrozek of Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) in today's issue of Ottawa Citizen, warning the paper's readers of the Ontario Province's far-gone plans for universal formal day care of three- to five-year-olds. Mrozek's argument is that contrary to the proponents' sales pitch about the scheme merely representing another neutral child-care option for overburdened parents, it will turn out seriously to limit all other options.
Read Mrozek's well-argued and well-written piece - here!
Mrozek is dead right and we like to think that we in this org have helped her arrive at her indisputable conclusion. But she could have stressed in stronger terms that the scheme will not only put private child-care providers out of business but also seriously disadvantage financially the single breadwinner / homemaker family lifestyle in a way that is at odds with generally accepted notions of civil liberty.
In addition, if my country's long experience of formal childcare is anything to go by, even Mrozek underestimates the cost of the proposed scheme. She arrives at CA$ 9,000 a child a year, the equivalent cost in my country is twice her sum.
Mrozek's argument (that the scheme is 'sold' to an unsuspecting public as merely another option which parents can either accept or refute at their sole and neutrally balanced discretion whilst it actually will turn out to be a liberty-restricting coercion) echoes this association's Bo Pettersson's oft-repeated argument along the same line, e.g. - here.
|Copy Link||April 15, 2010|
…writes columnist Steven Hill in today's issue of Britain's The Guardian, lauding Scandinavia's lavish welfare programmes over those of his own country, the US.
Read his interesting story - here!
For a Swede it is debilitating reading all those praiseful accounts of my country's welfare system. It is not thanks to that system that we have reached a high standard of living but despite it! And due to the big cut the scheme takes out of people's incomes in taxes, the price in terms of personal freedom is also high. And how come Hill does not see that the system he admires also creates personal failures, i.e. people who find themselves unable to support themselves.
He should realize that there are two sides to every story before expressing any firm views.
|Copy Link||April 12, 2010|
That is the conclusion reached by the the Parliamentary Investigative Service of Sweden (Riksdagens Utredningstjänst - RUT) from an study it was commissioned to carry out by the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) of Parliament, reports the English-language - Swedish - newspaper The Local in today's issue - here.
Many factors contribute to this increase in poverty: one being the continuous structural changes in society, another the high percentage of single-parent households found in Sweden and a third the high taxes even poor single parents pay here.
|Copy Link||March 29, 2010|
According to - this - newspaper article, Australia's Labour government's proposed parental leave scheme - modelled on its Swedish equivalent - is rejected by a majority of Aussies on the grounds that it is unfair to home-staying parents.
– Compulsory paid parental leave will add fuel to a vicious cycle of dual-income dependency and force more mums in low-income families into paid work and away from their children, says Tempe Harvey of Kids First Australia and continues:
– In Sweden, the bitter harvest of paid parental leave has been the long-term separation of children from their parents, starting the minute paid parental leave expires at 13 months. In that country in 2008, 83 per cent of children aged one to five were in full-time day care, she said.
It is truly heartening to find a foreigner like Harvey who obviously understands the hidden drawbacks of the internationally famed Swedish childcare system very well.
|Copy Link||March 17, 2010|
As you, Dear Reader, may know, especially if you live within the European Union (EU), much family-political influence is coming from that supernational level. The sentiments emanating from there seems similar to what is coming out of our own national (Swedish) government i.e. a preference for both parents to work for money away from home and for the children to be in crèches during day time, the very policies that inspired a handful of sceptics to form this association (Children's Right) more than a decade ago to do its best to expose the flipside of that coin: the undue coercion, the unhappiness, the social problems and the economic waste that is embossed there.
But a glimmer of hope, emanating from the European Parliament (EP), can be seen at the horizon. We have just become aware of a EU-parliamentary group calling itself The EP Intergroup on the Family, being in the process of revitalisation thanks to driving spirit cum Slovak MEP Anna Záborská.
On behalf of her group she has asked us and other family-friendly European associations for family-policy-related ideas to confront the EU heads of government with when they meet on 25-26 March to discuss the road ahead for the EU in the wake of the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty last December.
These where the two ideas we suggested:
Let us hope that this opportunity will lead to more contact for us with the powers that be in Brussels. With the exception of Ms Záborská & Co., we don't trust them in family politics!
Epilogue written March 6, 2010: Judging by the media reporting from the summit, the initiative of our friends in the EU parliament had little success. The meeting appeared almost exclusively to have been concerned with the financial crisis of Greece and with how the rest of the EU should handle it. But let's hope that our effort will come to some kind of fruition later.
|Copy Link||March 12, 2010|
Sweden's Education Ministry is preparing a bill for Parliament involving a number of changes to the country's Education Act, one of them being a tightening up of the rules governing home schooling. If the proposals are adopted, it will become next to impossible for a Swedish parent to home school her/his child in the future.
The parents of Sweden's few (only about 100) home-schooled children are up in arms over the proposal, but due to their small number and their poor representation in Parliament, they are not likely to win the battle.
Read what LifeSiteNews.com has to say about the matter - here!
To us in Children's Right this issue is an embarrassment, something that damages our reputation abroad. The fact that some adults out there do not behave as we would like them to cannot be taken as a licence to rob the entire population of its civil rights. The logical extension of this argument, appearing to be winning the day on home schooling, is surely that it is time to abolish representative democracy itself in favour of totalitarianism and expertocracy on the grounds that too many adults out there do not know what they are voting for every four years.
PS: Jonas Himmelstrand & family, mentioned in LifeSiteNews' article, are members of this association.
|Copy Link||March 10, 2010|
A crowd we have been impressed with for years is Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC). They do a lot of good stuff to balance the current international trend towards ever larger governments and ever less room left for families to live their own lives.
Yesterday, IMFC held a seminar titled Beyond the front door / Engaging families for strong social and economic policymaking that featured a number of prominent speakers, including Canada's Social Affairs Minister, Diane Finley, her opposition shadow, Mike Savage and MD/Psychiatrist Miriam Grossman (whom we have come across before).
Read a summary of the proceedings and/or listen to them - here!
Good work, all you clever and hard-working people at the IMFC! Just hang in there a little longer and you will soon find that all those powers that be will suddenly agree with you (according to the ketchup-bottle effect).
|Copy Link||March 10, 2010|
As you may know, Dear Reader, Australia currently has a left-leaning labour government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The next federal election must be held no later than April 16, 2011.
Already, the liberal-conservative opposition under Tony Abbott is preparing for that event e.g. by proposing a six-month, tax-paid, parental leave scheme modelled after my country's 'generous' system, to be financed by a surtax on the country's 3000+ largest companies.
The interesting thing about this is that Abbott, unsurprisingly, given the views one would expect from a man of the moderate right, in 2002, when his own coalition was in power said: "Compulsory, paid, maternity leave would be introduced over this government's dead body".
True, compulsory maternity leave is not the same thing as voluntary parental leave, but Abbott's recent move nevertheless suggests a pretty sharp about-turn. Is he taking it out of conviction or of strategy?
Read The Australian's account of the move - here!
It is frustrating noting how politicians try to con-trick their electorate by playing up to people's instinctive notion that tax funds are free, that others are paying for the party. As my fellow countrymen and -women have found out long ago, Australians will be paying dearly for what they thought was free.
In business con-tricks are illegal and punishable by law; they should be so also in politics.
|Copy Link||February 11, 2010|
That fiscal and social policies greatly influence people's behaviour, including the choices women make between running the home and working for money, is old hat to most of us, but associate professor Becky Pettit and researcher Jennifer Hook at the School of Social Work at University of Washington have taken that general knowledge to a deeper level by examining a whole host of different countries to determine the behavioural effects of different policy measures.
To the question which country is best for women to work and live in, Pettit replies:
My answer depends on what a woman wants, how much education she has and which resources are available to support her and her family. If you want to be a stay-at-home mother, Germany has a very extensive home leave policy. If you want to work full-time and have kids, the U.S. isn't bad if you can afford quality child care. If you want to work part-time, Sweden and Denmark have very good child care. And if you want to have your husband involved in child care, Finland is a good choice.
Read the university's press release about the findings - here!
Yours Truly however gets the impression that the investigators are nowhere near discussing how much political manipulation might be considered tolerable in countries aspiring to be popularly free or the macro-economic effects of the various public-spending schemes investigated.
|Copy Link||February 11, 2010|
An organisation calling itself Children in Scotland has investigated twenty-eight European countries for the correlation, if any, between systematic Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and family outcomes in terms of poverty elimination and educational achievements and found that such link do indeed exist.
Read biased Nursery World's account of the study - here!
It is easy to agree that good childcare and early learning is better than poor dittos but it is also important to point out that government-controlled and run ECEC schemes are not the sure-fire way to achieve this end that the study implies. Think the Soviet Union's and Israel's collective farms and their collective upbringing of children to get a hint of what we are driving at.
|Copy Link||February 9, 2010|
The month of February is the worst in Sweden for illness, knocking out both parents and children from work, child care, or schools. For child illness alone, the National Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) expects to pay out compensation to parents for 600 000 lost workdays during the current month alone.
Read the paper The Local's reporting on the matter - here!
That works out at approximately 30 000 parents a day being kept by the tax payers rather than their regular employers, at a total tax cost of SEK 33 m (US$ 4.7 m) a day.
This news item brings to mind Patricia Morgan's observation - here - that in any normal workday 20 - 30 percent of female workers are off on some kind of paid leave, making Sweden's high female workforce participation at 80 percent look somewhat like a Potemkin village.
|Copy Link||January 28, 2010|
In Sweden and Denmark, toddlers seem happy at their day-care crèches but that happiness comes at a cost paid in personal freedom. That can perhaps be said to be the gist of an article in today's issue of Britain's The Economist, which you can read - here!
But unfortunately, the writer seems to have accepted the popular fallacy that institutionalized child care is macro-economically profitable without much refection, which is why this association's Bo C Pettersson has posted a comment to the article on the web in an attempt to make at least a tiny crack in that high and wide wall of misunderstanding.
|Copy Link||January 27, 2010|
A couple of months ago we learnt that the EU commission has launched a project called Family Platform and that our sister organisation in this country, Haro, along with other similar organisations in other countries, has been invited to participate as a reference group. Another such participant is World Movement of Mothers, who, in preparation for future project meetings, have asked us to ask you, dear mother of small children, to participate in this survey of how life is for you and how you would like it to be.
The survey is said to take no more than 15 minutes, which we think the issue is worth - by a good margin!
|Copy Link||January 26, 2010|
Thanks to friends out there we have just discovered an interesting-looking book written by a Mr. Brian C Robertson, titled Day Care Deception / What the Child Care Establishment Isn't Telling Us. We have put up a notice about it in the Get/Buy section - here.
Judging by the excerpts and reviews we have read so far, it looks ever so interesting - and useful in our struggle for more family-friendly policies.
|Copy Link||January 23, 2010|
To Yours Truly's delight (1), the Swedish Bureau of Statistics has compiled a statistical profile of the average Swedish family, mother Anna and father Lars, aged 42 and 39 respectively, with their two children Johan and Emma. They live in a detached house in an urban area, drive an average Volvo and go on vacation once a year.
Read more on the Swedish English-language paper The Local's web site - here!
Footnote 1: "Delight" because that saved med from having to do the job myself!
|Copy Link||January 23, 2010|
In Germany, schools close at around 1 pm. That might well be one of the main reason why German women work outside their homes as little as they do.
That and many more interesting facts from Germany's childcare and education scene can be found in this interesting article in The NY Times.
By all means, keep schools open a little longer, especially for the older kids, but please keep family policies neutral between home making and outside working, i.e. do not copy the Swedish, very coercive model, practically starving out home makers!
|Copy Link||January 7, 2010|
Sweden was the first country in the world in 1979 to introduce a statutory ban on the spanking or belittling of children. Since then, as we know, many other countries have followed suit.
As far as this writer knows, very little has been done since then to evaluate the effects of the ban but that situation has changed recently thanks to a couple of American studies, indicting worse outcomes in a number of important ways:
Prof. of psychology, Marjorie Gunnoe, at Calvin College, Michigan, USA, has arrived at the conclusion that children who occasionally were disciplined physically performed better than those who weren't in a series of important areas, including school grades.
And Jason Fuller of the University of Akron Law School concludes that the incidence of child abuse and per-to-peer violence in Sweden has sky-rocketed since the ban was introduced.
Read American Newsmax.com's reporting on the two studies - here!
Prior to the law change, there was quite a bit of debate in Sweden between the two camps For and Against, a battle the 'yes' side won easily since a 'yes' sent a self-aggrandizing signal to society about the transmitter's implied excellence as a parent not needing manhandling to get the kids to behave properly, whilst a "no" suggested a propensity for violence few critics, in the end, were prepared to subject themselves to.
The critics' main argument, that the law change was unnecessary due to the fact that assault had been a serious crime in the country since time immemorial and since the courts inevitably viewed the molestation of children a strongly aggravating circumstance, did not quite bite.
The law change has certainly had an effect by seriously undermining parent's confidence as - yes - parents to the extent that many hardly dare to say 'no' to their children for fear of getting into legal trouble. This effect has been amplified by The State subjecting teachers (parents' stand-ins during school time) to similar treatment.
Prompted by the wisdom that comes from experience (that if you can be misunderstood you will be) we hereby unequivocally declare that this association does not advocate spanking or belittling of children; we merely wanted to bring a couple of interesting studies to your, dear reader's, attention, in which the physical disciplining of children was a factor - and express our opinion that our anti-spanking law has contributed to increased behavioural uncertainty among both parents and children in their two different roles.
|Copy Link||January 5, 2010|
In May 2008 - here - we were able to tell you that the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) had just passed a bill introducing a modest home-care allowance to parents wishing to look after their toddlers by themselves rather than surrendering them to the country's ubiquitous day-care establishments.
But fears have recently been voiced that the allowance is overwhelmingly being utilized by immigrants, obstructing integration and perpetuating alienation.
Read the Swedish English-language paper The local's reporting on the matter - here!
We in Children's Right recognize the problem but hold the view that since the joblessness and poverty many immigrants find themselves in are not caused by the allowance, it should not be used as a compensatory remedy. Surely these problems, like all other problems, must be fixed by attacking the primary causes. Abolishing the allowance - without a major overhaul of Sweden's insanely complicated, expensive and freedom-restricting family policies - to promote integration would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
|Copy Link||December 30, 2009|
Over the last 50 years or so, women across the developed world have left their homes and joined the paid workforce in ever greater numbers in response to changed fiscal and social policies. Now, Britain's weekly The Economist examines this change in terms of past, present and possible future consequences in three interesting instalments - here - here - and - here!
Even though the articles are long - but good - they are nowhere near discussing the macro-economic consequences of different policy strategies or their effects on personal freedom - or put differently: nowhere near exposing how impoverishing and freedom-restricting the otherwise-lauded Swedish welfare state is.
|Copy Link||December 28, 2009|
The Swedish Government, apparently backed by the majority EU's social affairs ministers, continues its propaganda about the incredible benefits of women being in the paid workforce, judging by - this - posting.
But as we wrote - here - as comments shortly after one of the conferences referred to in the above-mentioned press release, the arising need for child care when both parents are working turns the ministers' message (about the macro-economic profitability of female workforce participation) on its head.
All of us who see this falsehood must do more to expose it.
|Copy Link||December 12, 2009|
The adjacent graphs, obtained from the OECD and the Swedish Taxpayers' Association, show that in the three important family types investigated, Swedish parents are higher taxed than their counterparts in the rest of the EU and very much more so than in the USA. What is particularly interesting is that the taxation gap appears to be widest among lone parents with children.
But that impression is partially misleading since the stats hides the fact that lone parents with children are also big recipients of state benefits such as housing allowances, subsistence grants and dirt-cheap child care. On the face of it, this pay-back seems to balance out the higher tax burden but in practice the arrangement leaves a couple of serious problems behind, e.g. a poverty trap lone parents find it hard to get out of, and subordination, lifestyle-wise, to the state.
Another important omission embedded in the graphs is the fact that the tax burden reported does not include the VAT and the commodity taxes people pay with the take-home money as consumers. This additional taxation represents another approximately 14 percentage points on top of the figures reported.
And as usual, the report underlying the graphs is nowhere near highlighting the adverse macro-economic consequences of so much of the citizens' income being channelled through the state's coffers.
|Copy Link||December 9, 2009|
Britain's Conservative Party has long indicated that it wants public policy more to support marriage and staying together than break-up and living apart. But the ruling Labour Government sees this initiative as a potentially rewarding area of attack, accusing the Tories of trying to benefit married couples at the expense of cohabiting parents and single parents.
Read the BBC's account of the brawl - here!
Currently, the British taxation and benefits systems clearly penalise dual-parent families by taxing single-income families higher than dual-income income families and making tax-financed benefits far harder to come by for cohabiting parents than for lone parents. So it would seem as if Labour has taken on a heavy burden of proof delivery to support their charge.
|Copy Link||December 3, 2009|
In a column in today's issue of The Irish Times - here - writer, Frank Dillon, discusses which foundations, skills and moral attributes the "perfect citizen" should have and seems to arrive at the conclusion that we Swedes are pretty near perfect for the kind of society he would want to create, were he able to play God for the time it would take.
Firstly, we (in this org.) find the idea of some people even contemplating remaking man to suit their liking more both megalomaniacal and frightening. We hold the view that man is fine as (s)he is.
Secondly, we find Dillon's conclusions of my country's and its citizen's high qualities poorly deserved. We Swedes are basically not very different from any other people and there are so many coin downsides which Dillon is nowhere near discovering, that we don't know where to begin protesting.
However, let us try to summarize our objections by saying that the big-government kind of society Sweden is has consequences in areas such as affluence and personal freedom, which the Swedes have been able to compensate for only partially with industriousness.
So, transplanting Sweden's political solutions into societies lacking this strong survival instinct is a sure-fire blueprint for equally shared poverty, political subjugation - and for children having to grow up in farms away from their loving parents.
Now, is that really what Dillon is after?
|Copy Link||November 26, 2009|
Some six months ago - here - we noted that there is a strong move afoot in Ontario Canada to introduce tax-subsidised kindergarten for preschool children. Now we have learnt that the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) has just issued a report in which they have costed the proposed scheme and found - as usual we might add - that the provincial government's own estimates are way too optimistic.
Read the report-writer's opinion piece about the matter in Canada's largest daily, Globe and Mail - here - and the report itself - here!
Well done, we in this org. say! It is high time somebody puts the economic argument into the Canadian debate to counter the wide-spread misperception among both electors and elected that tax funds are free, as if they came from some generous benefactor in outer space.
However, the institute's estimates and conclusions raise a few questions and comments:
We in Children's Right have attempted to calculate the macro-economic effect of our own (Sweden's) institutionalised childcare system quite a few times. You find one a bit more involved approach - here - and another, significantly simpler and therefore more publicly manageable one - here.
|Copy Link||November 7, 2009|
We have just noticed that Germany's new conservative / liberal coalition government, still under Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, plans to introduce a childcare allowance in 2013 of €150 a month (approx. US$220), payable to those parents that are not making use of the country's tax-subsidised institutional day-care services. But there appears to be quite a bit of debate about it in Germany. Many seem to fear that the allowance will isolate many children and parents from the rest of society.
The reason why the sum is as modest as it is (by Swedish standards: €290, US$430 a month) is probably the fact that Germany's formal day-care services are not as heavily tax-subsidised as their Swedish counterparts are.
|Copy Link||October 28, 2009|
We have just become aware of the fact that Haro's present chairwoman, Madeleine Wallin has recently been elected chairperson also of Fédération Europénne des Femmes Actives au Foyer (FEFAF), thus succeeding the irishwoman Áine Uí Ghiollagáin.
As can be seen from the org.'s website it is a cooperative organ for national female associations, directing itself at international bodies such as the EU and the UN with the message that the roles women play in society must be appreciated.
We congratulate Wallin to her appointment and wish her luck in her new role.
