Cultural Spillover

Cultural Spillover considers the claims of those opposed to discipline of children in light of the microcosm Sweden now presents us of the future: a world without discipline.

Beginning in 1928 with the abolition of discipline in secondary schools, Sweden's spanking ban has been decades in the making. Campaigns explaining the 1979 ban to all citizens and all immigrants in their own languages have been ongoing since. Sweden has restricted violent media, implemented anti-bullying campaigns, and banned “war toys.” If there was ever a nation to bear the fruit of banning discipline, Sweden is it.

So, how's it been going?

Sources: National Council on Crime Prevention (Sweden), BKA (Germany), and FBI (America)

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime provides periodic views of how crime affects the world. Discounting Iceland, which included traffic violations in its total, the 2002 UNODC survey showed Sweden at #1, Germany at #9, and America at #17. Other “top ten” nations that had already banned spanking by then were Austria at #10, Denmark at #6, and Finland at #4. Coincidence?

For the last thirty years, Sweden has always had more than 11,000 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2010, Sweden had 14,605 crimes per 100,000 and America 3,350. Sweden had over 4 times as many! Sweden is clearly one the most lawless nations in the world, but it does not have that reputation. Now why is that?

If corporal punishment leads to higher levels of societal violence, then reducing parents’ use of corporal punishment should lead to reductions in societal violence manifested in other ways.1

This is the theory of cultural spillover behind every spanking ban. That is, what happens in the family — good or bad — eventually makes itself known across the face of society. This theory appears to be true. There is indeed evidence that violence in the family will spill over into society as the children grow up. Irrefutable proof is offered by the society with the longest-standing spanking ban in human history: Sweden. But the proof Sweden offers to this theory will surprise you!

Forbidding parents’ use of corporal punishment has led to increased societal violence! Crimes of all kinds have seen steady and dramatic rises in Sweden since 1979 when the Swedish Parliament outlawed spanking in the home. Isn’t that surprising? After viewing the graphs that follow, consider whether Sweden still deserves the reputation it once had for being a peaceful, idyllic society.

Since violence has increased after outlawing spanking, either the cultural spillover theory is wrong, or it points to something else going on, perhaps even a growing acceptance of violence within the family and the culture of which it is a part. Or perhaps it points to something not going on in the family. Maybe parents are no longer able to effectively teach and pass on moral, humane standards of conduct to their offspring.

Shockingly, the criminal statistics and social studies point to dramatically increased violence by children and youth. Children’s violence has increased toward their parents and toward other children. Teenage violence has soared against children, against other teenagers, and against adults. The National Crime Prevention Council of Sweden also reveals greater levels of violence of adults and teenagers toward children since the spanking ban. When the spanking stopped, something broke loose in society, something powerful enough to radically alter the crime statistics for the entire nation.

In other words, Sweden’s example of prohibiting parental discipline is profoundly negative. There is a stark contrast between before and after the spanking ban there. By its negative example, Sweden offers clear and unambiguous evidence that parental authority, including spanking, does deter violence and works powerfully to create peaceful, law-abiding citizens. Sadly, permissive parenting works in the opposite direction even more powerfully. That is, what has been loosed will probably never be bound again.

Unrestrained by parental authority, undisciplined for their misdeeds, a new generation of Swedish youth and adults has indeed grown up. The cultural spillover is exactly the opposite of what those who hate discipline have confidently predicted (and still do). The inner life of the new, non-spanking Swedish family is spilling over all over Sweden. The profoundly disturbing increases in all manner of criminal and violent behavior are due to nothing else than stripping parents of their authority to raise and discipline their own children. Authority is necessary to train for positive behavior, something even experienced animal trainers know.

Sweden, in many ways, is now a more criminal, violent society than America, the nation famed for crime. Hard to believe? Consider the increases of crimes in the last 34 years.

Increased Sexual Assault

Proudly liberal, even “gender-equal” Sweden has experienced a six-fold increase in rape since 1979! This surge in sexual violence now means the crime of rape is committed two and one-half times more in Sweden than America.2 The first graph shows the increase in total sexual assaults over this period, and the second the rate per 100,000 increase for both Sweden and America.

Police reported sexual offenses

Police Reported sexual offenses

Translation: The number of reported sexual offenses, 1975-2007. Source: National Council on Crime Prevention.

Drawing from published statistics, the following graph shows trends for this heinous offense in both America and Sweden.