Let us now only hope that FEFAF's leadership realises the there are essentially two reasons why women's work is so poorly valued:
Consequently, let us also hope that said leadership realises that the solution is true family taxation (i.e. that the family, not the individual members, be taxed as the family business it is), that all tax subsidies to these municipal homemaker services be abolished, at the same time as they are made tax deductible to the extent that they are necessary for the generation of income.
|Copy Link||October 25, 2009|
That may not be a literal quote from this opinion piece in today's issue of Britain's The Guardian but definitely a figurative one. The writer clearly wants the British Government to help her get men to behave more in line with her preferences by tweaking the taxes and benefits systems even more than they already are.
Promoting a certain distribution of family-related chores is beyond the authority of the British Government. Instead, Government should strive for maximum gender neutrality and personal freedom in its legislation and resist the temptation to impose political correctness on its people.
|Copy Link||October 20, 2009|
"The EU must do more to raise the employment level of women above the current average of 60 per cent." That was the conclusion of an EU ministerial conference in Stockholm last week.
Among the measures suggested to achieve the goal of getting more women out into the paid labour force were:
But the reasoning is so terribly flawed! Of course affluence would rise if women got good paid jobs in larger numbers but if one considers that for that to happen, many of them would have to put their children in the care of outsiders and pay for the service and the cost of that service tends to exceed the income women can make from their jobs, resulting in a net loss, not only to the family but also to society at large.
And don't for a moment think that hiding the cost of childcare with subsidies improves matters, it only increases the level of self-delusion and makes the loss greater by artificially increasing demand and making supply follow.
At a couple of places on this website, e.g. here and here, we have tried to explain why the childcare issue turns the alleged profitability of more female participation in the paid workforce on its head.
Joint taxation of spouses is only a problem if there is no tax exemption for dependants and if the income tax rate is progressive (1). Eliminating these two threats to joint taxation is easy; all it takes is a bit of political will.
Another fact which the ministers apparently need to be reminded of is the fact that governments run their countries by legislation and that this legislation is governed by constitutions and generally accepted legal principles. One such important principle is that the law shall apply equally to all, regardless of possible group associations (such as genders). Further it appears as if they need to be reminded of the fact that the law in EU countries already is pretty egalitarian and devoid of group association and has been so for more than a generation. Consequently, going beyond that point in an effort to coax people to behave more 'desirably' suggests law-tweaking that risks violating constitutions and fundamental legal principles.
|Copy Link||October 15, 2009|
Belatedly, we have discovered this interesting piece on the power balance between Sweden's government and its families and parents. But since the stuff on this site is ordered chronologically, our notice about the article ended up "below the horizon" right from the start, which is why we let this highlighter stay here for a while until it too sinks below the visibility line.
|Copy Link||October 10, 2009|
We have just become aware of Britain's Centre for Policy Studies (CPS)'s (1) just-published report titled What Women Want / and how they can get it.
In it, the author, Cristina Odone (2), comes to the conclusion that the British Government should abandon its hugely expensive Sure Start childcare programme and stop penalising stay-at-home parents (mothers) financially while unduly rewarding working parents. She advocates for the government (a) to pay out its childcare funds directly to parents for them either to stay at home for or buy childcare services for, and (b) to introduce joint taxation of co-habiting parents (also called "income splitting").
Get the report from - here!
We in this org. like what we have read so far, in particular Odone's conclusions and policy recommendations.
|Copy Link||September 9, 2009|
A U.S. medical doctor and psychiatrist, Miriam Grossman, has written a book titled You’re teaching my child what? A physician exposes the lies of sex education and how they harm your child.
In it she argues that the sex education our children get at school is incomplete and misleading at both the biological and moral levels.
Read an interesting interview with Dr. Grossman on the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada's website - here!
I must say Grossman's reasoning and conclusions resonate powerfully with Yours Truly! I wish I had had access to her facts and arguments before my children were exposed to the state's tuition on sex. I would then have objected far stronger than I did.
|Copy Link||September 9, 2009|
Apparently, the current left-leaning federal government of Australia is proposing a modest 18 weeks of parental leave for the country's infant parents as of 2011. But home-care-promoting, Brisbane resident, Tempe Harvey of the newly formed Kids First Parent Association of Australia warns against going down that road for fear that the end result will be less time parents can spend with their children, not more. And she refers to my country, Sweden, as a case in point.
Read Harvey's well argued piece in Brisbane's Courier Mail - here!
|Copy Link||August 25, 2009|
A study group from the University of Oxford has looked into the attitudes of men towards gender, housework and childcare in twelve different countries and rated them according to the template political correctness in the West dictates and found that Norwegian men are the best, followed by Swedes. But women out there: beware of Aussies!
Read more in The Examiner - here!
In the next report from the group I (a man) would like to read about women's interest in outside work like hunting, fishing, agriculture, forestry, carpentry, masonry, car maintenance, etc. The one that comes out on top I will woo ;-)
|Copy Link||August 15, 2009|
That babies are smarter than adults in terms of learning speed is old hat to most parents, but that they also have a good grasp of difficult stuff like probabilities and cause-and-effect relationships may be more newsworthy!
Some parents who have sensed how smart those little ones are draw the conclusion that they should be put into more formalised education as of a very early age, but since babies are unable to concentrate on any one task, that is the wrong thing to do.
That and much more is evident from this article in today's issue of the N.Y. Times.
Indirectly, the article puts up a strong case for parental care over institutional care of small children, from psychological and cognitive points of view.
|Copy Link||August 14, 2009|
Some time ago we took note of World Congress of Families' upcoming conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, August 10 - 12. Well, that event has just taken place.
To recap, WCF is a project run by The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, Illinois. The purpose of the project is to make the general public and its political leaders aware of the important role natural families play in society both socially and economically, to identify the problems facing today's families and to indicate solutions to these problems.
This year's conference was attended by almost a thousand delegates from over 60 countries who listened to interesting lectures by thinkers from all corners of the globe, from very different kinds of societies.
The conference ended last Wednesday with the participants' overwhelmingly adopting this very well put declaration.
Even the previous WCF, in Warsaw, Poland, in 2007, was quite a success, which we reported on - here!
|Copy Link||July 31, 2009|
More than a third of working British mothers want to quit their jobs to look after their children, six in ten would like to reduce their hours to spend more time with their young ones, and only two in ten would increase their work time if good and affordable childcare were available.
That is the essence of a British study just made public, one that was commissioned and sponsored by that country's government.
Read Britain's The Daily Mail's account of the findings - here!
In particular I reacted to the question: "What would you do if good and affordable childcare were available?". Isn't that like asking: "If top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz cars were available at heavily tax-subsidised prices while the prices of other cars were left intact, would that tilt your buying preferences in favour of Merks or not?"
Where has the idea come from that childcare, of all possible goods and services out there, should be tax-subsidised so as to skew people's preferences in favour of that very alternative to the detriment of all others?
I fear it has come from my country, but that move is nothing to copy but one to resist! Nothing good can come out of manipulating people's lifestyle decisions that way!
|Copy Link||July 15, 2009|
A couple of months ago - here - we discovered a very interesting book by an American, Dr. Chester E. Finn Jr. of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, USA in which Finn advocates quite another approach for governments to help underprivileged children catch up with their peers than the universal daycare solution currently in vogue throughout the western world.
Now we have discovered that Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family, Canada has written this sharp review of it, which we encourage you to read as a summary.
|Copy Link||July 11, 2009|
Gabor Maté, the Vancouver, Canada physician who co-wrote the book Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers with psychologist Gordon Neufeld has entered the debate about the provincial government's proposed early learning scheme for the region's four- to five-year-olds with this piece in the paper The Ottawa Citizen.
As you can see, Maté is very critical of the scheme, fearing that it will impair children's attachment to their parents and that this effect, in the next cycle, will harm their learning and their psychological health far up through the years. Note also that he refers to results from day-care-practicing Sweden for empirical underpinning of his conclusions.
Maté's problem definition is bang on! We hope many Ontarians will take heed.
|Copy Link||July 10, 2009|
If you, dear reader, have been following the international debate on childcare over the last few years, you have probably stumbled across the name Kate Tennier, carried by a sharp, forceful and charming woman from Toronto, Canada.
But Tennier has tried to hold back from the day-care tussle over the last few years, instead to focus on a book she is writing, in which she will be proposing a better way than customary to educate children, from primary school up (1).
But when her provincial government (Ontario) recently came out with a proposal for universal, tax-funded early schooling for four- to five-year-olds (2), she could not keep out any longer and has since written punchy opinion pieces in her country's dailies (3) and posted this proposal on her website as a principled, equitable and simple solution to the early education and care mistake her province seems heading for.
As you can see, Tennier proposes a universal, tax-funded allowance, payable to all parents of Kindergarten-age children, money the parents could use to finance whatever care and education solutions that work for their families.
As you may realise, that proposal agrees perfectly with this association's intermediate solution proposal (our long term one being what we call family taxation, which would reduce to a minimum the wasteful and freedom-restricting circular flow of money from parents to state coffers and back). For a bit more on our proposed long-term solution, read our comments to this news post!
|Copy Link||July 5, 2009|
Tax breaks worth thousands of pounds a year and a sweeping overhaul of the law to strengthen marriage are at the heart of a Conservative strategy to reverse family breakdown.
More specifically, the new initiative includes:
Read more about the initiative in The Daily Mail - here - and also the party's own summary of it - here!
How brave, sound and clever this initiative sounds! Yours Truly believes strongly that this move not only is the right medicine for Britain's parents and children but also will strengthen the party's chances of winning the next general election!
The equivalents of Britain's Tories in my country (Sweden) are the Moderates who current rule with another three, smaller, liberal and conservative parties. Now, in order to win our latest election (in 2006) the coalition's big brother, the Moderates, went in the opposite direction to the one the Tories are embarking on by 'expropriating' the main opponent's (our Social Democrats) stances on key issues such as family policies.
Consequently, without morale-boosting from us and others who fight for an end to discrimination of home makers, our Tory equivalents will not dare publicly to express their heart-felt ideology on family issues. So we have a job to do, the next election is only some 13 months away!
|Copy Link||July 4, 2009|
Thanks to our international network of think-alikes in child care we have just discovered Dr. Peter Cook in Queenscliff, NSW, Australia. He is a retired psychiatrist who involves himself in debates about issues that are important to mankind, including parenting and child care.
He has recently written a book titled Mothering Denied: The sources of love and how our culture harms infants, women and society. In it he argues that the lifestyle of the so-called 'developed' world (where separation of mothers and children is a typical feature) is bad for both parties and thereby for society at large.
Visit Cook's web site - and get his book - here!
With his book, Cook makes an important contribution to the debate about how mankind should live to be in harmony with nature, including how children should be looked after.
Cook says he is interested in getting the book published, so if you, dear reader, happen to be a publisher or has a friend who is and find that idea interesting, please contact the author directly.
|Copy Link||June 26, 2009|
It is with shocking shortsightedness the current crop of educational central-planners in Ontario cannot see that the province's rich tapestry of diverse early learning opportunities and the “humble activities and practices” of those now caring for and educating their young are our strong suit, and that it is the one-size-fits-all, full-day, schooling of three- to five-year-olds that will drastically curtail their education. /…/
We need to remedy this oversight by having our government put their money where their mouth is. I propose a new program called “Kindergarten Credit” where the funds allotted for kindergarten be given directly to parents so that we can keep alive this powerful diversity of educational options that is working so well for Ontario's kids.
Those are true, strong and well argued words written by Kate Tennier of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in one of her country's major newspapers (The National Post), in an effort to stop her province's move towards Swedish-style, industrial-scale, child care.
Read her impressive contribution in full - here!
|Copy Link||June 23, 2009|
A couple of Swedish parents have stirred up debate in the country by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child is a boy or a girl.
In the spirit of the current wave of feminism, they are doing that in an effort to prevent the child from being socially influenced into behaving specifically boyish or girlish, they say.
Read the Swedish, English-language, paper The Local's reporting on the matter - here!
Not treating a little girl differently to a boy is a good thing, I think, up to a point. But I wonder what the two parents will do when the child starts showing a preference for toy trucks to dolls, or vice versa? Will they then remove the preferred toy and give it the other in an effort to make the child retain its androgyny, or not?
I hope not!
|Copy Link||June 23, 2009|
Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has concluded that the risk of children contracting contagious diseases is twice as high in the average, private, day-care home and no less than six times as high in the average day-care centre as at home (footnote).
These facts were brought to the fore in a local TV broadcast to central Sweden yesterday.
In it, a young mother from Västerås (Yours Truly's home town) was interviewed, saying that she and her child have been ill virtually constantly over the last nine months due to infections picked up from the child's day-care centre.
The regional disease control officer was also interviewed, saying that day-care children are ill approximately 15 per cent more often than home-staying kids are and that children acquiring immunity to contagious diseases is a good thing.
In other words, we viewers were treated to two different figures on the risk of disease contagion in day-care centres, the doctor's figure of 15% and the Board's of six times (500%). I must say, I find the Board's figure more credible.
Further, I find the doctor's argument about the advantages of children picking up infectious diseases somewhat puzzling. True, I can accept that if I do fall ill and subsequently recover, the fact that I, by then, probably have acquired good immunity to that specific illness for the future is a consolation. But if I don't recover fully or actually die, that consolation undoubtedly pales considerably.
In addition, that consolation effect is likely to be equally strong, regardless of whether the illness occurs early or late in life. Or put differently: I have a problem seeing any advantage in a child contracting a severe ear infection at the age of two compared with getting it at seven - or never.
Against the background of the current world-wide spread of antibiotics resistance, the problem the local TV network put its finger on yesterday may well turn out to become the single factor that makes child daycare, as we know it today, impossible in the future. I.e., regardless of all other factors militating against such care.
Footnote: Rest assured that the agency in no way highlights these sensational findings, neither in its intro, nor in its conclusion. They are safely buried deep inside its 138 p. report, lest critics like us will find them.
|Copy Link||June 19, 2009|
After over forty years of Head Start preschool in the U.S., no one is claiming improved outcomes.
Over £3-billion of Sure Start in the U.K. resulted in worse outcomes for the target population of children of low-income single mothers, according to the £20-million assessment.
For fulfilled promises of improved “social cohesion,” don’t look to race-riot-prone France where over 90% of children attend state programs.
The Swedish government reports “unintended consequences”: too few staff, adverse effects on learning, “inadequate” facilities. And that’s at $27,000 per child a year! Worse, after over a generation of universal daycare, Swedish women have not achieved the promised equality: Instead they experience increased domestic violence and are concentrated in low-pay jobs.
These are key statements in another broadside (footnote) against Canada's plans for introducing Swedish-style day-care for all children, delivered by Helen Ward, President of our sister organisation Kids First Canada, in today's issue of that country's big daily: the National Post.
Hooray for Ward and Kids First! We couldn't have worded it better! And the best thing of all is: she has the facts on her side!
Footnote: There is some error in the web page downloaded via this link that makes Internet Explorer browser up to & including v6 abort and shut down. Later versions of IE and other makes of browsers seem to handle the page OK though.
|Copy Link||June 17, 2009|
That is the finding of a group of researchers from the University of the West of England (in Bristol), about which you can read a summary in today's issue of Britain's The Daily Telegraph - here!
|Copy Link||June 17, 2009|
The Barry Examiner in Ontario Canada runs this well-argued editorial in its issue of today, asking two basic questions about the lavish daycare programme currently being debated in that province:
What results will it produce, and will they justify the cost?
The writer arrives at the conclusion that the benefits will not justify the cost, not even in the area the proponents cite as the scheme's most important one: the learning effect on children.
Educators, psychologists, sociologists - and alarmingly, too many politicians - are notorious for failing to consider all aspects of political issues, in particular the cost and personal-freedom ones. To far too many of them, the tax money their grandiose schemes require is free, thus not disadvantaging affluence or freedom. But this notion is so totally wrong and must be exposed as such!
|Copy Link||June 16, 2009|
Apparently an ambitious preschool scheme is being considered for the province of Ontario in Canada; the provincial prime minister seems convinced of its merits. But there are sceptics, an authoritative one being economist and Nobel Prize laureate James Heckman who demolishes the proponents claims of spectacular benefits.
He says early childhood education confers no long-term benefit on middle-class kids. Nor, in the form proposed by the regional Premier does it shrink the gap between the haves and have-nots.
– Early intervention can make a difference with disadvantaged children - but only if it is far more intensive (and expensive) than any public preschool programs now on offer anywhere, he says. "Even then, the positive effects are far more limited than advocates claim."
Read Margaret Wente's reflexions on the pros and cons of the proposed scheme in the paper Globe and Mail - here!
I like everything Wente writes except her mindless (?) praise of universal daycare for being such a wonderful place for stressed up parents to park their kids at while they themselves are at work! Does she not understand that universal daycare is not the generous gift from outer space it appears to be?
Does she not understand that that kind of care - generally speaking - is so economically inefficient that parent will have to work just about round the clock to make up?
She should ask us Swedes; we have more experience in these matters than most!
PS: There are other ways to assess the macroeconomic effect of tax-funded child care than the one Heckman has followed. There is one - more complicated - way - here - and a simpler one - here!
|Copy Link||June 13, 2009|
Yesterday United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded another annual session in which it reviewed progress in selected countries towards better compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, among them Sweden.
Our government was praised for recent clarifications of the child-protection aspect in certain laws but concern was also expressed about a number of issues, including:
Read a summary of the committee's findings (also about Bangladesh, France, Mauritania, Niger, Oman, Romania and Slovenia) - here!
But true to form, the committee does not notice the gross discrimination the state subjects homemakers, looking after their own children, to! We in this org. have to face it, our complaint about that aspect in 2004 fell on barren ground.
In addition one wonders if the committee understands the extent to which our successive governments are to blame for the above-listed ills by systematically undermining the role of the family as the primary protector of children and that this endeavour on the part of our elected representatives constitutes a more fundamental violation of the convention they are supposed to uphold than the above-listed points.
In other words, the committee should request a reversal of latter decades' family policies so that families will be able to re-establish themselves but does not appear to be doing so. The prospects look grim!
|Copy Link||June 5, 2009|
The day before yesterday, our sister organisation in Sweden, Haro, held an important seminar in Stockholm on the question why ill psychological health is as widespread as it is in our country among the young and what should be done about it. Approximately 140 people convened primarily to listen to what psychologist Gordon Neufeld from Canada and child-care researcher Jay Belsky from the U.K. had to say about the matter.
Minister of public health, Maria Larsson, opened the proceedings by stressing the importance of good bonding between parents and children.
– The poor attachment between parents and children in the western world is a serious threat to the cohesion of society, Dr. Neufeld said in a powerful speech that left few eyes dry.
Neufeld has synthesised current theories and confirmed knowledge in attachment, neurobiology and social anthropology into a mental framework that explains the main causes of ill psychological health among the young, a model that resonates powerfully with us parents' everyday experiences.
– It is true that day care of a high quality seems able to offer cognitive advantages over home care, said Prof. Belsky, "But those advantages seem lost a few years later when the children are in proper school. In addition, a single year of preschool seems to be all it takes to gain that - temporary - advantage."
– Much time in day care also increases the risk of aggression and bad behaviour, he added.
But judging from the subsequent panel debate among Swedish-only dignitaries, in the field, neither of the two "foreigners" were able to implant much new knowledge in the heads of our own "experts". It came primarily to deal with how to empower our various government agencies involved better to prevent and treat the problem than how to enable parents to look after their own children when they are small.
It was truly shocking to note that only the little triweekly oppositional paper Världen Idag, out of all Sweden's many media organs, found the event worth covering. What might be the reason for the absence of all other journalists?
Finally, despite the fact that we found Haro's seminar very important and well staged, we would like to remind our family politicians that the issue addressed has many more aspects than there was time to cover in Stockholm last Wednesday; for instance the medicinal, personal-freedom-related and macro-economic ones.
In other words, we argue that the conclusions from the seminar do not suffice as a basis for successful family policies.
|Copy Link||June 4, 2009|
That is the conclusion Rebecca Walberg and Andrea Mrozek have arrived at by summing up tax payments going to single parents for welfare, child care and housing.
They presented their findings under the auspices of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada at a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa yesterday, concluding that government policy must include encouraging parents to marry and stay married, and underpinning their findings with many more factors than those measured in dollars.
Read the press release from the meeting - here!
The effect on society at large of the extent to which families manage to stay together - or break up - is an interesting one which we in this association would like to investigate further.
|Copy Link||June 1, 2009|
…on children aged 1-3, provided that care is of a high quality and provided the staff density is high.
That is the conclusion of a metastudy the Swedish National Institute of Public Health has conducted, about which you can read a press release - here!
In this conclusion, the provisos "high quality" and "high staff density" are, no doubt, key ones. (What I mean is: it just isn't good enough merely to discuss the matter in its ideal situation, it must also be discussed in its opposite and due conclusions thereof be drawn.)
Note that the institute's summary is silent on all other aspects of communal vs. familial child care, e.g. the consequences on children's psychological and social developments, the medical risks, parents' psychological well-being, human rights, and overall societal affluence.
This observation leads to the inescapable conclusion that the institute's conclusion is totally inadequate a basis for decisions about how small children should be looked after, or about which party should make the decisions, the parents or the government.
It is intriguing that the report comes out now, two days before our sister org. Haro's ambitious seminar on child care in Stockholm in which the main author of the report will participate in a panel debate. It seems as if the political and bureaucratic Sweden is taking note after all.
|Copy Link||May 31, 2009|
…by paying out childcare allowances directly to parents [instead of spending the money to promote a specific form of care, Yours Truly's remark], suggests psychology professor Jay Belsky in this article we have just discovered "out there":
That would seem to be an excellent way of enabling parents to exercise true freedom of choice. They could use the money to supplement family income, should mother (or father) choose not to seek paid employment. Or the same money could be used to purchase child care, should both parents (or the single parent) seek paid employment.
It just so happens that Prof. Belsky will address a gathering of family-politics-interested Swedes on June 3 under the stewardship of our sister org. Haro.
Well put, Prof. Belsky! We could hardly have worded it better ourselves!
In view of the fact that you are into psychology rather than economics or politics, you are excused for not realising that an even better solution would be family taxation (an improvement on income splitting) that would enable both parents to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of the family the way they see fit from life-phase to life-phase, without undue governmental interference.
|Copy Link||May 17, 2009|
…writes India Knight in today's issue of Britain's Sunday Times, suggesting that the idea that women are able to have successful professional careers at the same time as they pay reasonable attention to their children, families and homes simply is an unachievable fantasy.
Read her lengthy but insightful argument - here!
We must come to terms with the fact that both men and women have instincts and interest which government policies must harmonise with, not militate against, if we want parents and children to be happy and develop well.
When a man and a women decide to form a family and even more so when the first child comes along, life changes drastically (as every older person who has been there knows only too well ;-)
At that point, mutual dependency develops which the government cannot undo, no matter how hard it tries.
The mother gets dependent on her man for shelter, food, clothes and emotional support, the father on his woman for looking after the home and the child while he goes about his business.
There is nothing wrong with this mutual dependency and this seemingly unequal division of labour, on the contrary, the meaning of life can be found somewhere here. And economists have, ever since the mid-18th century, argued convincingly that specialisation is key to elevated overall prosperity.
So by attempting to undo this reciprocity and to replace it with citizens' individual dependency on the state, as most western governments beaver away at these days, they are doing their people a great disservice by sowing seeds of unhappiness, divorce and juvenile delinquency.
|Copy Link||May 10, 2009|
Under the heading "Families under pressure – Why we need a new appreciation of the family", the "Network of Families, Germany" and Parents' Initiative, Thüringen jointly held a seminar in Die Alte Oper in Erfurt yesterday.
One item on the agenda was the give-out of the Matejcek Award, this time to two people: the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, Petr Nechas, and the Slovakian Member of the European Parliament, Anna Zaborska.
The ceremonial prize awarders, Justice Minister Marion Walzmann of Thüringen and State Secretary Hermann Binkert, also of Thüringen, praised the recipients for the courage they have exhibited in defending the family as a social institution and in promoting child rearing in the home rather than in day-care institutions in important forums such as EU institutions, all against the trend of the times.
In Thüringen as in so many other areas of Germany, family issues, such as mothers' role and child care, are debated heatedly. The ruling Christian Democrats of the state are pursuing a family-friendly course which has resulted in Thüringen being the only region of Germany exhibiting an increasing birth rate.
Read a fuller report on the proceedings (in German) - here!
Our congratulations to an important and well executed event go to the two organising societies.
|Copy Link||May 5, 2009|
We have just become aware of a new book under subject title, written by a Dr. Chester E. Finn Jr. of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, USA in which Finn advocates quite another approach for governments to help underprivileged children catch up with their peers than the universal daycare solution currently in vogue throughout the western world.
Read the institution's press release about the book - here - the book itself - here - or buy it e.g. - here!
Dr. Finn is bang on with his reasoning and conclusions! We can only hope that lots of parents, politicians and day-care advocates discover and read his book.
|Copy Link||May 4, 2009|
We in Children's Right to Their Parents Sweden held our annual members' meeting yesterday - and appointed Jenny Odälv chair person, Joakim Widell treasurer, Krister Pettersson and Bo C Pettersson consultative directors – and Monica Bodling and Eva Sternberg stand-by dittos.
Strategically, the meeting decided on the following course of action for the association for the year ahead::
– I look forward to my new role in the association with "controlled alarm", says our newly appointed chair person, Jenny. "There is so much we would like to do, so my most important task will be to make sure that we reach as far as we can with the limited resources we have."
"I am an incorrigible optimist, believing that sooner rather than later, our message, that parental care of children beats third-party care hands down, will soon break through the communication barrier out there that has existed for so long!"
|Copy Link||April 14, 2009|
Listen to this Finnish woman on You Tube, criticising universal daycare not only energetically but also persuasively!
(Note that in the lower right-hand corner of the player, you can switch on English subtitles.)
As much as I sympathised with the woman (Nina Mikkonen), I was frightened by her opponent, Jarkko Tontti's false argument that an overwhelming majority of scientific studies indicate that children benefit from universal daycare. That is simply not true and even less so if the delayed pubertal and adolescent effects of such care are taken into account!
|Copy Link||April 7, 2009|
In Dr. Laura Schlessinger's latest book: "In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms", she arrives at the above-cited conclusion and defends the choice of staying at home to raise your children by yourself very persuasively.
Read an excerpt from her book - and watch a video interview with Schlessinger - here!
Needless to say staying at home with your kids could be the right choice also for men, provided the subsistence issue is solved somehow.
|Copy Link||April 1, 2009|
The chairwoman, Helen Ward, of our sister org. in Canada, Kids First (Parents' Association of Canada) today lets loose on all those individuals and organisations who, either out of ignorance or a desire to go with the flow, advocate industrial-scale childcare for all Canada's preschool toddlers.
Read her powerful broadside in her country's newspaper The National Post - here!
In view of all the hard facts Ward brings into her argument, it appears as if the last thing it needs is additional evidence. Yet, I cannot stop myself from trying to provide additional underpinning:
Ask us Swedes, we know!
|Copy Link||March 31, 2009|
The stuff of life – the elemental events surrounding birth, death, raising children, fulfilling one's personal potential, dealing with adversity, intimate relationships – occurs within just four institutions: family, community, vocation and faith. Seen in this light, the goal of social policy is to ensure that those institutions are robust and vital. But the European model doesn't do that, it enfeebles every single one of them.
Those are powerful introductory words by a Mr. Charles Murray in today's issue of the Detroit News, leading up to the argument that Europe's big-government solutions impoverish life for Europe's citizens.
Read his interesting article - here!
|Copy Link||March 13, 2009|
No affluent country seems impervious to the seductive calls of day-care advocates. We pioneering but critical Swedes see it all over the place, from Russia to Australia, from Japan to the USA.
The allure is based on the false and unspoken premise that the tax money required for such schemes is free and consequently that the programmes represent attractive new options that do not disadvantage existing childcare options, parental care of own children included.
But fortunately there are people out there who do see through these false holdouts; John Stossel, Catherine Brosseau and Andrew Kirell of ABC News, USA, seem to be three of them. Read their revealing conclusions on their paper's website - here!
We in this org thank the three writers for their help in getting an important message out.
|Copy Link||March 13, 2009|
Yesterday, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) held a seminar on subject topic near Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada, which attracted over a hundred attendants. They came to listen to speeches delivered by dignitaries such as the Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith, London, England; Dr. Gabor Maté, Vancouver, Canada; and Dr. Kay Hymowitz, New York, USA on different aspects of the above-suggested connection.
Read IMFC's summary of the proceedings - here!
IMFC is to be lauded for having organised this important conference and for having driven home the importance of functioning families to the reduction of social problems.
|Copy Link||February 27, 2009|
That is American author Megan Basham's advice to her fellow women in her recently published book "Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide To Having It All".
A key paragraph in the book reads as follows:
Though the feminist movement was essential in many respects, certain factions of it have led to a place where women are encouraged to treat their husbands as rivals and their homes as battlegrounds over whether everyone is doing the same amount of the dishes and earning.
Read The Guardian's Kate Bussmann's interview with Basham - here!
In macro-economic terms unequal division of labour between spouses makes sense. Economists call it specialisation and maintain that the distribution of chores on the basis of aptitude and personal interest, not on the basis of equal workload per chore, is key to the prosperity the developed world has achieved over the last few centuries. To them the equal workload distribution per chore, advocated by today's feminists, reduces economic efficiency and thereby overall affluence.
|Copy Link||February 9, 2009|
Single-income families in Britain pay far more tax than their counterparts in other developed countries do. That is the finding in a research effort published today, about which you can read more - here!
It would not have gone amiss if the report also had pointed out that a single-income family in the U.K. just like in my country, Sweden, pays significantly more taxes than a dual-income family does at the same total income. This discrimination of single-income families and home makers must go!
|Copy Link||February 7, 2009|
As you may know, proponents of early education of children argue that such formal education gives toddlers a head start in life, an advantage they are alleged to maintain throughout the years.
But this argument is disproved by OECD's PISA study, indicating that if there is such an advantage early on, it cannot be detected by the time the children turn 15, at least not in the fields of reading science and maths.
In this study, involving scores of countries, Finland did best, followed by Hong Kong, followed by Canada.
Sweden, a country spending far more not only on early education but also on 'proper' primary and secondary schooling than the three top scorers do, only reached 21st position.
The Canadian School Board has summarised the results nicely - here!
This is but one of several studies we have seen fluttering by, indicating, not very surprisingly, that there are other factors besides time spent in preschool that determines the educational results of children and youngsters. In addition, the cognitive progress of toddlers, at that tender age, is but one of several factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding how small children should be looked after Other factors are neuro-biological, medicinal, emotional, psychological, social, personal-freedom-related and macro-economic.
|Copy Link||February 6, 2009|
The upcoming (?) Swedish film director, Lukas Moodysson's latest film, 'Mammuth' is about a young family in which the mother doesn't much like her work as an emergency surgeon at a hospital since it prevents her from being there for her daughter.
Instead, the daughter is taken care of by a Philippino maid who has abandoned her own children in her home country to support herself and them by working abroad.
The father, a hard-working Internet entrepreneur, has also developed dissatisfaction with the life he leads, so, while on a trip, he is unfaithful with a prostitute, who – it turns out – has also left her children to their own devices to be able to focus more fully on her 'job'.
Presumably, Moodysson intended the film to be a contribution to a more general debate about the priorities we set for our lives, but it can also be seen as input to the gender-roles debate about what can easily happen to women and children if we sacrifice family life and our offspring for money-making and professional careers.
In sum, I found the film thought-provoking and therefore important. My male protective instinct was fired up strongly vis-à-vis my woman and my children. She shall definitely not be forced to work for money to make ends meet if she prefers home making. And our children shall always have access to a live home whenever they need comforting or recuperation.
Moodysson definitely has a point; the price of money-making and self-fulfilment out there can easily become to high.
I think I shall contact him to inform him of this association's existence and suggest membership ;-)
|Copy Link||February 4, 2009|
That is the title of a frank and self-critical article in today's issue of Britain's The Times by playwright Zoe Lewis, the conclusion being that she feels misled by today's feminism into having focused too much on her career and too little on - yes - "love, children and baking".
Read her convincing story - here!
|Copy Link||February 4, 2009|
That seems to be the conclusion of seven Sweden-residents interviewed by the English-language, Swedish, paper The Local, an effort you can read - here!
Although seven respondents are not much to base any firm conclusions about popular opinion on, the results are nevertheless worrisome to day-care critics like us in this association. This is because the answers indicate that people out there do not understand that Sweden's family policies (which are characterised by strong incentives for both parents to work for money and to hand in their toddlers to day nurseries for care) are very coercive, freedom-restricting and affluence-reducing in nature. Consequently, they are not the generous gift from government they appear to be.
Those interviewees should read this piece for a start, it might help them wake up.
There seems to be no letup in sight for us in this org in our mission to inform the public about the effects all around of our internationally but on false grounds famed family policies.
|Copy Link||February 2, 2009|
The aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is the greatest threat to British children. That is the conclusion of a report by Britain's Children's Society which was made available today.
It calls for a sea-change in social attitudes and policies to counter damaging factors such as family break-up, outsourcing of child care, unprincipled advertising aimed at the young, too much competition in education and income inequality.
Read (a summary of) the report - here, and BBC's even more concise sum-up - here!
How very good! One can only hope that policy makers in both Britain and abroad take heed and that parents who raise their children by themselves take heart and realise that they are doing the right thing.
|Copy Link||January 30, 2009|
In May last year (i.e. here), we were able to tell you that the home-care allowance solution, promised by our current liberal-conservative government as of its election campaign in 2006 and intended as a supplement to our pervasive tax-financed day-care system, had finally materialised.
Now we are able to tell you that the same government is taking another step towards reform in child care by preparing a bill for Parliament, proposing a childcare voucher system intended to enable parents to buy day care on what is hoped will become more of an open market for the service than hitherto.
By implication, the bill creates the possibility that home makers establish themselves as providers of day-care services in their homes. According to it, such establishments shall be accepted and approved, provided certain minimum quality standards are met and the provider accepts at least one 'foreign' child for every own child.
Read how the Swedish government itself presents the news - here!
There are many interesting differences between the home-care allowance (hereafter: HCA) made possible last year and the impending childcare voucher system (hereafter: CVS). These include:
The introduction of the CVS should not be interpreted as if our government intends to trim our existing, huge, daycare industry down to size. So, to counteract any shift in patronage from our traditional day-care establishments to the coming CVS-funded homes, the bill also includes the proposal that the 15 hours a week of free daycare time currently offered to four-year-olds and above shall also be offered to three-year-olds.
It goes without saying that we in this org are pleased with the fact that the CVS, after all, amounts to another option for day care of children, but we are also critical of it for making our already complicated, arbitrary and coercive childcare arrangements even more so.
What Sweden and Swedish parents need is a simpler, more principled and fairer - single - system, such as a general childcare voucher system that parents can either stay at home for, or buy daycare services for. (This implies abolishing all those huge tax subsidies going to our municipally run daycare centres and ditto mothers.)
But an even better solution would be family taxation (i.e. treating the family, taxation-wise, as the family business it happens to be), combined with tax deductibility for support burden and income-necessary expenses (such as day care).
That latter solution would strengthen the family as a social unit, shift power from the state to the families and their members, and enable the members to contribute to the well-being of the family as they see fit from time to time without undue governmental interference.
And last but not least, it would raise affluence and create more jobs, advantages families surely would enjoy and home makers enjoy doubly as they end their home-duty periods to take up paid jobs outside.
|Copy Link||January 26, 2009|
Sweden has long been regarded internationally as a model nation in social policy-making, not least in fields such as child care and family politics, despite protests from dissidents like us in this org, who try to put over the notion that every coin has a flip side, often quite an ugly one.
So we get pleased when discovering that some foreigners who examine us from afar manage to retain their critical attitude even when the study object is something as glittery as Sweden's social policies - such as Peter Kamakawiwoole who has written this article for ParentalRights.org on the power balance between the Swedish state and its citizens and families.
As you can see, Kamakawiwoole has had a little help from a friend of some of us: Ms. Ruby Harrold-Claesson, chair woman of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights (NCHR), an organisation focusing on violations of human and familial rights in connection with law-based separation of children from their parents, i.e. an association that supplements ours nicely in terms of activity fields.
|Copy Link||January 26, 2009|
The well known British psychologist, Dr. Penelope Leach, has written another book on child care, this one titled "'Child Care Today / Getting It Right for Everyone". That book is reviewed in glowing terms in The Boston Globe by an independent journalist - here!
It is obvious from the review that the Scandinavian countries, with their lavish public spending on early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a role model in the field, both to the book author and to the reviewer. But the analysis is one-sided; neither of the two seems to understand how what appears to be a generous gift from government can be a freedom-restricting and affluence-reducing coercion which is incompatible with widely accepted conventions on human rights.
The two should read this piece to get a more balanced view!
|Copy Link||December 13, 2008|
When it comes to caring for children, Sweden ranks highest among the world’s wealthy countries, according to a new report from the United Nations children’s organization, UNICEF.
The report compares OECD countries, as well as Slovenia, on ten different criteria, including parental leave, access to quality preschools, funding for childcare, and the frequency of child poverty.
Of the 25 countries included in the study, Sweden is the only one which meets all ten of UNICEF’s recommended benchmarks.
Read the paper The Local's reporting on the matter - here!
Believe it or not but this is the same report that Irish Independent took note of under the heading you find one notice down. It is quite interesting how the same news item can be presented so totally differently.
It is frustrating to note how naive UNICEF is in its ranking. Apparently whichever government spends the most tax money on child care wins their game. There appears to be no cost-benefit analysis whatsoever.
|Copy Link||December 11, 2008|
That is the heading of an article in today's issue of the Irish Independent, referring to a recently published report from the UNICEF, concluding not only what the above heading suggests but also - somewhat illogically - that government should massively subsidise childcare for toddlers to avoid the danger that 'disadvantaged' children are looked after and brought up by their inadequate parents.
Read the paper's summary of the report - here!
The best help governments could give disadvantaged families would be letting them keep their money, i.e. not levying taxes on them before they reach subsistence level and making income-necessary costs such as those for day care income-deductible. That would make best sense macro-economically, personal freedom-wise and child-psychologically.
|Copy Link||December 4, 2008|
Family structure and the way families function matter to children, adults, and communities. Consequently, government policies should support families legally and financially, not merely skirt the issue by focusing on other more politically correct aspects and wasting society's limited resources on them.
That is Yours Truly's best attempt at summarising Peter Jon Mitchell of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada's conclusions from a metaresearch effort he has just concluded and reported on - here.
Those guys and dolls at the IMFC have a way of making Your Faithful Servant happy.
|Copy Link||November 28, 2008|
That is the message of Tom Hodgkinson's opinion piece in today's issue of the British paper the Daily Telegraph, an effort you can read - here!
But since the government has the power to enact legislation and taxation that rewards certain behaviours and penalises others, ignoring those kinds of meddling is often easier said than done.
Although I enjoyed Hodgkinson's article in every way, I find him a bit naive on this point. Undue governmental interference must not only be ignored, it must be fought!
|Copy Link||November 21, 2008|
Children who are put in buggies leaving them facing forwards, away from the pusher, develop at a slower rate cognitively and socially than children facing the pusher do, a study carried out at the University of Dundee (Scotland) shows.
Read more - here!
|Copy Link||November 20, 2008|
That is a question British sociologist and debater Catherine Hakim poses in today's issue of the Tribune Magazine and answers with "no".
In developing her answer, she draws heavily from the role model in social policy Sweden is held up to be internationally.
Read her incisive and well-argued contribution to the gender-equality debate - here!
We have noticed with gratitude Hakim's contributions to popular sanity before; try our "Search…" service for examples.
|Copy Link||November 20, 2008|
That apparently was the message delivered by Dr. Orla Doyle of University College Dublin's School of Public Health to a gathering of people interested in child development yesterday at Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin. The event was organised by an Irish organisation calling itself CPLN Area Partnership.