Comparison of Sweden and US - Number of Assaults per 100,000 people

Sweden: 1979 — Rate of 11 rapes per 100,000 increased to 66 rapes by 2012

America: 1979 — Rate of 35 rapes per 100,000 decreased to 27 rapes by 2011.

The Swedish National Council on Crime Prevention notes an overall fivefold increase in sexual offenses over the last thirty years. Pay special attention to the actual versus the reported number of crimes...

A large number of hidden statistics

As few as 10-20 percent of all sexual offenses are reported to the police. The Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen, NTU) provides a better picture of the extent of criminality, with data on both victims as well as perpetrators — which is lacking in the criminal statistics. Of those who are suspected for sexual offences, the majority are men and only about two percent are women. A majority of the victims are women. In a third of reported rapes, the victim is younger than 15.

Manyfold increase in reported sexual offenses

When considering the number of reports, the quantity of sexual offences can be seen to have increased fivefold over a period of thirty years. The number of reports increased across all categories — rape, sexual coercion and exploitation etc, indecent exposure and sexual molestation. There is reason to believe that certain types of sexual offence really have increased, much due to changes in society, such as contact with strangers via the internet, more bars and pubs and increased alcohol consumption.3 [emphasis added]

The statement concludes with the oft-repeated hope that really it is not that bad in Sweden. In light of this already being an under-reported crime, due to the shame and distress felt by the victim, this set of statistics reveals the truth behind the excuses that Swedes are guilty of over-reporting offenses.

Increased Assault and Aggravated AssaultAggravated Assault - Sweden and US

Reputed to be a peaceful, nearly idyllic land, Sweden has seen its rate of assault and aggravated assault more than tripled since 1979, increasing from a rate of 279 per 100,000 in 1979 to 947 in 2011! Sweden’s rate of violent assault is four times higher than America’s.4

Increased Shoplifting

Shopkeepers in the encompassing Swedish welfare state suffer twice the rate of theft American Shoplifting Crimerate - Sweden vs US store owners do. There are 742 such thefts per 100,000 people in Sweden versus 367 in America, both for the year 2009. 5">www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats.

Increased Vandalism

Swedish vandalism (a crime there, as elsewhere, overwhelmingly committed by youth) tripled in the thirty years from 1979 to 2009. Rates per 100,000 for those years were 734 and 2,175, respectively.

Police Reported criminal damage, aggravated criminal damage, damage
Police reported criminal damage, aggravated criminal damage, damage - Sweden

Translation: The number of reported vandalism years 1975-2007. Source: National Council on Crime Prevention.

Increased Narcotics Crime

Narcotics crime in Sweden has grown even more than vandalism since the spanking ban. The increase is nearly four-fold from 1979 to 2012. The rates per 100,000 inhabitants went from 273 in 1979, to 994 in 2012.

Notified cases of drug offenses
Police reported criminal damage, aggravated criminal damage, damage - Sweden

Increased Drunkenness

Public drunkenness has increased such that Swedish police gave more than one quarter of the population alcohol breath tests in 2007 (2,500,000 tests out of 9,500,000).

Alcohol Breath Tests - Sweden

Translation: The number of alcohol breath tests taken by the police, 1981-2007. Source: RPS.

What can the theory of cultural spillover tell us but that Swedish families have become breeding grounds of lawlessness and violence? All the while, Sweden’s reputation as a peaceful, civilized country endures in the world press and the world governing bodies. Now why is that? Could it be due to the importance that Sweden has in the worldwide propaganda campaign against spanking?

But did you notice the May 2013 riots in Stockholm? Not so peaceful, were they?Stockholm Riots - May 2013

But do not think for a moment that Sweden’s disastrous experience will even be noticed by anti-spanking campaigners around the world or by the United Nations.May 2013 Riots - Stockholm

The “Correction of Children” is Outdated

While the statistics within the families and youth of Sweden were running very negative by 1996, the Italian Supreme Court took no notice. In an astonishing decision, the highest court of Italy outlawed any form of discipline (which they call violence) in either the family or in school.

In 1996, Italy’s Supreme Court declared unlawful any use of violence for educational purposes with the family or in school, affirming that “the very expression ‘correction of children’ … expresses a view of child-rearing that is both culturally anachronistic and historically outdated.”6

The court also noted that a child’s misbehavior is a plea for help.

If children and youth are crying out for help by their misbehavior, what help did they fail to get while growing up, and what help do they need now? Ah, that is the question! The wrong answer is of great consequence.