And Swedish daycare advocate Barbara Martin Korpi impressed the attendants with facts and figures from her adoptive country, e.g. that as many as 50 per cent of Sweden's 1-year-olds and more than 90 % of its 2- to 5-year-olds are in day care outside their homes.
Read The Irish Times' reporting from the event - here!
I wish I had been there! Then I would have asked Doyle to substantiate her fantastic claim - and supplemented Korpi's rosy description of her host country with the remark that Swedish parents put such a high percentage of their kids in day care, not because they want to, but because the combination of mindlessly high tax subsidies going to daycare establishments and a crushing tax burden forces them to do so, for economic reasons!
Gatherings on child development populated only by sociologists and developmental psychologists, i.e. lacking input from other aspects of the issue, are dangerous do's. There is so much these two categories of people simply do not understand.
|Copy Link||November 18, 2008|
Apparently, the issue of government-funded maternity or parental leave is high on the agenda in Australia at the moment. Among all the contributions to the ongoing debate in that country we can find, we - for now - pick this one, from Jessica Brown, policy analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies down under.
She advocates for her country that the entire, present, bubble-and-squeak of government payouts to different kinds of families and parents be overhauled with the purpose of designing a scheme which can be perceived of as fair and normatively neutral by all.
Yours Truly agrees with Brown wholeheartedly.
|Copy Link||November 1, 2008|
Family life is breaking down because middle-class parents put work before their children, according to a study made by the British Government.
Half of parents feel they do not spend enough quality time with their children due to the pressure of long working hours, it found.
Parents who are 'cash rich' but 'time poor' spent less family time at home than those on lower incomes.
Read a report on the findings in The Daily Mail - here!
But of course, nowhere in the report does it say that the government itself is to blame for these effects, due to its single minded policy of getting all parents into the paid workforce and their children into crèches.
|Copy Link||October 10, 2008|
…The [Swedish] government presents this [Sweden's drive towards gender equality] as liberation of women and sexual liberation, but it is actually about breaking down rival sources of power: The traditional Christian culture and the nuclear family.
This leaves the state more powerful since it can regulate all aspects of life and, most importantly, indoctrinate the nation's children as it sees fit, without undue parental interference. The state replaces your family, raises your children and cares for your elderly.
So writes energetic Norwegian columnist and blogger, Fjordman, in - this - lengthy but insightful observation of Swedish society from outside. In it he comments on many aspects of our politics and culture, including our family policies, as can be seen from the quote above, putting it all in a larger framework which makes seemingly unrelated and harmless societal trends look not so unrelated or harmless any more.
There definitely is a need in my country for other opinion journalists out there to give Fjordman a hand in getting his message out.
|Copy Link||October 4, 2008|
The European Commission unveiled yesterday plans to extend minimum maternity leave in Europe by around a month, putting pressure on several EU nations to offer more support to working mothers.
As usual, Sweden is held up as a shining example. Read AFP's press release about the initiative - here!
A better approach than more financial support by governments to parents would be a restoration of the family as the indispensable social institution it happens to be, and a return to the these days largely abandoned principle of taxing families only on income exceeding subsistence level. Such an approach would bring great macro-economic and personal-freedom benefits.
|Copy Link||October 1, 2008|
A second adult involved in the raising of children has positive effects on the young in terms of mental capacity, skills and abilities far into adult life, a study made by academics at the University of Newcastle shows.
Read Britain's The Daily Telegraph's reporting on the matter - here!
PS: About a year ago, a group of child psychologists arrived at a similar conclusion, as reported - here!
Is anyone surprised that two parents achieve better results than only one?
|Copy Link||September 22, 2008|
"Vote for us and we'll give you free child care!" That is the underlying message of Britain's government's latest initiative, presumably in an effort to regain lost popular approval.
Read Times On-line's account of the initiative - here!
The response of the conservative opposition, as reported by the article, gives rise to some concern. They should oppose the proposal on the grounds that it will never be a "free" offer as advertised but rather an affluence-reducing and freedom-restricting coercion but do not appear to be doing so.
|Copy Link||September 15, 2008|
Britain's Conservative Party seems serious about making family policies an issue in the next general elections in their country with a view to enable parents to look after their own small children at home if they so wish. This website is pretty well stocked with statements indicating that intent (see e.g. the immediately preceding post about Iain Duncan Smith's recent media initiative).
And now, Conservative parliamentary candidate Andrea Leadsom joins in with this opinion piece where she, on the basis of John Bowlby's these days widely accepted attachment theory, makes a strong case for parental care of small babies the first few pivotal years.
When will we Swedes hear our own Conservatives (The Moderates) say similar things?
|Copy Link||September 7, 2008|
The first few years of a child’s life are the most important; it is then that the quality of their lives is laid down. Yet too many parents who wish to nurture their children at home are being forced back to work by financial pressures when their children are still babies. … Yet research shows that the seeds of later unhappiness and antisocial behaviour by young people are often sown by the failure of parents to form a close and loving relationship with their babies. … We must change all that!
So writes Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative Party MP and ex party leader on behalf of a think tank (Policy Exchange) he is involved with.
Read his interesting - and promising - opinion piece at Times On Line - here! That initiative was also picked up by the news editors of the paper and highlighted in their section of the same issue - here!
Since Duncan Smith's message happens to be Yours Truly's pet argument in favour of setting parents free of government dictates in child care to follow their own paternal instincts, his article gave my day the best possible start.
|Copy Link||August 30, 2008|
As part of preparations for Sweden's next general elections in the autumn of 2010, i.e. two years away, a committee of the country's biggest political party, the Social Democrats, has just finalised a report in which it advocates a split in the country's allegedly generous 13-months parental leave period right down the middle between the father and the mother. That is, it proposes that the current rule, permitting the one parent to transfer all but 9 weeks (approx. two months) of his/her share of the leave period to the other parent, be abolished.
Read the paper The Local's reporting about this emerging policy change among the Social Democrats - here.
It seems strange, doesn't it that a political party intends to make such a measure part of its overt agenda, as if that kind of freedom restriction will attract votes. But the party hasn't become Sweden's biggest by acting mindlessly, so I am probably overlooking something here. Perhaps Swedes prefer the Government to decide for them what to do and how to live their lives.
|Copy Link||August 27, 2008|
That is the finding of a study just carried out by Ofsted, Britain's government agency for school inspection.
Common shortcomings found were underqualified staff, too many children per adult and insufficient compliance with applicable pedagogic guidelines.
Read The Guardian's summary of Ofsted's findings - here!
Yours Truly is glad he is not a parent of a child in the British daycare system. The mere suspicion that your child is not properly looked after while you yourself are at work must be hard to cope with.
|Copy Link||August 25, 2008|
We have just been made aware of a researcher somewhere in Australia, Jennifer Buckingham, who has written two reports on child care recently which look interesting.
The first one, published in October last year, is titled Child Care: Who Benefits?. It examines a number of other ambitious research projects in other parts of the world on the psychological, sociological and cognitive effects of formal child care. Buckingham's conclusion seems to be that the evidence from all those other studies is inconclusive and that they cannot form a base for any policy decisions about whether children should be taken care of at home by parents or in centres by professionals.
The second one, published in July this year is titled Child Care and the Labour Supply, where Buckingham, as the title suggests, examines the connection between the cost to parents of child care and the resulting female labour supply. She finds that that link is weak, claiming that over the period 1974 - 2007, labour-force participation [in Australia] by women aged 25 - 44 rose by 50% while government spending on childcare over the same period rose by 4000%! That makes female labour supply all but impervious to changes in the price of child care!
At the time of this writing, Yours Truly has not really gone through Buckingham's two papers to the extent they deserve but hope to be able to do so soon.
|Copy Link||August 14, 2008|
"Everybody" knows that parents who stay at home with their small children tend to do more unpaid community work than working parents do.
Now, a research group in Britain has estimated that this work saves the British government £1bn a year in expenditure.
Read The Daily Mail's story about the matter - here!
But the paper misses an important point. If the community work unpaid mothers do would cost approx. £1bn a year if the government undertook it, then people's wallets would become approx. £2bn, not merely £1bn, thinner! That effect can be explained as follows:
If the government had to pay out £1bn extra, then it would have to raise taxes by that much. So, people's wallets would become that much thinner.
But then, in "the next economic round", that marginal increase in taxation would render currently marginal operations and jobs unprofitable, putting scores of people out of work, thus converting them from assets to affluence into liabilities.
At an overall taxation level of approx. 36%, which is where Yours Truly believes Britain finds itself, that "knock-out effect" can be estimated at approx. the same magnitude as the original tax cost, i.e., reducing the GDP by approx. £1bn, i.e., thinning out people's wallets by another £1bn.
There is more to say about this of course but I hope the above suffices to indicate that tax-financed expenditure is not as cheap as people - and their elected representatives - tend to believe.
|Copy Link||August 6, 2008|
Support for gender equality in Britain and the US appears to have peaked and could now be in decline, research at Cambridge University has revealed.
Read the university's press release about the study - here!
It is indeed a good sign that people appear to be noticing the cost to society and families of imposing strong policy incentives on women to leave their homes, enter the workforce and hand in their toddlers to crèches for care.
But the picture is somewhat muddled up; in West Germany, Sweden and Norway, attitudes seem to have shifted in the opposite direction.
The study would have been even more interesting and valuable had it also attempted to identify the role of government in shaping behaviours and attitudes, and contributed to the debate about how far governments should be allowed to go in their efforts to promote one lifestyle (both parents at work, children in crèches) over all others.
As far as Yours Truly can see, the study is nowhere near identifying or debating that role.
PS added 7/8: It seems as if the report has created quite a stir in the U.K. The spokespeople of our sister org. over there, Full-time Mothers, are apparently running from one media interview to the next in response to requests for comments.
|Copy Link||August 3, 2008|
Top American columnist Kathleen Parker is causing a furore with her new book Save the Males, in which she argues that feminism has neutered men and deprived them of their noble, protective, role in society.
Read her lengthy but well-argued and well-written piece - here!
Being a man I appreciate Parker's assistance on "my" side in the gender war that women started and men hardly even have participated in. Most of us men have had other things to do than create a stir in the media and in the political class about how mistreated we are by the opposite sex! We (men) have been too busy slogging along to provide for our near and dear ones and to be the best husbands and fathers we can.
But we have also been fools; we have woken up too late, only after much damage has been done, not only to us men but also to women.
In the past, men were trapped at work on farm land, in woods and in mines while women were trapped at home, cooking, cleaning, washing, and educating the young. Under the circumstances of the time, that wasn't a bad division of duties, from efficiency and prosperity points of view.
But somewhere along the line, women got the idea that men had it better out there than they themselves had at home, that they (women) were being short changed.
So by creating a fuss in the media and in the political class about how mistreated they are by the opposite sex, they have achieved a situation where they, by governmental intervention, are also trapped in work for money, just like their men.
I wonder how satisfying that can be to women. I mean, having the opportunity to achieve fulfilment at the supermarket till is one thing, being forced to work there, for family-financial reasons imposed by the government, is, after all, quite another.
|Copy Link||July 16, 2008|
That can be said to be the question Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family Cananda poses in this paper, regarding the issue of who should decide how small children should be looked after, the government's or the parents. She concludes that the government must keep out and leave, not only the decision but also the money parents need for child care in the hands of the parents themselves.
A well written and well argued piece, Mrozek! We couldn't have done it better ourselves! The false notion that lavish tax subsidies for communal child care is an expression of Government's generosity must be fought at all levels and times! At best it is only a testament to your government's ignorance, at worst a sign of its desire to enslave people.
|Copy Link||July 14, 2008|
That is the message of an opinion piece written by Maureen Bader, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in British Columbia, Canada, in today's issue of the paper Western Standard.
Read her well-argued piece - here!
The only thing Yours Truly would like to add to Bader's reasoning is that, due to an effect economists call the excess burden (or the marginal cost) of taxation, the cost to society of the contemplated all-day kindergarten scheme will be quite a bit higher than the tax cost. That overall societal cost would be avoided if parents were allowed to keep their money to stay at home for or buy childcare services for, as they see fit.
|Copy Link||July 2, 2008|
By trying hard to redefine the roles of mothering (and fathering too for that matter) by means of political carrots and sticks, the British government is not doing parents any favours. That can be said to be the message of Yvonne Roberts' column in today's issue of Britain's The Guardian, a piece you can read - here!
A very insightful article by Ms. Roberts! Yet, Yours Truly wonders if she understands the full extent of Britain's current government's purposeful – but uncalled for – attempts at making mums more like dads and dads more like mums.
|Copy Link||May 21, 2008|
After plenty of political haggling, the Home-care Allowance Bill, promised by Sweden's present liberal-conservative government as part of its election campaign in the autumn of 2006, was finally passed by our Parliament yesterday with the slimmest possible voting margin. (Conservatives and classical liberals were for it while social liberals, social democrats and socialists were against. The environmentalists were split right through the middle on the issue.)
So now a big uncertainty factor has been removed from the agenda for our 290 municipalities. Some will implement the now enabled allowance as early as of July 1 this year while others will wait until January 1 next year, while others still (those run by left-of-centre politicians, slightly less than half of our local communities) vow they will never implement it.
Yours Truly is pretty sure that the naysayers among our municipalities will find it hard to maintain their negative stance as neighbouring municipalities, running the now enabled scheme, will attract more young (and economically attractive) families than they themselves will find themselves able to do.
|Copy Link||May 16, 2008|
Strong forces are at play in Canada to bring about universal day care (i.e., heavily tax-subsidized child care) throughout the country on the basis of arguments such as that it would open up another attractive option to parents and that such care would be good for children's cognitive and social development.
But as Andrea Mrozek writes in this opinion piece, the results of studies made are inconclusive and there are more aspects of the issue to consider.
Mrozek and the institute she works for do a good job in balancing the childcare debate in their country. One can only hope that people, media representatives and politicians of Canada are paying attention before it is too late.
|Copy Link||May 14, 2008|
That is the heading of an article in today's issue of Britain's daily The Daily Mail, lamenting the fact that few British toddler parents these days can afford to look after their children by themselves at home, since two incomes are necessary now to make ends meet.
Read that very readable article - here!
An excellent column! The only thing in it Yours Truly finds somewhat lacking is the writer's attempt at identifying the economic causes of the fix British parents find themselves in. I would say the root causes are not the high cost of housing in Britain's major urban areas or the low wages paid for female labour (two factors fingered by the writer). Instead I argue that those are mere consequences of Britain's current government's policies of individual, support-burden-insensitive, income taxation, and of tax rebates for childcare expenses.
Those two policy measures combine to force parents to work doubly and farm out their children to others for care, add to Britain's urbanisation where the cost of housing goes up and the pay to holders of typical female jobs goes down.
I realise that there is a need here for an explanation of the cause-effect relationship I hint at but due to lack of space here and now, that plunge into details will have to wait.
|Copy Link||April 17, 2008|
When the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD) wrote their Country Note on Canada on the subject of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy some four years ago, they did so on the basis of a background report, prepared by the perhaps most fervent advocates of out-of home child care advocates in that country, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU) of the University of Toronto. And a long-time sympathiser of the CRRU in the U.K. was hired by the OECD to co-write their concluding report.
Needless to say, that report advocates a massive resource allocation into out-of-home child care in Canada.
In addition, a Professor of Political Economy (?) at Carleton University, Canada, another staunch advocate of out-of-home child care with good insight into the workings of the OECD, exposes in a paper unintentionally the not very scientific methods the OECD uses these days to get their views across for what they are: propaganda.
No initiated Canadians expect the CRRU to play any other role than the one they have defined for themselves: that of single-minded lobby group for out-of-home child care, but the affair is quite embarrassing to the OECD which has a reputation for impartiality and expertise to defend.
The gumshoe who has unearthed this inappropriate collusion and the extent to which the OECD has declined in academic and professional standing is Helen Ward of our sister association in Canada, Kids First. Read her interesting findings - here and here!
This is one of many indications Yours Truly has received over the last few years that the OECD is moving away from the insightful and principled consulting in economics that once made them highly respected, to little more than opinion peddling, at least in the areas of social and educational policy which they have recently entered into. Now those suspicions appear confirmed.
Ward's and Kids First's investigation must be made known to a wider readership than our two web sites reaches!
|Copy Link||April 11, 2008|
Small children need caring adults, not only for food, clothing and shelter but also for emotional contact and ditto regulation. Every parent knows this, at least instinctively. Some of us even know that the way we look after our children affects the way our children's brains develop, purely neurologically.
Dr Gabor Maté (pronounced Mah-teh) of Vancouver, Canada, who co-wrote Hold onto your Kids: Why Parents Matter More than Peers with Dr Gordon Neufeld, and who now works among drug addicts in Vancouver, takes these conclusions one step further: He claims that good and solid parenting is the best insurance there is against drug addiction later in life and that parents should be encouraged to look after their children "as long as possible"
Listen to his persuasive reasoning - here!
I must say I am convinced! I note that Bo Pettersson - here - in his fourth point, is onto the same conclusion but while Pettersson limits his reasoning to the emotional aspect, Maté adds the neurological. That is a powerful corroboration indeed!
What does this say about the governments of developed countries' doing everything they can to ensure that children are raised by day-care staff, not by parents?
|Copy Link||April 7, 2008|
An epidemic of violent crime, teen pregnancy, heavy drinking and drug abuse fuels fears that British youth is in crisis. Read Time Magazine's story about the matter - here!
The story writer identifies the root problem well enough: British youngsters have poor contact with the adult world, which means that they are raised more by peers than by parents. That situation has been aggravated by the country's Labour Government's attempt over most of its tenure to get parents into paid work and the children into governmental care and educational institutions. That development has weakened the bond between parents and children, a connection that used to prevent children from getting into trouble.
The article has drawn insightful and thought-provoking comments, e.g. from sociologist Patricia Morgan and others.
|Copy Link||March 24, 2008|
– Universal day care is expensive, unduly coercive, unfair to home makers, and bad for many children, writes Beverly Smith of Calgary, Canada, in this article. Rather than the government funding daycare establishments directly, the money should follow the child so that parents are able to choose a care style that best suits the family's needs, she argues.
Smith is dead right! Universal childcare is sold to unsuspecting voters as if the service were a generous gift from the country's political leadership to its parents, as if it merely will become another attractive childcare option, not disadvantaging other options. That is a false projection, the service will turn out to be an affluence-reducing coercion, making people unable to afford looking after their own children!
|Copy Link||March 12, 2008|
– The best single investment Canada can make for social justice and optimal development of our children is to get them off to a good early start by building a high-quality universal childcare system, a proclaimed expert on child care told a Canadian parliamentary committee last week.
And her likeminded associate followed suit by claiming that for every dollar the government spends on such out-of-home care, the country will get $10 (?) back in lower costs of mental disorders and criminality.
Read a report from the proceedings of the hearing - here!
The statements made during the session and the conclusions drawn were challenged after the event by Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada in a newsletter of her organization which you can read - here!
Reading the summary of the hearing was a truly upsetting experience. The unspoken premise of it was apparently that ordinary parents are not good enough to raise their own children. Add to that, a number of false statements that led to way-out conclusions and you might begin to understand Your Truly's alarm. What a good thing IMFC picked up on the event and did something about it!
Note IMFC's references to various statement-supporting studies made. They are all useful sources of facts for all debaters of the child-care issue.
|Copy Link||March 11, 2008|
A journalist from the British paper The Guardian has been over here to get an impression of our childcare system and how it compares with that of the U.K. Read her story - here!
Unfortunately I don't find the story very enlightening. The writer could have done more to facilitate comparison and above all, abstained from projecting Sweden's system as a generous gift from the country's government to its people. Unknowingly, Swedes pay dearly for their - on false grounds famed - childcare system!
You are encouraged to compare The Guardian's story with this one!
|Copy Link||March 11, 2008|
Swedish Social Democratic leader, Mona Sahlin, says she is prepared to legislate to ensure that fathers take more paternity leave than the two months currently required by law.