And what of the raped women, the assault victims, the robbed shopkeepers, the drug users (and their victims), the drunk drivers (and their victims), and the very environment itself? In these times the misbehavior of children and youth is not outdated, but correcting that misbehavior is considered outdated. The correction of children by parents, restrained as it is by the state and social attitudes, will always be diminishing, then. And what will always be increasing? Just look at Sweden to find out!

And where is the society that does not need correction? Maybe Italy’s society doesn’t, but Sweden’s does, that’s for sure! And who is responsible for the dramatic increase in pain and suffering endured by the victims? Surely not the parents, since it is illegal for them to discipline. Where is the spillover of non-violence that they were promised?

These nations are assaulting the natural rights of parents to rule their families. Taking away parental authority to discipline teaches the children that actions are without consequences, at least not punishments, even for wrongdoing.

Self-Above-All-Else Culture

A New Zealand lawyer and mother wrote of the difference the spanking ban has and has not made in that nation. Her comparison is not simply the society around her, but her own family. “Children who are violently abused in their homes are no more protected than they were before the law change. But my own daughter [born after the spanking ban] is undoubtedly a victim too and our whole family suffers the consequences of her strong sense of self-above-all-else.”7

Such selfishness has been restrained by parental discipline for thousands of years, until now. It is just such selfishness that is still driving the crime rate upward in Sweden. The Nordic countries as a whole are following suit, and the others that have banned corporal punishment will also. It would seem that patterns of selfishness formed in a child, and reinforced in teenagers by their peer groups, become virtually unbreakable in adults. Is this the goal of banning spanking? Probably not, but that is all that it is accomplishing.

Family Culture in Post-Spanking Sweden

The rest of this article will describe, in terms of both observers and parents, as well as police and courts, just what the new “self-above-all-else” family culture is like in Sweden. Something is clearly happening since spanking was banned that is spilling over so profusely into society in violence and crime. This lawless and destructive behavior stems from disrespect, not just for the law, but for anyone else besides me, myself, and I — the new Trinity of the modern world.

Children Agree: No Punishment for Me

It took just one generation for Swedish children to think that no punishment at all is due them for their misbehavior — not even grounding or withholding their allowance.8 Within 21 years of taking away parental authority, only 31% of children ages 10-12 even thought parents had the right to keep them at home (ground them).9 A little over half thought parents were within their rights to withhold allowance. That was the language used: “parents don’t have the right to ground children.” Is it any wonder what kind of youth and adults they grow up into?

Rising violence within families in Sweden was noted even by observers sympathetic to the ban, such as Professor Adrienne Haeuser of the University of Wisconsin. She wrote that two years after the spanking ban, on a visit to Sweden in 1981, most parents, when they could no longer overlook misbehavior, resorted to “yelling and screaming at their children, and some believed this was equally, perhaps more destructive” than the spanking they had given before the ban.10

Seven years later Ms. Haeusner reported that many parents immobilized their children to get their attention, by grabbing their upper arms firmly, even painfully. Having thus established eye contact, Swedish parents got to lecture their children for a few moments about changing their behavior. How much good this has done, dear reader, you be the judge. Indeed, the social upheavals in Sweden require little further explanation than this breakdown of respect for authority. And she had more to say:

“In 1988 I rather repeatedly saw a kind of parent-child interaction in public as well as private which I had not observed at all in 1981. Toddlers and young children for whatever reason often hit their parents, not so hard to inflict pain but continuous enough to be clearly annoying.”

What begins as is only annoying, as she writes, quickly becomes more serious. In fact, the more children have grown up under the spanking ban, the more violent they are likely to be.11Professor Ulla Wittrock carefully compiled the following information about the ages and birth years of those criminally assaulting 7- to 14-year-old children in Sweden.12 Her numbers show the trends at work in Sweden even in 1995, just 16 years after the ban was put in place. The reported cases of child abuse and assault have exploded since then. Professor Wittrock’s report was published in 1995, four years before an astounding statement made by Dr. Joan Durrant, an often-quoted anti-spanking advocate. She said “the ban has been successful.”

Frequency of Criminal Assaults Against Children by age of SuspectSweden - Frequency of Criminal Assaults against children by age of suspect

Look at the facts! In comparison with 1984 suspects, teen-agers in 1994 (born after the spanking ban of 1979) became five times (519%) more likely to “criminally assault” children their own age or younger. Note the contrast with children born just before the spanking ban. While they committed more than twice as many assaults (231%) as their 1984 counterparts, theirs was a significantly less violent group than those raised entirely without corporal punishment. In other words, whatever foundation of respect for others the parents were able to lay in them before they could no longer discipline them did a great deal of good.

Considering both groups together, the under 15 to age 19, there was a 481% increase in criminal assaults on children ages 7-14. The younger children, ages 0 to 6, were included in Professor Wittrock’s report, too.

General Abuse of Children 0-6 Years Old in Sweden

Year

All reported abuse

Year

All reported abuse

1981 196 1988 266
1982 187 1989 365
1983 167 1990 437
1984 222 1991 517
1985 236 1992 603
1986 211

1993

642
1987 264 1994 838

Following are two graphs from the Swedish National Council on Crime Prevention, the first covering the years 1981-2007 and the second 2003 to just last year, 2012. They expand the above two charts right up to the present. The numbers are astonishing. Mentally place them side by side to get the full effect.

Translation:
(solid line) Police notified of assault against children ages 7-14.

(dotted line) Police notified of assault against children ages 0 to 6.

The number of reported cases of child abuse against ages 0-6 and 7-14 for the years, 1981-2007. Source: National Council.

Translation: The number of reported cases of child abuse in the past ten years.

For ages 0 to 6, the change in child abuse since the spanking ban has been:

1981 — 196 cases of child abuse were reported to the police

2012 — 3,230 cases of child abuse were reported to the police.

This means that since 1979, the year of the spanking ban, there has been a 1,648% increase of abuse of young children.

The criminal assaults on children ages 7-14 over the years 1984 to 2012 is also shocking:

1984 — 941 assaults (from all sources, as cataloged above)

2012 — 8,810 assaults.

This is a 936% increase in assaults by peers, youth, young adults, and parents. (Such age breakdown of suspects is no longer available, as the National Council no longer provides such information.)

This is what happens when you take away the parents’ authority to lovingly and properly raise their children. Anti-spanking advocates clothe themselves with “love for the children” rhetoric, but this is not the fruit of love. The figures are clear.13 Judging by the fruit, you would expect every caring parent in Sweden and every researcher around the world to immediately call for an end to the spanking ban and a restoration of the natural rights of parents to rule and discipline disobedient, disrespectful children. Yet even if they were to do so, it would take many years, and perhaps not be possible at all, to undo the effects. Sweden did not become the rape and sexually transmitted disease capital of Europe overnight.14 It took years of bad training to get there.

“The Swedish ban has been highly successful in accomplishing its goals.”15

So said Dr. Joan Durrant of Winnipeg, Canada, in 1999 in an article entitled, “Evaluating the success of Sweden’s corporal punishment ban.” Her position is that the goals were to alter public attitudes through both indoctrination and punishment (of the parents), to increase surveillance of the family, and hence increase social service involvement with the family. With these goals, success may be claimed, and Dr. Durrant is held in high regard in the anti-spanking movement. 16 But no responsibility is accepted of the clearly increased child abuse, increased juvenile delinquency, increased drug use, increased violence and sexual assault, and increased vandalism. The goals of the ban ultimately were to reduce child abuse and to cause a cultural spillover of non-violence into society. It simply has not done either, and the situation has only continued to grow worse. But, many excuses are made. No one dare admit that “the emperor has no clothes.”

Are there Excuses for the Crime of Rape, Too?

Sweden is chastised by Amnesty International for having such a high rate of rape and such a low rate of conviction.17 Defenders of the Swedish experiment in child abuse (which is what they are actually accomplishing) like to point out that this or that crime is clearly over-reported in Sweden. That is, things aren’t as bad as the number of crimes reported to the police make them seem: “Everything is working out just fine.”

The crime of rape allows an objective test of whether the “over-reporting of crimes” theory annuls the radical increases in child abuse, youth violence, and all the rest, as the general trend with rape is just the opposite — to under-report the assault. Between these two paragraphs from the Amnesty International report is an immense number of private and very painful stories:

Official crime statistics are available and made public in all Nordic countries. In addition, prevalence studies and population-based surveys have been conducted, for example in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. These studies show that the countries’ crime statistics only include a small proportion of the rapes actually committed. The number of unreported cases seems to be particularly high in Finland: an estimated 2–10 per cent of all rapes are reported, compared to around 25 percent in Denmark.18

Sweden, therefore, is somewhere between Finland and Denmark. By their own estimation, only 10 to 20% of rapes are reported to the police in Sweden. That makes the actual number of rapes five to ten times higher than reported. And what happens then, when it is reported?