Read the English-language, Swedish, paper The Local's reporting of the opposition's move - here!
It is quite amazing that a party leadership can think they will improve their chances of winning the next election by promising to subject its voters to more coersion. What is even more amazing is that their assessment of the political game may well be correct. People here are not very good at separating the societally desirable from the politically appropriate.
|Copy Link||March 10, 2008|
Careless employers have allowed at least 75 convicted sex criminals to work as temps in Swedish daycare centres and schools since 2003, reports the English-language, Swedish, paper The Local in today's issue. Read the paper's story - here!
No doubt, the spectre of a sex criminal threatening one's child is truly frightening and panic-inducing. That aspect of the issue is well covered by the media here, including The Local. But nobody raises the aspect that preventing a convicted and punished offender from returning to the role in society (s)he had before the crime amounts to extending the culprit's punishment in a way that would be unthinkable in other cases, since it violates a universally adopted legal principle that nobody should be punished more than once for the same crime.
I am not saying sex criminals should be allowed into daycare centres and schools, all I am saying is that the pro-daycare establishment, which happens to possess the media platform, goes far in its effort to protect their prized creation (our universal daycare system) by downplaying embarrassing consequences.
|Copy Link||March 1, 2008|
We have just discovered a new book, The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women and the Real Gender Gap, by a Canadian psychologist and journalist: Susan Pinker.
In it, Pinker tries to answer the question why men tend to dominate the working world, reach the highest career positions and get more pay despite the fact that women tend to outperform them cognitively and academically.
She arrives at the answer that women, as they mature, develop other interests that make the single-mindedness career-building requires seem less attractive. After a few years in "the rat race", many women "opt out", e.g. to build a family and be able to spend more time with friends.
In other words, Pinker means that the two sexes are not behaviourally identical at the biological level and that the main reason for the behavioural differences we are all able to note as boys and girls grow up is not undesirable social conditioning by parents and the world at large.
Her findings amount to another foundation-shattering blast at the by now shaky structure that today's "identicality feminism" is. How embarrassing for policy-makers in the West to have bought into that fraudulent theory to the extent they have and based so much of their recent, liberty-constricting, political-correctness-related policies on it!
|Copy Link||February 29, 2008|
As of July 1 this year, a gender-equality bonus will be introduced into my country's famed (1) parental leave insurance programme, offering a tax rebate to the parent with the lowest income if/when (s)he manages to persuade her/his higher-paid spouse to stay at home with the child instead.
But now, our supposedly liberal and conservative government wants to expand that bonus also to cover temporary absenteeism from work due to child illness (a benefit scheme which is part of the same insurance programme).
But this brainchild has drawn much flak from major Swedish liberal and conservative papers; read The Local's account of it - here!
The political development in Sweden is truly frightening. The party dominating our present coalition government, the Moderates, which used to defend classical liberalism and conservatism, is abandoning previously sacred principles for unclear reasons, leaving that defence to a couple of fringe parties which are too weak to shoulder that responsibility and workload with the consistency and prominence required.
After a century of socialism-based policy-making, the last thing we Swedes need is another socialist party! But judging by the the way the Moderates behave these days, we have indeed got one.
Footnote 1: Famed only in the circle of "child-care experts" who don't know their ---- from their elbows in political science and economics.
|Copy Link||February 19, 2008|
About £30,000 a year is what the average housewife would earn if she were paid at market rates for her work, a British research unit has arrived at by time-studying home makers and valuating their work at going rates.
Read The Daily Mail's reporting on the findings - here!
In Sweden, it is the heavily tax-subsidised out-of-home childcare system that makes domestic work look almost worthless. The resulting misconception is aggravated by the fact that family taxation is abolished here (ever since 1971), leaving the home maker without any money of her own to show for her contribution.
But don't for a moment think that this outcome is a political mishap. It has been created with the most brutal purposefulness!
|Copy Link||February 15, 2008|
Active father figures have a key role to play in reducing behaviour problems in boys and psychological problems in young women, according to a review published in the February issue of Acta Paediatrica.
Children who lived with both a mother and father figure also had less behavioural problems than those who just lived with their mother.
The researchers are urging healthcare professionals to increase fathers' involvement in their children's healthcare and calling on policy makers to ensure that fathers have the chance to play an active role in their upbringing.
Read a more accessible summary of the group's findings - here!
The conclusion that children fare better when mum and dad stick it out together than if they split up is interesting against the backdrop that Swedish family policy has resulted in a rate of parental separations that ranks among the highest in the world, if not the very highest.
Further, it will be interesting to note the extent to which there will be a political reaction to the findings from the review. This writer fears that if there will be one, it will be the conclusion that more carrots and sticks are required to 'encourage' (some would say 'force') fathers to spend more time with their children, despite the fact that going in the opposite direction, i.e. cutting fathers - and mothers - more slack, would be a far more effective and freedom-generating approach.
|Copy Link||February 8, 2008|
Marriage and parenthood constitute social capital which Europe cannot afford to waste. The social problems arising when families break up or become dysfunctional countries cannot solve politically or fiscally.
That is the message of a report the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Europe is currently preparing for presentation to the decision-making bodies of the EU later this spring, according to a smallish newspaper here (Världen Idag).
How very well concluded and put! We have tried to get hold of the report but unsuccessfully so far. We will keep on trying though.
|Copy Link||January 9, 2008|
It has been known for years that boys, on average, trail girls in early neurological development. And it has been known since the beginning of humankind that boys, on average, have far more "ants in their pants" than girls have and tend to be more disobedient.
The combination of these factors suggest that small boys are not suited to the kind of more formalised learning that all self-respecting daycare establishments these days strive for.
The above are some of the conclusions U.S. family physician and research psychologist Leonard Sax has arrived at – and spoken to Canadian magazine Macleans about. Read the interview - here!
Sax makes points most of us grown-ups find agreeing with our experience. The next logical step should reasonably be that those conclusions are allowed to modify the current drive towards universal daycare that is currently sweeping the developed world. But Yours Truly cannot see many signs of that so far.
|Copy Link||January 3, 2008|
Parents should get tax breaks to help them bring up their children at home, says Gordon Brown's childcare research chief, Prof. Jay Belsky.
The findings will come as a deep embarrassment to Labour, which has pumped £21 billion into subsidising childcare and toddler education over the past decade, thereby making it ever harder for parents to actually take care of their children by themselves, at home.
Read the Daily Mail's article on the subject - which seems to have been prompted more by the journalist's desire to help our cause than by actual events - here!
The journalist works for the same paper as the writer of this below-cited piece does. That looks promising, doesn't it?
|Copy Link||December 20, 2007|
Parents contemplating having children in this day and age in a so-called 'developed' country must be insane, since it means that at least one of the parents must put less of an effort into career-building and more into child-rearing for years, a re-prioritisation the home maker is likely never really to be able to compensate for financially. And yet parents do have children.
This is the topic of a paper by Kate Fraher of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada in which she explores the economics of child rearing - and finds some positive non-economic answers after all.
Read her interesting and thought-provoking piece - here!
If societies want children - and they do, if for no other reason than that new generations of people are always required to pay for the old-age benefits of previous generations in the chain letter rip-offs that most politically designed welfare systems have become, then the best way economically to achieve that is to grant parents the tax deductions required to bring the fertility rate to replacement level. That happens to be a far more econo-efficient way of doing it than taxing people heavily and then spending the money thus collected on parental leave and heavily subsidised day care.
|Copy Link||December 7, 2007|
About one in ten women in the EU between the ages of 25 and 54 has no job because they prioritise their "family responsibilities", reports the Dutch paper 'Reformatorisch Dagblad' in today's issue.
This is the conclusion of a report published by Eurostat, the Union's bureau of statistics. Among others, responsibilities within this context are care of children, pregnancy and serious illness of a family member. In the above-mentioned age category, 23.6% of the women have no paid work. For nearly half of them (10.2%) this is on account of "family responsibilities".
There are large differences between countries. In the UK as few as 1.9% stay out of the labour market for the above-mentioned reasons. Then come Sweden (2.1%) and Denmark (2.3%). At the other end of the scale we have Malta at 45.9%, Ireland at 23.1% and Luxembourg at 21.7%.
Read Eurostat's press release about the matter - here!
Amazing that the U.K. beats my country, Sweden, in this questionable contest. The reason must be our purportedly 'generous' parental leave scheme, which enables parents to stay at home for a year for every child born.
|Copy Link||December 5, 2007|
This important question was addressed on Ontario Canada's independent TV channel TVO today under the stewardship of the channel's star journalist Steve Paikin.
The session starts with an interview with Dr. Charles Pascal, special advisor to the premier of the provincial government of Ontario on how to proceed with childcare in that province, and finishes with a debate on the subject among two advocates of state care, two proponents of private commercial care and only one defender of familial care.
You can watch the interview - and the debate - via this presentation page!
One would think that the answer to the question posed would be easy enough for all concerned, but it was not so. The day-care advocates clearly favoured state care while only one clearly favoured parental care.
The basic mistake day-care advocates make is viewing the tax money such a scheme would require as being free, as if it would come from outer space. In reality, every tax $ spent on universal childcare will not only drain the tax payer's wallet of that dollar but in the next "economic round", in Canada with its overall tax burden of approx. 33 - 34 %, reduce his/her income by another $, statistically speaking (1). Consequently, his/her wallet will become $2 emptier!
Only Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada was anywhere near explaining this additive effect and she is not even - as far as I know - an economist. My hat is off in admiration of her contribution!
Footnote 1: An effect I don't have space to go into here & now.
|Copy Link||November 22, 2007|
The Swedish government gets lots of praise internationally for its seemingly generous parental leave scheme, which kicks in when the child is born, and for its tax-funded day-care system which takes over thereafter. By the looks of it, just about all 'developed' nations in the western world hold up our country as a role model in the field and are taking steps towards adopting our solutions. But as you, dear reader, know, there are at least two sides to every story.
Britain's daily, The Daily Mail's Sue Reid, who apparently has been over here recently to investigate the matter for herself, has managed to cut through a lot of the fog decades of propaganda from official Swedish sources has created and filed this report on the matter in her paper, an effort which is far more balanced and closer to the truth than anything you will ever get from official Swedish sources.
My hat is off to Reid for a job well done! Now we know of yet another Brit who knows better. The inevitable wake-up of British voters is drawing closer!
|Copy Link||November 12, 2007|
– Let's face it, most women want to look after their own small children once they get them, no matter how loud feminists scream otherwise, writes a stay-at-home mum cum writer, Anne Morse, in a well-argued piece on the boundless.org community site.
To be able to do that young women must plan for that outcome early by (i) carefully choosing the right spouse, (ii) avoiding having children outside marriage and (iii) preferably choosing a career that, at least to some extent, can be managed from the home.
The piece is written against the backdrop of the NICHD study which concluded that while there may be cognitive advantages to communal day care, there is also a risk of the children developing aggressive and disobedient behaviour.
Read her persuasive contribution to the childcare debate - here!
|Copy Link||November 11, 2007|
We have just discovered Prof. Jay Belsky's personal reflection on the work done under the umbrella of the NICHD study (1) in the U.S. into the psychological, social and emotional effects of large-scale communal child care on small children, a piece he wrote as early as in 2003.
We find it very interesting, which is why we have put it into our Archive for future reference and leave this news item here for a few weeks on the assumption that there may be more people out there who are interested in the subject but who also missed Belsky's illuminating item on how political correctness, as applied to child care, can manifest itself in the U.S.
In sum, Belsky finds a tacit understanding among the majority of researchers to highlight the positive effects of large-scale communal childcare found (e.g. a slightly higher cognitive ability among day-care children than among home-care children) but a similar tendency to downplay negative findings (e.g. that day-care children tend to be more aggressive and disobedient than home-care toddlers).
The tendency Belsky finds is eerily similar to the one found in my country (Sweden). To this day, it is politically suicidal to criticize the day-care industry for precisely the reason Belsky managed to extract from his detractors: "We must not contribute to giving day-care parents a guilty conscience!" But as Belsky comments in his paper: "Why is it more acceptable to give home-staying parents a guilty conscience?" And, perhaps even more powerfully: "What do the feelings of this or that population group have to do with scientific work and scientific findings?"
Belsky puts his finger on a sensitive point: the politicization of sciences.
Footnote 1: A study we have highlighted at many instances of this web site, e.g. - here!
|Copy Link||November 8, 2007|
The Canadian psychologist Gordon Neufeld, co-author of the important book Hold on to your kids - why parents need to matter more than peers, is a well known and respected name in child psychology.
He shows how deficient parental contact during childhood and adolescence contributes to problems primarily during the pubertal years and explains the mechanisms behind a number of destructive teenage behaviours with the concept of "peer orientation", which is a poor substitute for parental attachment.
He also explains - in an article you can read - here - why a stable attachment to a grown-up person is a precondition for learning.
|Copy Link||November 5, 2007|
…writes Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada in today's issue of The Montreal Gazette, pointing out that tax-funded communal childcare will not be the generous offer by the elected political leadership it is made out to be. Instead, it will restrict parents' choice of childcare solution and favour the industrial-scale variety over all others, she writes.
Read her well-argued case - here!
Mrozek takes up an urgent aspect of the issue, sorely lacking in the debate on childcare in most countries: What appears to be a generous offer with no strings attached will turn out to be an affluence-reducing and freedom-restricting coercion. My hat is off in admiration, respect and gratitude for Mrozek's clear vision and initiative.
|Copy Link||October 29, 2007|
The incidence of abortions in the world seems to vary between approximately 12 per 100 actual births in Central Africa to 105 (!) in Eastern Europe and Russia, reports the newsweekly Time in today's issue.
In addition, the ratio of safe legal abortions varies from 100 % in Western and Northern Europe and in North America to 0 % (meaning 100 % illegal and unsafe procedures) in Africa and South America.
Find out where your country is on the ranking list of abortions from the adjacent map.
Without more facts, it is difficult to figure out which factors contribute to more - or less - abortions (1) but easier to conclude which factors affect the distribution between safe and unsafe procedures: whether abortions are legal, paid for by taxes and performed without questions as in my country (Sweden), or illegal, paid for by (poor) parents and stigmatized as in Central Africa.
Footnote 1: But there is no doubt that the presence or absence of religious beliefs and of an ethical debate about abortions plays an important role. For example, we have the impression that these two factors are largely absent in Russia, resulting in the world record in abortions, while both factors are more present in our country, resulting in a much lower incidence of abortions, despite otherwise similar preconditions.
Perhaps a reasonable conclusion of the above writing is that the law should be permissive towards abortions, provided the civil society outside government maintains a vibrant debate about the ethical dimension of the practice, in which the government, with its disproportional propaganda resources, must not interfere.
|Copy Link||October 9, 2007|
Which parent who keeps his/her child at a daycare nursery has not been confronted with ear infections and the child been ordered to undergo an antibiotics cure for a couple of weeks?
Now, ear infections are usually caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus Pneumoniae (1), a little organism that is far more dangerous than most of us Swedes have realised.
Last year, 98 (2) Swedish children under five were seriously infected by the bacterium of which five died, we have just learned from an association of parents "Barnplantorna" (in Eng. approx. "The Infant & Juvenile Seedlings") whose children have lost hearing and been equipped with various kinds hearing aids, including surgically inserted implants, as a result.
There is (an expensive) vaccine available, so the above-mentioned association suggests that this vaccine is added to the list of vaccines Swedish children are given as a matter of course.
But we in this association (Children's Right to Their Parents) think that Barnplantorna's conclusion is so time-typical. There is, after all, another possible solution; that toddlers are spared the "germological" hazard that daycare nurseries represents and looked after by parents at home. But after 35 years of near-universal childcare out of the home, that kind of solution is beyond the imagination, even of parents to children who have been hit far harder by the present system than those innocent souls deserve.
|Copy Link||October 4, 2007|
Home schooling appears to improve the academic performance of children from families with low levels of education and improve their social skills, compared with children from the same social stratum who go to conventional schools. These are a few findings from a study recently carried out by the Fraser Institute of Canada, an effort you can read more about - here!
The findings indicate that similar benefits can be obtained from preschool children who are looked after by parents at home.
|Copy Link||October 4, 2007|
Ever since the departure of Margaret Thatcher from the political scene in the U.K. in 1990, we outsiders, trying to follow the political debate in that country, have considered her successors as Tory party leaders a trifle weak-minded by comparison, the present leader, David Cameron, included.
But perhaps we have misjudged Cameron, or perhaps he has pepped himself up in some surprising way lately. Whatever the reason, judging by his closing speech to the delegates of his party's nation-wide conference yesterday, in particular his words on the role of the family, he is no longer as afraid as he used to be of speaking his mind, regardless of the medial - and political - consequences.
Read Cameron's impressive speech - here - (1)!
The Tories' counterpart in my country are The Moderates (Swe: Moderaterna), the strongest component in the currently-ruling bourgeois four-party "Alliance". But our Moderates have adopted a different strategy: Rather than defending their core principles and values - and improving the pedagogics of their arguments, they have back-tracked on those very core principles and values, so as not to deviate too much from those that our usually-governing Social Democrats, with useful help from the left-leaning media, have established as our norm for political correctness.
Politics is dirty business. Power is more important than principles.
Footnote 1: If you don't have the time or energy to read the whole speech, let your web browser's search feature take you down to the section starting with "You know the best welfare system", which marks the start of his coverage of the family-policy issue.
|Copy Link||September 28, 2007|
Yesterday, Thursday, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada held a conference on the economic aspect of family policy at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa where a number of prominent speakers tackled the issue from many angles.
The director, Dave Quist's opening address set the theme:
All too often, those interested in social or family policy fail to see there is a direct link to a nation’s economic policy. Or they believe that government policy has no effect on the welfare of the family. This is clearly not the case.
Read a summary of the proceedings - here!
Quist is so right! Family policy is the realm of sociologists and left-leaning feminists who don't know much about economics, people who think that lavish subsidies to childcare centres is an expression of generosity on the part of government, when in actual fact it will turn out to be a poverty-inducing and freedom-restricting coercion.
After a while, people will find that they can no longer afford to look after their own children and those that still can - that it no longer makes economic sense to do so.
|Copy Link||September 21, 2007|
Over the years 2001 to 2003, Sweden's omnipresent childcare system was reformed by imposition of a ceiling on the fees municipalities charge parents for childcare services (1). Over this time, fees fell from approximately 20 per cent on average to below 10 per cent, (the rest of the cost being covered by taxation).
The stated reason was to give even more children access to the country's allegedly superior communal childcare system (2).
On commission from the Swedish Government, the country's Education Agency has evaluated the reform and inter alia found that:
Read the agency's summary of its investigation - here!
The finding that labour supply has not increased is an important one. It means that the fee-ceiling reform not only increases the unfair treatment - by the government - of home makers but also represents money down the drain in terms of overall popular affluence.
And the strangest thing is that this unfair and loss-making system is the envy of the rest of the developed world. That world must have gone mad!
|Copy Link||September 5, 2007|
On January 30 - here - we reported that our new Minister of Social Affairs promised that the childcare allowance for home makers, offered by our new liberal and conservative government before it was elected into office in September last year, would be put into place on January 1, 2008.
But yesterday, the same minister, alongside our Minister of Gender Equality (!), held a press conference where they announced that the introduction of the allowance would be delayed by six months to July 1.
The reason given was that the introduction had to be coordinated with other changes in the family policy area the government is working on, changes that are more complicated in terms of bill preparations.
Plainly spoken, our government does not want to introduce the home childcare allowance before its planned gender-equality bonus is launched, for fear that too many mothers would then choose to stay at home with their toddlers instead of working for money and paying taxes, thus depriving our political elite of money they need to maintain their lavish life style.
The government goes a bit too far in its manipulation of people's behaviour, using the people's own money.
|Copy Link||September 2, 2007|
Britain has spent approximately £ 3.5 bil. a year on preschool care and education since 2001, under the umbrella of the Sure Start programme, but with little visible result. It seems as if the stratum of society that has taken advantage of the programme is the middle class, not the lower class the scheme is targeted at.
Read an interesting summary of the results achieved so far in Britain's The Times - here!
We have said it so many times: the best thing the government can do is to encourage parents to look after their children by themselves, the very opposite to what Sure Start - in practice - aims at!
|Copy Link||September 2, 2007|
…writes Minette Marrin in today's issue of Britain's The Times. Read her well-argued case - here!
I particularly like the fact that Marrin obviously understands how behaviour-modifying and manipulative the combination of taxes and tax-financed benefits can be. Most people apparently don't. They appear simply to try to adapt to the arbitrary rules of the day without reflecting on whether those rules are reasonable and compatible with individual freedom or not.
|Copy Link||August 28, 2007|
Britain is spending billions of pounds on preschool learning in nursery schools á la Sweden, but it does not seem to improve children's vocabulary or their ability to count. That is - in essence - the conclusion in a study recently published by Durham University, covering no less than 35 000 children.
Read BBC's report on the university's findings - here - and if you, after that, have more energy to spare, read The Independent's account of the same thing - here!
The wastage of taxpayers' money in both Britain and Sweden seems endless! How can we stop it?
|Copy Link||August 26, 2007|
That is in essence the message from Chris Bryant's opinion piece in today's issue of Britain's weekly paper The Sunday Mirror where he laments the plight of all those underachieving children in Britain.
To solve the problem he advocates that Britain should:
In other words, he thinks that the best British parents can do for their children is to hand them over to "professionals" for care and upbringing and for the parents themselves to go to work.
Read Bryant's contribution to the debate - here!
The proof Bryant delivers of the soundness of his conclusion is that his almost three years old niece, who is well looked after by her parents at home, is so clued up that she, even at her tender age, knows when her birthday is.
People's logic is sometimes hard to follow. If a good family background can be as beneficial as it apparently is in the case of Bryant's niece, why push for policies that would make it harder for parents to provide that kind of environment?
I suppose the false notion that government-provided services such as universal childcare is for free is at the root of Bryant's derailment. Nothing could be more wrong! The tax money needed is swinishly expensive!
|Copy Link||August 24, 2007|
…and put into foster homes, claims The Times in today's issue, leaning on a conclusion broadcast by BBC's Face the Facts recently.
According to the programme - and the article - the number of parents in England who have lost their children, despite insufficient evidence that they were causing them harm, has reached record levels.
Read the paper's account of the matter - here!
This ominous report from our neighbouring country brings back bad memories from my own country of a string of incidents and reports, over the last decades, indicating that the legal rights of thousands of children and parents have been seriously violated in forced child-parent separation cases from the 50's onwards.
It is obvious that the present labour government of Britain views Sweden as a role model in child day care. Don't tell me that it also views Sweden as a role model in more permanent separation of children from their parents!
|Copy Link||August 23, 2007|
The more time parents spend at work instead of at home with their children, the stronger the likelihood is that the children will be overweight, concludes a British study which is published this week.
Read Britain's The Daily Telegraph's reporting on the event - here!
|Copy Link||August 10, 2007|
…writes Janet Bagnall in today's issue of The Montreal Gazette. She refers to a study by economist Kevin Daly of Goldman Sachs, apparently published in The Economist recently, where Daly arrives at the conclusion that wherever childcare is heavily subsidized, female participation in the paid workforce and fertility rates are both high. In the study, Sweden is held up as an example to follow.
Consequently, Bagnall strongly advocates subsidized childcare also for Canada.
Read her effort - here!
But Bagnall is wrong! It is not Sweden's seemingly generous (but in actual fact swinishly expensive) daycare system that makes the country's fertility rate 0.1 children higher than Canada's but our seemingly generous (but in actual fact swinishly expensive) parental leave scheme (1).
Things were different before the early 70's, i.e. before we abandoned joint taxation of husbands and wives in favour of individual taxation and introduced tax-financed parental leave and child care. In those days our fertility rate was 2.2 - 2.3 children per woman, i.e. comfortably above replacement level.
But women's employment rate was far lower at that time: in the region of 50 percent (now 72 percent), mainly due to the fact that women then tended to look after their children by themselves at home during the infant and toddler years before entering or returning to the labour market. In those days they could afford that break. Now they can't.
In sum, it is hard to understand how universal childcare can attract Bagnall to the extent it seems to do. Is she unaware of how little sense it makes socio-economically? Has the alarms from neuroscientists and child psychologists about the dangers of industrial-scale childcare completely passed her by? Is handing one's children over to outsiders for care and upbringing Bagnall's idea of life quality?
Footnote 1: Logic suggests that tax-financed parental leave encourages women to stay at home to have babies, while tax-financed day care encourages them to work for money instead.
|Copy Link||July 19, 2007|
– Sweden invests in children from day one, writes Sam Alexandroni in today's issue of the British magazine New Statesman, lauding us for all the pooled resources we put into looking after our children and youngsters outside their homes.
Read his effort - here!
Alexandroni does not seem to bother to look behind the corner to see the drawbacks. For instance that the combination of bachelor taxes on every parent (regardless of subsistence burden) and forced financing of the system by taxation, makes it impossible for the average family to afford looking after their own children (and economically senseless also for those that can afford it).
Neither does he realize how expensive the scheme is socio-economically (that it has reduced our GDP and employment by more than 5 percent). A stunningly strong negative effect, considering that the tax subsidies going to communal childcare only represent approx. three percent of public expenditure.
He - like so many other foreigners - has bought our government's propaganda about the matter, hook, line and sinker!
|Copy Link||July 17, 2007|
Well over half of Britain's toddler parents think that they are not spending enough time with their children and almost half of them find that they are forced to put their careers before their families for economic reasons. Those are two important conclusions that can be drawn from a poll just concluded under the auspices of Britain's Children's Society.
Read more - here!
The association correctly identifies today's emphasis on individuality and professional careers and its concomitant erosion of family life as major threats to child well-being, but fails to realize the extent to which these new attitudes are brought about by central political directives and how these directives reduce not only well-being, but also personal freedom and affluence.
Joint taxation of husbands and wives, tax deductions for dependants and childcare expenses - in combination with the abolishment of all tax-financed subsidies of communal child care - would be the best way to solve the problems Children's Society's report identifies.
|Copy Link||July 16, 2007|
…writes Australia's Steve Biddulph in today's issue of The Sydney Morning Herald where he arrives at the conclusion that governments must make it possible for parents to look after their own children when they are small, rather than forcing them to hand over their precious ones to day-care centres.
Read Biddulph's urgent plea - here!
Ever since I discovered Biddulph, I have admired and loved the guy. He knows what he is talking about and is able to express it so it sinks in! We need more crusaders like him!
|Copy Link||July 10, 2007|
It's the bitterest of ironies that thousands of men who've given up work to care for their children are being ditched by their high-flying wives - who wanted them to stay at home in the first place.
This is the theme of an opinion piece by Diana Appleyard in today's issue of Britain's The Daily Mail, an effort you can read - here!
Appleyard puts fuel on a fire that has been simmering in me for a long time; women don't really want the kind of men today's feminists are trying to create!. They ignore the fact that men are genetically predisposed - subconsciously - to look for women who appear to be promising child bearers and rearers, while women are predisposed - subconsciously - to look for men who appear to know how to make a baby - and be willing to provide the woman and child with a comfortable supply of food, clothes and shelter.
As the article suggests, couples who violate this basic human nature do so at their peril.
|Copy Link||June 30, 2007|
As of tomorrow, our new, more market-oriented (as opposed to our previous more socialist-oriented), government introduces a 50 % price cut on certain home-related services, including:
It is easy to see what the government is after: affordable relief for time-strapped toddler parents. But we in this association are critical of the form the scheme has been given. It is too detailed and too complicated! If our present government continues in this way, only university-educated jurists and economists who are comfortable with computers and equipped with good book-keeping programs will be able to live and work here.
We feel certain that our new government would have wanted to make a cleaner break with our socialist past but is afraid of challenging the ever-lurking leftist opposition so blatantly. Therefore it comes up with these convoluted solutions that only make the ultimately inevitable clean-up all the more difficult.
|Copy Link||June 11, 2007|
When the outgoing Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer / incoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, describes Britain's progress since Labour returned to political power in 1997, there is an abundance of positives. Economic growth is claimed to be consistently positive, unemployment low, alongside inflation.
But there is also a plethora of negatives, such as poor child well-being, a high rate of teenage pregnancy, a high rate of lone mothers and a high divorce rate.
From these opposites, journalist Martin Newland of the Canadian weekly, MacLean's, develops a critical analysis of the development of British society over the last ten years with Labour at the political helm, an effort you can read - here!
Your Faithful finds it difficult to ward off Newland's arguments.
|Copy Link||May 29, 2007|
Parents of babies and toddlers will be expected to record their child's progress in new 'learning diaries' under a £9m Government scheme, reports Britain's The Daily Mail in today's issue.
They will be encouraged to log details of every activity attempted by their children, ranging from stacking play bricks to singing nursery rhymes.
The diaries will be scrutinised by childcare experts to check that parents are doing all they can to prevent their offspring from falling behind.
Is this an April Fools prank or what? Has the British Government completely lost its understanding of its proper role in society? Has it really obtained a mandate for this initiative from its true masters, the British voters?
|Copy Link||May 16, 2007|
The snowball that rebellious parents started to form in the Uppvidinge municipality of the Småland region some six years ago, by drawing the attention of their elected representatives to the inequity and coercion involved in Sweden's family policy (by favouring dual-income families that put their children in day care while discriminating against single-income families that look after their children by themselves), is growing.
Since then, various initiatives to get the unfair and economically senseless system changed has been taken in at least 164 of the country's 250 municipalities, for instance by petitions, motions to municipal councils, or written appeals to the national government.
But so far to little avail. Our pre-2006 socialist government turned down such request rather flatly, not even bothering to offer any explanation other than that the existing statutes made any attempt at rectifying the situation, at the municipal level, illegal (and - implicitly - that the government did not feel like taking any initiatives to remove that obstacle).
However, the municipalities that have appealed since (to our current more liberal and conservative government) have been getting more positive and substance-rich answers, where the message is that the government is working on revising the country's childcare policy and consequently asks the writing municipalities to be patient a little longer.
But some municipalities have - at considerable legal risk - chartered their own course by treating home-staying parents with small children as day-care mothers and paying them for looking after their own toddlers, provided they also look after at least one - but not necessarily more than one - 'external' child (1).
While a few others have urged home makers to form companies from which the municipality can buy childcare services, in the process doing away with the requirement that there must also be 'external' children.
Both attempts indicate how far municipalities have to go to skirt the existing - unreasonable - childcare laws.
But this latter model is currently being examined by our courts of law, making the libertarians among the Swedes pray that the government will come out with its - hopefully better - childcare scheme before the Court of Appeal announces its verdict on a solution that - by then - will be irrelevant.
Footnote 1: This compromise reveals particularly well how arbitrary and unfair the Swedish childcare system is. A family with two toddlers of their own which is prepared also to take in an 'external' child will get its income supplemented by another approximately US$ 1700 a month, while another - similar - family, which is unable or unwilling to take in that extra child, gets nothing.
|Copy Link||May 16, 2007|
As part of celebrations of the UN-proclaimed International Day of the Family there was yesterday a seminar in the dormitory wing of Riksdagen (the Swedish Parliament), addressing the following topics:
In sum, a very rewarding afternoon in Stockholm that provided much food for thought. A pity though that so few of our MP's dared to participate (2).
|Copy Link||May 14, 2007|
For a long time by now, socialism has tried to wipe out the family as a social phenomenon, with disastrous results. Despite the bad experience from all those attempts, the affluent liberal countries of the West these days are trying something similar by means of an array of legislative measures aimed at making family life as we know it unattractive, if not impossible.
This may be a way in which the background to last weekend's huge conference in Warsaw, Poland, The World Congress of Families, can be painted, in which some 3.000 delegates from approximately 60 countries convened in that city's gigantic Palace of Culture (a legacy from the bad old communist days) to listen to - and discuss - a multitude of speeches, analyzing family life from different angles.
The conference ended with a declaration the participants rallied behind, a document you can read - here!
|Copy Link||May 13, 2007|
|– The most successful celebrations of the UN Day of the Family so far, said this association's chairman Christer Westerlund (at left) after having participated in this year's festivities, in Kungsträdgården, Stockholm, as in previous years.|
– The best celebration so far of the UN-proclaimed Day of the Family, exclaims Christer Westerlund, this association's chairman, to the undersigned, by cell phone, on his way back from the venue, Kungsträdgården in Stockholm (that city's most prominent central park), after this year's festivities.
The weather was perfect, there were more visitors than in previous years and better awareness, not only of the Family Day celebrations as an established tradition, but also of coerced day-care as a political problem.
A consequence of these new-found insights by Stockholmers was greater acceptance of our movement as a respect-worthy crusader for a solution to the problem.
– This was evident from the fact that no visitor to our stand started arguing with us about or problem definition or our proposed solutions. All agreed with us on all counts, said Westerlund. "In previous years we got a lot of lip from a lot of visitors, primarily due either to ignorance of the problem or to self-interest."
The leader of the Christian-Democratic Party, Göran Hägglund, delivered the opening address where he underlined the importance of the family as a social institution and of the municipal childcare benefit, held out by the subsequently power-ascending liberal - conservative alliance as an election promise (1).
Footnote 1: It is unfortunate the the Christian-Democrats so insistently stick to their, proposed, less than perfect, solution to the childcare problem: a modest - voluntary - municipal allowance, payable to those parents that take care of their toddlers by themselves instead of handing them over to their nearest day-care centres.
A far better solution would be a general childcare allowance which parents could either stay at home for or buy childcare services for, or - even better: a return to joint taxation of husbands and wives, in combination with tax deductions for dependants and childcare expenses - and with charge-out of childcare at cost price, a principle that happens to be the norm for all public services.
If anything like the latter happened, even Your Faithful would vote for CD!
|Copy Link||May 10, 2007|
That is the title of Prof. Janne Haaland-Matlary's new book where she explores how well-intended constitutional laws and international conventions are being corrupted these days by relativism and special interest groups, leading to these documents' loosing their normative values and to flagrant violations in more specific legislation.
Read Prof. Haaland-Matlary's paper about her new book, delivered at the Thomas More Centre in London yesterday - here!
Prof. Matlary offers many examples in her book about how sound principles and good intentions in constitutions and international conventions are being corrupted by current societal trends. We can offer another: The preamble to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child says:
[The States Parties to the present Convention, …]
Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
Yet our Swedish government, one of the earliest signatories to the convention, has, for thirty years, gone out of its way to dismantle traditional families and make sure that our children grow up in the government's day-care centres.
Haaland-Matlary certainly raises very important questions that have a bearing on the very survival of western-style democracy as we have known it. What a pity it is that the answers and solutions are so much harder to find.
|Copy Link||May 9, 2007|
Sweden is the best country in the world for mothers to live in, according to Save the Children of the US in its recent update of its Mothers´Index. The other Nordic countries also end up in the top tier of the organization's ranking list, containing 140 of the world's countries, where factors such as the health of mothers and children, as well as education and affluence weigh heavily (1).
Read the organization's report - here!
Multifaceted investigations of this kind of primarily subjective (non-numeric) factors, the results of which are to be weighed and summed up into a single ranking, must always be taken with a big pinch of salt. The result will - inevitably - depend heavily on the factors selected, the quality and consistency of the basic data obtained, and the weighting the study group applies to these components when compiling the resulting score.
But of course, if the above-mentioned factors are valued highly, then small wonder that Swedish mothers end up on top. However, whether or not we Swedes deserve this high ranking, it may nevertheless be an appropriate moment, perhaps for us day-care-critical Swedes in particular, to remind ourselves of how much better our women are faring than their sisters in many other, poor or paternal, societies.
But this does not mean that the situation is as good as it should be, or that we should retire in order not to appear ungrateful. There is still a lot to do to make Swedish women's and their children's lives even better without it affecting others adversely. One good way would be to (i) re-introduce joint taxation between fathers and mothers, (ii) (re-)introduce tax deductions for dependants and childcare expenses incurred (iii) abolish all tax subsidies for childcare, and (iv) review our welfare support for lone parents as a result of the afore-proposed changes.
Such a package of measures would make mothers of intact families more independent of the state financially and ease the pressure on them to go (back) to work before they and their children are ready for it. It would also - over time - make society as a whole more prosperous materially and create more jobs (2). And finally, it would free up more public resources for helping lone parents - and the needy mothers and children in underdeveloped countries, the real subjects of Save the Children's report.
But a big question remaining is whether we Swedes still have any political parties left which are liberal and market-oriented enough to champion that kind of re-orientation. A generation of socialism has made its mark on Swedish minds.
But in child welfare we find ourselves in fourth position only (?), beaten by Italy at the top, perhaps the most traditional and family-oriented country in western Europe, where few children are cared for outside the home, the very opposite to the situation in Sweden. Is there perhaps a lesson to be learned here for us Swedes? ;-)
My association estimates that, in Sweden, such a move would - over time - boost GNP and employment by approx. 5 %. Not a bad return on a reduction in taxation and public spending!
|Copy Link||May 6, 2007|
This weekend, some 500 people gathered at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to educate one another on the latest scientific findings on childcare and to try to decide where small children should be looked after, at home or in day-care centres.
After having listened to a number of powerfully delivered lectures from dignitaries such as Sir Richard Bowlby, Prof. Gordon Neufeld and Dr. Steve Biddulph, the attendants had little trouble deciding.
Read the resulting appeal to the world's political leaders - here!
|Copy Link||April 30, 2007|
As every parent knows, even tiny babies are equipped with a strong instinct of self preservation and will react with cries of alarm if they get the idea that their primary care givers are abandoning them, i.e., long before they are able to express themselves linguistically understandably. This is of course a problem in day-care centres where small children are 'abandoned' every day.
But now, Sir Richard Bowlby, son of the formulator of the attachment theory, John Bowlby, in this article, argues that this onslaught of stress can be alleviated by the presence of a secondary attachment figure who always is at hand.
Oh, Gawd, writing this makes me sad! What are we, double-working parents, doing to our children?
|Copy Link||April 30, 2007|
In Britain there were, in 2002, approximately 425,000 day-care places and approx. 378,000 children populating these places. In other words, the vacancy rate was approx. 47,000 places or 11 %.
In 2006, by contrast, there were approximately 725,000 places and approx. 562,000 children in them, meaning that the vacancy rate has shot up to 163,000 places or 22.5 %!
But this somewhat troubling development does not deter the British government from pursuing its plans to create tens of thousands more places by 2010.
Read Times On Line's reporting about the findings and the developments - here!
And while at it, why not also read Libby Purves' sharp comments to it a day later, in the same paper - here!
Our friends in Britain, Purves included, are good at exposing the madness of coerced industrial-scale childcare in its psychological, sociological and to some extent also the neurological dimension. What needs to be added is the economic madness of it. For some strange reason, we in this association of mine feel pretty alone in pursuing that angle.
|Copy Link||April 29, 2007|
That is a conclusion drawn by Sweden's second biggest daily paper, Svenska Dagbladet, in today's issue, after having compared a number of health factors of 16-17-year-olds from the early eighties with the corresponding figures today. Among the findings:
But not everything points in the wrong direction. Satisfyingly enough, the paper also found that:
A spokesperson of the governmental agency Sweden's Institute of Public Health gets a say in the article and offers an explanation we have heard before from that quarter, that: "the results are due to the difficulties involved in coping with all the choices youngsters have to make and in getting jobs."
Steeped in our long standing socialistic tradition, the institute advocates as a solution that more resources be allocated to our government schools in the form of psychiatric staff so that they will be able to cater, not only to the children's educational needs, but also to their emotional ones.
But a voice of the government indicates that the cabinet sees the relationship between parents and children as the problem and is apparently working on a support package for parents which will be made available sometime in the future.
It should be obvious to every initiated person that a root cause of the problem is insufficient bonding between Sweden's parents and children during the preschool phase, caused by the fact that the vast majority of children here are not looked after by their parents but by transient day-care staff. But it is politically incorrect to say so, which is why other, more "circumventional" explanations and solutions must be found.
|Copy Link||April 10, 2007|
…writes Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood in a letter to the editor in today's issue of Britain's The Evening Standard as follows:
Last week, another official report linked long hours in day nurseries with increased anxiety and aggression in babies and toddlers, adding to concerns already expressed by among others, the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study and the UK's Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project. But the Department of Education and Skills has still played the findings down.
We can't ignore the evidence any longer. These childcare studies are now catching up with evidence from psychology and neuroscience that shows, to grow up happy and resilient, the under-twos need consistent, one-on-one love and care. The time and attention of a loving adult is also essential to develop early language skills, the bedrock of later learning.
This kind of personal attention is almost impossible to administer in a large day nursery, not least because regulations keep staff so busy jumping through bureaucratic hoops and chasing "educational" targets that there's hardly any time left over for the children. Since childcare is low-paid work, staff are often young and poorly qualified - many simply don't know how to interact warmly with a young child.
In the rush to get parents into work, the Government has confused childcare with babysitting. Until we realise that child-rearing is a serious, socially important job, and that love matters, we'll continue storing up problems for the future.
|Copy Link||April 8, 2007|
…away from "nurseries for all" to more flexible working for parents, writes Eleanor Mills, a working mother, in today's issue of Britain's The Times, in response to a steady stream of worrying reports in general about the consequences of large-scale child care and the latest NICHD report in particular.
Read her important contribution to the childcare debate - here!
As you can see, she is getting praise from all over for her concise and honest attempt at finding a solid foundation on which to base tenable conclusions about how small children should be taken care of.
|Copy Link||April 4, 2007|
…writes Kate Tennier from Toronto, Canada, member of our sister organisation in that country, Kids First Canada, in today's issue of that country's daily paper, National Post, in response to a report published by three researches associated with the York University in Toronto.
The researchers' message is that parent are pretty awful at taking care of their children and that government-associated experts must step in to make sure parents behave properly.
Read a summary of the report - here, Tennier's response - here, and a reader, Patricia Sky's, comment - here!
The three researchers' report makes me remember wise words somebody offered me long ago: "A little knowledge is more dangerous than total ignorance because while ignoramuses are usually humble and don't offer their premature conclusions before having read up, partially knowledgeable rarely exhibit similar restraints."
What a good thing there are people like debater Tennier and commentator Sky who don't take nonsense lying down!
|Copy Link||April 1, 2007|
…if only they could afford it and did not have to worry about any adverse career-related consequences. That is apparent from an opinion poll our sister organization in Germany, Familiennetzwerk, has commissioned and just published the results of.
View a more detailed summary of the results - here!
We hardened day-care critics in Sweden recognize the figures pretty well. Usually, around two thirds of the mothers want to stay at home with their children when they are small. The somewhat higher figure obtained in this poll may be due to the comparatively large sum of money held out as possible compensation.
The answers to the question how long mothers would stay at home if they did not have to worry about their careers are also interesting, not only for the concentration around 3 - 4 years but also for the spread (from a couple of months only to more than ten years).
A unique result of this poll is the findings on the importance of personal experience. For instance, as many as approx. 85 % of West German respondents chose "the home" as the best place for small children to be at, while only approx 55 % of East Germans did the same.
Yet another conclusion that can be drawn from the poll is that if German parents were able to look after their children the way they want, the expansion by 500,000 day-care places, proposed by Germany's Minister of Family Affairs (see here), will not be needed. 100,000 places will do. But at the time of this writing, it is highly uncertain whether Germany's toddler parents will be granted that level of personal freedom.
|Copy Link||March 26, 2007|
Another finding from the ongoing childcare research project under the auspices of the American National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) indicates that day care makes children more disruptive socially and that this effect persists way up through the school grades.
The study also shows that this effect has little to do with the quality of care provided, a finding that challenges day-care advocates' oft-repeated argument that communal day care is every bit as good as home care, provided it upholds good quality.
But of course, communal childcare can have positive effects. One, the study found, was that high-quality care improved children's vocabulary skills through elementary school.
Read the New York Times' report on the findings - here -, Britain's The Daily Telegraph's - here - and the researchers' own summary of findings -here!
|Copy Link||March 25, 2007|
The much coveted gender equality may lead to poorer health and shorter life for both men and women. That is the - somewhat shaky - conclusion that can be drawn from a study social scientists in Sweden have made.
Read Britain's The Independent's report on the findings - here!
Yours Truly finds the findings credible. High ambitions for both mothers and fathers both professionally and domestically result in strong pressure psychologically and to lack of time for physical exercise and mental recuperation. I find it totally credible that these consequences manifest themselves the way the study indicates.
But I resent the implication that men do not pull their weight in their relationships with women, that men's contribution to the joint well-being never measures up to that of women. The workload facing couples does not only consist of household chores but also of many others. Since when do only household chores count?
|Copy Link||March 22, 2007|
– Men must play a greater role as fathers and carers of elderly parents, Cherie Blair said yesterday. "It is unfair for men still to expect working wives to fill the fridge, buy presents for the children and sort out the broken boiler," she continued.
At a time when most mothers have paid jobs, Mrs Blair calls for more state intervention to force men to take on child-care duties, as well as their share of responsibility for ageing parents.
But Full Time Mother's spokesperson, Anna Lines, argues that the problem is the current policies that practically force toddler mothers out into the paid workforce, thereby creating an unbearable rat race for both parents.
Read The Daily Telegraph's reporting of Mrs Blair's attack on the male side of her species - here!
It frightens Yours Truly when people with influence, like Mrs. Blair, reveal inability to separate the socially desirable from the politically appropriate. Not all social ills are suitable areas for political dictates.
The division of responsibilities and labour between parents is one area where governmental intervention is extremely inappropriate. That sort of thing happens to be a typical trait of totalitarian societies. Does Mrs Blair really want to contribute to making Britain such a society?
|Copy Link||March 15, 2007|
A new wave of antifeminism is taking hold of Germany. Former career women, turned housewives, are spreading the word about a "new femininity" which encourages women to stay at home and embrace motherhood.
Read Der Spiegel's description of the allegedly new movement - here! (Don't worry, it is in English ;-)
|Copy Link||March 10, 2007|
– Sending children to day nurseries at a young age exposes children to emotional, stress-related and behavioural risks, says Michael Lamb, professor of psychology at Cambridge University, Britain, in today's issue of The Daily Telegraph.
But it is obvious that Lamb has become a child of his time and accepted that communal childcare is here to stay (because our elected political representatives have decided to push it down their voters' throats) and that all parents now can do is try to de-stress their children during the time they have access to them. Pathetic!
|Copy Link||Febr 24, 2007|
Germany's Minister of Family Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen wants her government to create another 500,000 day-care spaces in only a few years' time. But her proposal is met with strong criticism from more conservative factions of her own party (CDU/CSU) who see the institution of the family threatened.
Perhaps the strongest criticism comes from the catholic bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, who, the other day, warned against socialistic ideas requiring "work-adapted families" when the opposite, "family-adapted jobs" are what is required.
– Young women will be reduced to birth-giving machines, the bishop charged, accusing Leyen of selling out children's interests to make cheap female labour available to employers.
Mixa argues that the proposal disagrees with "the 86 % of German women who prefer to look after their children by themselves".
But this latter statement is now called into question by a new opinion poll which the minister refers to, concluding that 75 % of the respondents are in favour of the minister's plans while only 22 percent are against them (1).
Leyen, who herself is a mother of seven, has, since the federal election in September 2005, been championing a family and gender-equality policy which obviously is inspired by Sweden's.
For example, as of this year, a new law on parental leave went into effect, granting parents leave pay for up to 14 months after birth, provided the father takes out some of it.
Conservatives accuse Leyen of naivety in her beliefs in governmental regulations and for betraying liberal ideals.
But among voters, her ideas appear well received. Since she took over, CDU/CSU has emerged as the most family-friendly party in the country. Small wonder then that the chancellor, Angela Merkel backs up her family minister to the hilt:
– She has my full support. It is obvious that we must dig in harder to create a society where work and family life can be combined, she said the other day.
Leyen, who is also backed up by German business, now wants to put family policy at the top of the European agenda. Consequently, at the EU summit in March, which will be hosted by Germany, she intends to propose a "European alliance for families", the purpose of which is to raise birth rates and thereby counteract envisaged future labour shortages (2).
Read this association's Bo C. Pettersson's attempt at getting another word in - here!
1) This poll looks suspicious! We, in my association, have never before seen an opinion poll - where the option of looking after one's own children is one - showing anything but a strong bias towards that very option! Either the poll was flawed or the respondents have accepted their government's false hold-out, that the proposed service will be free of charge. Germans should realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch!
2) If Germany implements the proposed scheme, demand for labour will fall to such an extent that any future labour shortage will be replaced by unemployment and a lower, overall, employment level.
|Copy Link||Febr 15, 2007|
…writes Oliver James (1) in today's issue of the British paper The Times, criticizing the country's Labour government for its Sure Start childcare programme and its one-sided focus on tax-funded communal day care, which makes it even more difficult for parents to do the right thing: look after their own children when they are small!
Read James' well-argued case - here!
In the article, James refers to a report by the highly respected psychologist Jay Belsky on the findings so far from the programme (in which Belsky concludes that the programme has failed to improve the lot of the majority of children and worsened the outcome for the most disadvantaged). You find that report - here.
Yours Truly nods his head in perfect agreement with James' reasoning right up to the final paragraph where he blames parent's material aspirations for the plight of Britain's children. It looks as if he doesn't understand how the absence of tax allowances for dependants in combination with "generous" tax-financed subsidies for communal childcare in practice forces both parents out into the paid workforce and their toddlers into the nearest day-care establishment, against both parties' will.
Footnote 1: Oliver James is a clinical psychologist and author of a number of books on socio-political and psychiatric issues, including "Affluenza" where he criticizes modern man's struggles for ever higher affluence and social recognition, at the expense of more important values, including the psychological and emotional well-being of our children.
|Copy Link||Jan 30, 2007|
– As of next year we will introduce a childcare allowance for those who look after their children by themselves at home, the Swedish Minister of Social Affairs announced today.
The allowance will be the equivalent of US$ 570 a month before income tax and can be seen as partial compensation to those parents that do not (want to) utilize the country's ubiquitous and internationally famed, tax-financed, municipal day care scheme, where the cost per toddler is US$ 1,600 (!) a month.
According to a poll made by our national broadcasting corp, as many as 1/5 of the country's toddler parents are interested in making use of this new possibility opening up.
No doubt, most parents will see it as a way to extend their tax-funded parental leave period which typically runs for 13 months from child birth.
The initiative can be seen as a result of this association's and others' enlightenment and lobbying campaigns over the last few years, so there is cause for celebration.
But this step is only an intermediate one. We will not rest until our government scraps its outrageously expensive and unfair day-care scheme for a universal childcare allowance which parents can either stay at home for or buy day-care services for. Or, even better: reverts to income splitting and tax deductions for dependants and day-care expenses - in combination with the abolishment of all tax subsidies for municipal day care, so that the service is charged out at the cost price that happens to be the norm for public services.
The latter solution would - over time - increase prosperity and paid employment in Sweden by approx. 5 %! Not bad a return on a reduction in public spending!
|Copy Link||Dec 30, 2006|
…says writer and former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo in today's issue of The Daily Telegraph, adding that "lack of contact between children and parents was directly to blame for rising levels of mental health problems, sleep disorders and anorexia in young people."
But of course, his charge attracted rebuttals from many who have an interest, one way or the other, in the day-care industry.
Read the paper's account of Morpurgo's opening move and the first round of objections - here!
|Copy Link||Dec 11, 2006|
…writes this association's director, Bo C Pettersson in a commentary to a debate on childcare in Canada's newspaper National Post, a debate which appears to have been initiated by Andrea Mrozek of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada on 5/12 and responded to by at least three members of the Canadian political establishment before Pettersson got his word in.
Mrozek's conclusion is that the new conservative federal government's solution to the childcare "problem" (!): a general tax-financed childcare allowance, payable to the parents of all preschool children, may not be perfect but that the opposing Liberal's proposed solution: tax-financed childcare in state-run day nurseries, is even worse, drew flak from Martha Friendly, officer of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit at the University of Toronto, from Susan Prentice, associate professor of sociology at the University of Manitoba in Winnepeg, and from John Bennett, officer of the OECD, Paris, France.
All three opponents (the rebuttal campaign looked well coordinated ;-) tried to undermine Mrozek's reasoning by inferring that the latter's conclusions from referenced scientific research projects were biased, but revealed every bit as much bias - in the opposite direction - themselves.
Read Mrozek's initial charge - here, Friendly's response - here, Prentice's - here, Bennett's - here, and Pettersson's (by the editors of the paper, somewhat muddled up ;-) comments - here!
For us childcare-seasoned Swedes, the debate in Canada on the subject is painful to follow! It seems difficult to combat the natural force that the drive towards state-run day care seems to be. How nice it would have been, had we Swedish parents retained our self-reliance and our financial resources at the time and not, unsuspectingly, handed both over to our government in the hope of a better return. Now we are sitting here, able to do very little when we see strong forces trying to lure our fellow Canadians down the same garden path.
|Copy Link||Nov 25, 2006|
A Christian magistrate in the UK, Mr Andrew McClintock, is taking legal action against his government for allegedly subjecting him to discrimination for his Christian beliefs. These make it hard for him, he claims, to take part in cases involving placement of children with homosexual couples since he is convinced that homosexuality is a sin and that children fare better when raised by heterosexual couples.
Mr McClintock bases his case on the Employment Equality Regulations of 2003 which outlaw discrimination at work based, inter alia, on religious beliefs. Against it stands the Civil Partnerships Act which outlaws discrimination of homosexuals.
Read The Daily Telegraph's account of the matter - here!
Unfortunately Mr McClintock's case is doomed from the start, as far as yours truly can see! In his official capacity, he is primarily expected to apply the law and only secondarily his personal judgement. And the law, as far as I can see, is clear: homosexuality on the part of candidate foster parents may not be held against them in award cases! If the verdict came anywhere near mentioning "the 'H' word", the court would be in big trouble!
But the case is nevertheless interesting because it shows how Christianity in "progressive and tolerant" western Europe is rapidly becoming a societal problem, a process that will have profound consequences on our perception of our selves and where we came from.
|Copy Link||Oct 31, 2006|
Your faithful's local paper recurrently runs a theme called This Week's Picture. The adjacent photo won this week. The caption in the paper says:
Our grandchild Xxxx, 20 months, who, in the picture has just started at his day nursery, initially found it difficult to cope with all the new impressions. Sometimes he got so tired that he fell asleep before having tasted more than a spoonful or two of his lunch.
As you, reader, understands, the paper selects its photos for their photographic and emotional values. It probably picked this one for both reasons but mainly for its emotional content. But it doesn't work with me!
Note that little Xxxx only spends four morning hours a day at his nursery! No little guy (or doll) should be stressed up so highly, physically or mentally, that (s)he passes out, after only four hours!
Who takes responsibility for the neurological, psychological or social damage little Xxxx might contract due to premature separation from his mum and premature exposure to an excessively stressful environment?
I know! He has to take it on himself! When he gets old enough to understand what he was exposed to as toddler and old enough to articulate that, all the agents of the state, who made sure that what happened happened, will shake their heads and wash their hands.
|Copy Link||Oct 21, 2006|
warns a number of prominent experts on child psychology in Britain in today's issue of The Daily Telegraph. The signatories include Sir Richard Bowlby, Prof. Allan Schore, Steve Biddulph, Sue Gerhardt, Chris Ponsford, Tom Conti & Sue Palmer.
They call for more of debate about the pros and cons of large-scale communal childcare and urge the government to make it possible for parents to look after their own toddlers.
Read more - here!
The expropriation by the government of people's financial resources to the extent that they no longer find themselves able to look after their own children is an outrage, also in terms of its effect on people's freedom and material well-being.
|Copy Link||Oct 16, 2006|
claims the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, citing a current opinion poll commissioned by a TV channel in preparation for a planned programme.
The results are similar to those obtained in this country; a vast majority of the mums thought that children fare better at home than at nursery and that too many children these days are in nurseries full time. And a third of them expressed the opinion that the quality of care of their own eye apples was "poor".
But of course, the National Day Nurseries Association does not take this kind of criticism lying down, labelling the study 'biased and irresponsible'.
Read more - here!
For us day-care-critical Swedes it is frustrating, noting how our history is repeating itself - in Britain (and elsewhere for that matter) and having to face how little we - due to lack of resources - are able to do about it.
|Copy Link||Oct 2, 2006|
"Large-scale, communal, childcare for children under three is not a good idea!" That is what a psychologist and a medical doctor in Canada have arrived at by examining a large volume of research reports from Canada, the USA, the UK and Sweden on the subject.
You find their summary - here!
Their findings contrast starkly against the image of such childcare, which Swedish government officials have spent decades on projecting abroad. And you, the reader, may rest assured that these Canadian findings will never - willingly - be passed on to the general public of Sweden by our media!
We, in this association, will however do our best to bring about another course of events ;-)
|Copy Link||Sept 30, 2006|
In Britain, 78 % of all day-care toddlers are in private nurseries, but in recent years the government has entered the game with establishments they call Children's Centres, where the operating cost averages out at £250 a week per toddler. But thanks to 45 % tax-financed subsidies, they only charge out on average £137 a week to the parents. The shortfall is collected by force through the tax system.
This puts private day-care service providers in an impossible situation, since their break-even costs are in the region of £140 a week per toddler, establishments who have no access to any tax subsidies.
Read more about the strange, British, childcare system - here!
The British government violates fundamental legal principles by using tax money to starve out private competitors. And it engages in economic stupidity by insisting on selling a service that costs £250 to produce for only £137. Nobody in history, be it a private individual, a business, a government, or a nation, has ever become rich and prosperous by consistently selling his/her wares at below cost!
Where are Britain's lawyers and economists? Have they all fallen asleep?
|Copy Link||Sept 27, 2006|
OK, the above heading may be stretching Professor Peter Moss' (1) and Director John Bennett's (2) conclusions from a paper they read to attendants of a seminar arranged by Britain's Nuffield Foundation yesterday a bit but not too far.
They advocate that daycare be made available to all toddlers free or almost free of charge (i.e. that it should be tax-funded) even though they themselves confess, in the very same paper, that:
Despite the potential significance of bringing ECEC (3) into the education system, there is little up-to-date research evidence about the process or its consequences.
There are so many aspects of the issue that messrs. Moss and Bennett are overlooking that it isn't even funny. And how dare they propose large- and full-scale experimentation with both children's and parents' well-being when they admit to not knowing the consequences?
Their stance brings to the fore the main problem with public bureaucrats and bureaucracies: their lack of accountability for their words and actions. If / when their pet scheme turns out to be a failure, the general public's fingers will be pointing, not at the bureaucrats who "sold it", but at parents who "bought it"!
|Copy Link||Sept 21, 2006|
said Britain's Children's Minister Beverley Hughes in a fringe meeting of a political conference earlier today.
Read Daily Mail's report from the minister's initiative - here!
Ms Hughes' words are interesting against the backdrop of her own government's single-minded endeavours over most of its time in office to make sure that toddler parents hand over their precious ones to day nurseries for care.
|Copy Link||Sept 18, 2006|
Believe it or not, but the conservative–liberal alliance won the Swedish general elections yesterday!
It is an historic moment. Never before, in living memory, have those forces won an election here without 'assistance' from threatening political or economic crises that even the leftists have been forced to acknowledge and react to at the polls! This time, the C & L alliance won at the peak of a boom period with no abyss looming!
The victory has come at a price though. Rather than staying put ideologically and improving the paedagogics of its message, the block this time decided to shift the message itself leftwards so as not to deviate too much from that of the dominating Social Democrats, thereby avoiding scaring all those impoverished and vulnerable voters who have become accustomed to looking to the state for subsistence.
How the 'bourgeois' 'Alliance' will navigate the waters it now finds itself in remains to be seen. Whether it merely will execute the policies it has promised to implement or deviate in a more 'fundamentalistic' liberal and conservative direction, only time can tell.
As far as childcare goes we protestants have only won an initial battle but have a long way to go before we have won the war. The Alliance only dared to promise partial compensation to home-staying parents for those hefty day-care subsidies working parents receive (so as not to upset that group of voters which has grown large over the years). But the more principled among us will not rest until the government implements childcare allowances which parents can either stay at home for or buy childcare services for.
And the fundamentalists among us (yours truly included) will not rest until the government charges out its day-care services at cost price and introduces tax deductions for dependants and childcare expenses incurred. That kind of move would - over time - make the Swedes significantly more prosperous and leave the government with more money on hand for helping those unfortunate single mothers.
|Copy Link||Sept 7, 2006|
Unmarried parents run an up to five times greater risk of family disintegration than married parents do, shows a recent study carried out by an independent sociology research unit in Bristol on commission from the Conservative Party of Britain.
Read more here!
The article creates the impression that the party is about to make the report form the basis for a different, more family-supportive, less Sweden-influenced family policy than the present Labour government has pursued so far. If that will be so, it amounts to good news for British society which has many socio-economic ills to grapple with, one of them being a large number of lone mothers.
|Copy Link||Aug 22, 2006|
writes Michel Noer of the American business journal Forbes warningly to his male compatriots wherever they may be. "Because if sociology researchers are to be believed such a circumstance increases the risk of marital problems because career women are more likely to divorce, more likely to be unfaithful and less inclined to have children. And those that do have children are more likely to become dissatisfied with the consequences," he writes.
Read his well constructed and highly amusing argument here!
His warning has apparently drawn a massive amount of flak from women who don't appear to appreciate the humour in it.
|Copy Link||Aug 20, 2006|
Swedish toddlers must be in the country's government-run day-care establishments so that both parents are able to work for money. To achieve that goal, its successive, mainly socialist, governments have taken a whole range of actions, from taxing parents so highly that they cannot get by on a single income, to offering child-care at a give-away price, and to exposing the public to consistent propaganda about how deplorable 'simple' home making and domestic childcare is.
Those are some of the conclusions British sociologist Patricia Morgan arrives at in her new book Family Policy Family Changes - Sweden, Italy and Britain Compared (Civitas, London, 2006, ISBN 1-903386-43-8), which we have just discovered. The author and the publisher have given us permission to make the chapter on Sweden available to you, which we do - here.
In view of the fact that Morgan, reportedly, has never visited our country but examined us from afar, her results are impressive. She shows how Soviet-like and outdated our family policy is, that it has not solved very many of the problems it was supposed to solve (1) but that it has instead created new problems.
Footnote 1: The Swedish government's main claim to success in family policy has 'always' been that it contributes to a high degree of female participation in the country's paid labour force. But Morgan shows that if one adjusts for Swedish day-care mothers' record-high absenteeism from work due to own or child illness (approx 33 %), Swedish women do not work more than the average females of the EU do.
|Copy Link||June 30, 2006|
writes "Kids First" Parent Association of Canada in this well researched and well constructed summary of the factual and fictional arguments for and against large-scale communal childcare, from a Canadian vantage point.
If you don't have time to read the whole thing, read at least the section titled "Ideologies & Agendas: Strategies". It is frightening stuff!
And if you have an interest in Swedish childcare you must read the section titled "Fiction: Sweden has a Universal High-quality Daycare System"! Take it from the writer, a Swede, the analysis of Swedish daycare is bang on!.
|Copy Link||April 28, 2006|
"Let children stay at home until they turn four!"
That, apparently, is the opinion of the vast majority of Swedes, according to an opinion poll just commissioned by the triweekly paper Världen Idag and carried out by SIFO.
Sixty-four percent of the respondents think so, to be compared with only 27% holding the opposite view.
It is interesting to note that supporters of the ruling political party (the Social Democrats  ) in no way deviate from this view, and among that party's strongest financial and electioneering supporters (the federation of blue-collar worker unions (LO )), the support for home care is even stronger (76%). 
That popular opinion is as reported we in this org. have known for thirty years , but what surprises is that the supporters of the ruling party are not reacting to this apparent chasm between elected and electors and that this country's right-of centre opposition chooses not to bring attention to - and exploit - the situation.
But there is an obvious explanation: leading personalities within both the ruling and opposing political coalitions, as well as similarly positioned members of the media, all have strong personal and familial interests in letting the lower classes of society pay for their childcare services so that they can spend their dual incomes on luxuries and holidays instead.
Exposing this silent accord between the upper echelons of politics and the media is one of this associations' most important tasks.
Note also that when our government or its agencies ask parents for their opinions, the home-care option is never offered.
|Copy Link||April 15, 2006|
One of our sister organisations in Canada, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, has conducted an opinion poll on the question "Who should look after small children, the parents themselves or competent staff at day-care centres?"
As many as seventy-eight per cent of the respondents answered "the parents", only 20½ per cent "day-care staff".
Read the institute's fuller report on its findings - here!
The results are no surprise to us Swedes. Similar polls have been conducted here ever since the early 70s when our march into a day-care society began, all of them having yielded similar results. Yet there is little let-up in the Swedish government's oppression of its people on this issue.
What does this say about the extent to which Sweden is a true democracy?
|Copy Link||March 7, 2006|
According to Madeleine Bunting, in today's issue of the British newspaper The Guardian, the UK Office for National Statistics has carried out a valuation of women's homemaking and care and came up with a figure of £ 929 bn, i.e. 104 % of the country's GDP.
Since there, in Britain, like in Sweden, are fewer home makers than income earners, it must mean that home makers are more useful per head - in pure economic terms - to their families and societies than their money-earning spouses are.
And yet, home makers in both countries have been criticized for decades for not pulling their economic weight, so much so that this criticism - unfoundedly - has stuck.
Bunting takes that observation as a starting point for a persuasive discussion about why pregnancy and parenthood, these days, is considered to be more of a problem than the blessing it ought to be.
Read her well-written story - here!
The Statistics Office's findings agree well with those of the 1969 Nobel Prize winner in economics, Paul A. Samuelson. He too found that the value of home making in developed countries, in pure economic terms, is as great as the officially reported values of the GDP (or the GNP). In underdeveloped countries that value is, proportionally speaking, even greater!
Amazing how difficult it has been for Samuelson, Bunting and others to get that view across.
|Copy Link||Jan 28, 2006|
…asks the American news magazine Time in this week's issue (January 30, 2006). It arrives at the conclusion that Germany still is a traditional paternalistic society where the woman's place is in the home. These attitudes put obstacles in the path of more career-minded women who want to combine work with family life, the writer claims.
Read the article here!
Time's article is based on the misconception that domestic work is of no economic or societal value. Nothing can be further from the truth! A housewife looking after say two toddlers is so useful to society that her wage-earning husband will have to dig in to keep up.
Read this association's member, Bo C. Pettersson's futile attempt at getting a word of balance into the mag - here!
|Copy Link||January 15, 2006|
In Canada, as in so many other countries where the day-care lobby is strong, much data is being bandied about that seems to support the notion that tax-subsidised communal child care is among the smartest 'investments' a government can contemplate. But little of the argumentation stands up to critical examination, as this paper from our sister organisation over there, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, shows.
To IMFC's impressive analysis can be added the fact that tax subsidisation of services leads to overconsumption and to a poor return on expenditure. In addition, day-care advocates' economic calculations are invariably based on the unspoken - but false - premise that the public money their pet schemes need, somehow will come from outer space, as if it does not have alternative, possibly better, applications.
In short: they don't seem to realise how expensive tax money is, macro-economically speaking.
|Copy Link||November 23, 2005|
People's brains may be affected permanently by loveless upbringing. That is a conclusion from a study carried out by the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S on small children who grew up in orphanages instead of with their parents, according to a report in the latest issue of the society's periodical: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The children who were four years of age when the study was made had spent on average 16 months in various kinds of orphanages before being adopted by American families.
It was found that these children had significantly lower levels of the hormones vasopressin and oxytocin (which are both produced by the hypothalamus of the brain) in their bodies than did children of the same age who had grown up with their biological parents.
Oxytocin is released when we meet people whom we like or love while vasopressin is released when we encounter and recognize family members.
In other words, it looks as if the brain development of children is affected by the social environment they are subjected to. Even more noteworthy is that those effects may well be permanent.
Read PNAS' report on the society's findings - here!
The above has been reported in small news items only in only a few of Sweden's newspapers over the last few days and there has been no visible or audible popular reaction, despite its obvious relevance to our large-scale communal childcare system.
The self-imposed censorship among media representatives and politicians never ceases to amaze.
|Copy Link||October 2, 2005|
We get the impression that the vast majority of biology scientists out there agree that the hormonal balance of the body affects the biological development of its organs over the long term.
A group of hormones to watch out for is stress hormones like cortisol. It has been known for some time that high levels of such matter may cause heart disease or diabetes later. But now, Prof. Michael Meaney of McGill University, USA, argues that they also affect brain development, that high levels of the stuff impairs brain development.
– Therefore, the best prophylaxis is a mentally and physically healthy mother, he says.
Read a one-page summary of Meaney's findings and conclusions - here!
Meaney's findings bring to mind Dr Wayne Brake's study into the same field, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' research into the effect of the social environment on the brain's development, Prof. Michael Lamb's study into the stress experienced by small day-care kids, and Psychiatrist Sue Gerhardt's book Why Love Matters, All of these studies and people arrive at similar conclusions.
We could have added our (Sweden's) own scientist Peter Währborg who has done research in the same field and arrived at similar conclusions (but are unable to find any writing by him on the subject in English).
The obvious conclusion from all these studies is that small babies should be at home with their mum or dad but for some reason, the media refuse to bring these findings to the general public for contemplation.
|Copy Link||July 15, 2005|
concludes Helen Ward, President of Kids First Canada in this incisive analysis of Sweden's state-funded childcare services on the basis of the country's National Agency for Education's report on the subject, which you can find - here.
Impressive work Ward has done from afar, without even having visited our country. And note how well her analysis supplements our own basic objections as listed - here
|Copy Link||July 11, 2005|
When baby rats are separated from their mothers the hormonal balance of the brain changes, which in turn changes the way the brain develops neurologically. In addition, such baby rats are more easily addicted to narcotic drugs than other baby rats are.
That is essentially the findings in a study carried out by neuroscientist Wayne Brake of University of California, which is reported on - here!
The implications on humans are enormous. Small children should not be separated from their mothers and not be left to cry themselves to sleep - period!
I think today's child psychologists pretty unanimously advocate parental comforting when a baby cries, but why are they not as plain-spoken when it comes to the issue of who should look after babies, parents or day-care staff? Can their relative silence on this point have anything to do with political correctness, by any chance?
|Copy Link||May 30, 2005|
Sweden gets lots of praise in this summary of the country's childcare scheme from the organization's recent publication Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life.
According to the institute, Sweden is exemplary at keeping families with small children out of poverty by coercing women into the paid workforce (1). But they also find that Sweden's scheme is very expensive and that it has been ineffective at addressing gender segregation in careers and incomes.
So, to remedy those shortcomings, the society recommends the Swedish government to implement stronger measures to discourage mothers from - and encourage fathers to - take out the parental leave our government "offers" (2). And it recommends our government to make more extensive use of day-care mothers since they are cheaper than the government's own staff !!
I almost suffered brain haemorrhage when reading the summary! Is it really up to our government to meddle in parents' division of domestic labour? (In free societies - I don't think so.) And how morally acceptable is it for our government to exploit home-makers - in the name of gender equality - even more than it already does?
It is obvious that those "experts" at the OECD have stared themselves blind at the wrong statistics and not taken the Excess Burden of Taxation (3) or fundamental neurobiological, psychological and sociological considerations into account. Had they done so, they would have arrived at very different conclusions.
As far as I can see, there are only two ways to solve the "childcare problem" (4) in my country:
One is to implement a universal childcare allowance which parents can either stay at home for or buy childcare services for.
The other, which is even better, would be income splitting, i.e. tax allowances for dependants and childcare expenses - in combination with the abolishment of all tax-financed childcare subsidies. That would boost affluence and paid employment in Sweden by more than 5 %! Not a bad return on a reduction in public spending of 2 % of GDP!
1) The underlying - but unspoken - assumption here is that Sweden's centre-based childcare scheme has reduced infant poverty and that strong female participation in the paid labour force is a prerequisite. That is a misconception. There are other reasons involved here.
This is not the generous offer it appears to be. Further, the OECD seems to urge our government to pay the average father more for the same job (looking after an infant) than the mother. Honestly, what kind of gender - and pay - equality is that?
3) A well-accepted economic concept which few of our government-paid or -dependent economists objected to during their education but seldom come back to once they take on their paid jobs.
4) How and when did child care, the most natural of all instincts and occupations, become a political and economic problem?
|Copy Link||December 1, 2004|
This association, with Haro, the other Swedish group fighting what we call "the day-care coercion", tagging along, has just reported Sweden to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) for serious violations of that organisation's Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Read our report - here! (The actual Convention you can read - here!)
As you can see, our complaint is that Swedish law violates the letter and spirit of the Convention, i.e., we are not reporting any Swedish authority for any ill-treatment of any specific child.
In view of the fact that representatives of the Swedish government are called to a meeting in Geneva with the overseeing Child Rights Committee on January 11 next year to report on Sweden's progress in implementing the Convention, we are naturally excited about the extent to which our points will be covered during that meeting and hope to be able to report back on that in due time.
Epilogue written January 13, 2005: Sad to have to say: our points, as per our report, were not dealt with at all during the Geneva meeting! According to the Children's Ombudsman of Sweden, who participated in the hearing, it focused rather exclusively on how Swedish authorities treat refugee and immigrant children, as well as other children with special needs in the various stages of assimilation / development.
Of course, this is a disappointment to us but since we find the violations we expose being very serious, we shall hang in there to get a reaction from the High Commissioner or from the chair person of the overseeing committee.
Epilogue written 30 June, 2005: No, it seems impossible to get a reaction from the UN in Geneva to our violations report! We have written reminders and phoned them about the matter, time and time again, but they try every trick in the book to avoid the issue.
So, we have to face the fact that the UN body, charged with ensuring compliance with the Convention, is only interested in a very narrow interpretation of that responsibility.
We in this association, who participated in the preparation of our submission and who subsequently tried to monitor the progress of our case, will probably never get over the shocking lack of interest in the rights of children and the lack of operational efficiency we encountered at the UN in Geneva!
|Copy Link||Sept 22, 2004|
…writes Britain's The Guardian's Joanna Moorhead in a summary of a discussion with sociologist Catherine Hakim in today's issue of the paper.
She concludes that the popularly held image of Sweden as the place where women can combine careers with family life is false. True, a higher proportion of women work for money in Sweden than in other countries, but that does not mean that Swedish women reach the same career heights or earn as much as men do. The price they pay for trying is long days, lots of stress, feelings of guilt for not quite making it - neither at work, nor at home - and little time for themselves.
Read Morehead's important attempt at correcting the false image of Swedish family policy - here!
We in this association are grateful for Morehead's help in exposing the myth that Sweden is like heaven for women.
It is about time the both Brits and Swedes realize that the only way in which the "gender war" can be stopped is for the statutes to recognize that, when a man and a women bring a child into this world, a family has just been created (if not before), and that this family then becomes an "economic unit" (like a small family business) to which both parents can contribute the way they see fit.
One parent may be inclined to work for money, the other to run the home and look after the kids. Both contributions are - of course - equally valuable. And income and benefits should - of course - go to the family, for both parents to share in equal measures.
Not only would such a solution be fair and just, it would also make far better sense, macro-economically!
|Copy Link||Sept 10, 2004|
Swedish childcare has twin aims. One is to support and encourage children’s development and learning - and help them get a good start in life, the other is to enable parents to combine parenthood with employment or studies.
With those good-sounding words the Swedish Education Agency (Skolverket) starts its glossy description of the country's omnipresent day-care system, a description you can read - here!
But please read it critically! Notice the following false statements, false impressions and purposeful omissions:
It is indeed strange that our government has gone as far as it has to shove day-care down the throats of its people against their will.
|Copy Link||June 2, 2004|
A BBC journalist has apparently visited our country (Sweden) to investigate how our childcare system works ad filed this glowing report.
It is frustrating reading all these positive accounts of our welfare system because they invariably cover only one side of the story, the overt benefits. It is about as useful as comparing features of little VW Beetle with those of a top-of-the-line Merc and concluding that the latter is a far superior car. Without also comparing costs you can still say nothing about which of the two is the better deal!
|Copy Link||July, 2003|
We have just become aware of this attempt by two Canadian economists, Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky to explain to the rest of us ignoramuses why tax-financed public daycare services are such a wonderfully profitable area for governments to get involved in.
Don't read their effort without casting an eye at Yours Truly's attempt at calculating the same thing, where I arrive at the opposite conclusion.
|Copy Link||January 10, 2002|
That is the conclusion of a research team at University of Wales at Swansea, U.K., an effort you can read more about - here!
|Copy Link||June 20, 1999|
Due to mindless trust in the benevolence of the State, Swedish parents have unsuspectingly surrendered much of their self-determination to the State and now find it hard to get that power and authority back, writes Swedish lawyer Siv Westerberg in this paper which she read to participants of a Family Education Trust seminar in London yesterday.
Westerberg's description of the Swedish societal paradise is illusion-shattering and should be read by all who fallen for the other side's propaganda about Sweden's marvellous social policies.
|Copy Link||October, 1996|
Prof. Stein Ringen
– Domestic production and co-operation more than double the value of household income, argues Prof. Stein Ringen in this article where he builds a strong case for political solutions that support and strengthen families instead of weakening them as the case currently is in the western world.
Knowingly or not, Ringen thereby arrives at conclusions which are similar to Nobel Prize laureate Paul A Samuelson, who, in his famed textbook on economics, estimate domestic work as accounting for half of a country's GNP.
Every "economic unit" in a society (e.g. a family) contributes towards overall affluence (e.g. as measured by GNP) with the difference between the value of its output minus its "operating costs". As Ringen correctly points out, domestic work contributes to overall affluence by reducing those costs. But he seems to ignore the fact that domestic work also enables the money-earner in the family to focus more fully on his/her role. Thereby, such work also has a positive effect on the income side of the equation.
|Copy Link||June 22, 1987|
For years Sweden's smorgasbord of social benefits has been the envy around the world of those who advocate liberal public provisions. A close look, however, discloses some disturbing trends in Swedish family patterns…
…The long-term effects on the emotional development of children, interpersonal relationships, sexual equality, family commitments, and civic morality [of Sweden's experiment in social engineering, webmaster's remark] may well reveal serious problems with the Swedish model of family policy.
That is the introduction - and the conclusion - of Prof. Neil Gilbert, after having visited Sweden and studied our family policies, as he describes his conclusions in an opinion article in The Wall Street Journal, an effort you can read - here!
Comment made on Sept 18, 2008: How prophetic Gilbert was, so many years ago! Just about all his dire predictions have materialised!
|Kopiera länk||September 25, 1985|
Despite much evidence that Sweden is not the role model in social policy it is clamed to be, many Americans - especially those in sociology and related disciplines - help maintain belief in the myth that Sweden's Welfare State is still a model for us [Americans, webmaster's comment] and others to emulate.
The family has become the target because it is the solidifying and most effective element for perpetuating those traditional values that often are the only defence posts against totalitarianizition of our society.
So starts Dr. Eric Brodin, an American immigrant from Sweden, an analysis of Sweden's family policy and arrives at the following conclusion:
The case of Sweden then should serve us as a warning: it is a model more to be avoided than emulated. Its function must best be to indicate for us where we in America could be ten, twenty years or less from now unless we learn from Sweden's "Future that does not work."
Read his for us home-blind Swedes very thought-provoking examination - here!
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