In Sweden, 20 percent of the reported acts of rape resulted in a court trial in 2008, a marked increase from the previous two years when less than 15 percent of cases were tried by a court. In 2008, 262 persons were convicted of rape.19

As the report notes, 4,000 rapes were reported in the same year, so the conviction rate for reported rapists is 6.5%. If one trusts the numbers collected by Swedish statisticians, then social studies say five to ten times more rapes happened in Sweden in 2008 than were reported. Depending on whether 10% or 20% report their violent assaults (rapes), that’s 40,000 or 20,000 rapes, making the actual rate over 400 or 200 per 100,000, and reducing the actual conviction rate to 0.65% or 1.3%. It is in the family that respect for others and respect for the law is inculcated into children. By the evidence, this is not happening in Sweden. Where is the cultural spillover of non-violence? Or is this the cultural spillover? Please tell us which before it is too late. Or does the future not matter anymore? Evidently not to opponents of parental authority.

One New Zealand report said that there is not much to be achieved from studying the long term effects of spanking or not spanking and how it affects adult behavior. And I quote:

Ethical considerations preclude the longitudinal analysis required to determine the associations between physical punishment in childhood and mental health, suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour in adolescence and adulthood.20

Abolish spanking, in other words, even if it ruins the children first — their mental health, whether they think about or actually commit suicide (because they are quite sure no one cares whether they live or die) — and society afterward. But Sweden already provides one aspect of the “longitudinal analysis” (across the scope of individuals’ and a society’s life), and other nations have, in their past, and even currently, provide the other aspect. To discipline or not: the case studies exist.

The New Zealand report notes that, given the trend of modern nations to reply on drugs to control behavior, that abolishing discipline could well lead to, in their words, “medical abuse” (prescription of psychotropic drugs) in place of what they call “physical abuse” (spanking). Mental health, medical abuse, even suicide, and quite obviously, soaring crime rates...how can all these inconsequential things weigh in the balance with outlawing spanking? Quite obviously they don’t.

The statistics on rape provide confirmation of what has been happening in Sweden over the last generation. If the under-reported crime has greatly increased, can it be denied any longer that assault, vandalism, drug use, and shoplifting, to name a few, have really and dramatically increased in Sweden since the spanking ban went into force? Is it any wonder if children are told, (backed up by the power of the state) that neither parents nor teachers can punish or even restrain them for wrongdoing, that they would grow up believing and acting as they have been taught?

“Parents’ responsibility is to guarantee morally and socially accepted behavior”

Researchers Sorbing and Gurdai published in 2011 another study of Sweden’s parents and children. Several quotes in this article are especially revealing.

Child development is not regarded as something that has to be formed or shaped; instead, parents express the opinion that children are individuals, not to direct, but to support. Parents’ responsibility is to guarantee morally and socially accepted behavior, mainly through role-modeling.21

Role modeling may not produce the same behavior among children, certainly. It is far more effective than telling your children to do what you are not, however, and normally should affect one’s children positively. But what if it is isn’t in Sweden? What does that tell us? Could something be missing that the parents need? Should we have policemen in the homes as we do in the schools? In Sweden the hope is that parents will even “guarantee morally and socially acceptable behavior through role-modeling.” Either they are failing to carry that out, or they are being models for another kind of behavior. But it is behavior which the state calls criminal!

By the cultural spillover theory, it is one or the other. Swedish parents are either modeling the kind of behavior we are now seeing, or else taking away their authority to discipline has produced something unexpected. And that is that parents are no longer able to model moral and socially acceptable behavior to their children. This ineffectiveness is producing a callous disregard for the lives, property, and even bodies of others.22 Durrant is quoted as saying in New Zealand, “Discipline is guidance of children’s moral, emotional and physical development, enabling children to take responsibility for themselves when they are older..” 23

Such “discipline” is not happening in Sweden, and other states will follow its pattern. But why is it not happening? What is missing that the parents and the children need? Will anyone be honest enough to face the facts, to face the obvious consequences of denying parents authority to discipline their children by spanking them as well as setting them good examples? In reality, Sweden would do well to reduce its overall child abuse as successfully as America has.

Dramatic Decline in Child Abuse in America

To consider that surprising statement, let’s look at the prestigious NIS report, “Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect” (NIS-4). From its “Executive Summary to Congress,” page 5, comes the following summary of American trends:

Unlike the dramatic increase in the incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment that occurred between the NIS–2 and NIS–3, where the rate increased by 56%, the NIS–4 reveals a smaller change since the NIS–3, in the opposite direction. The NIS–4 estimate of the incidence of overall Harm Standard maltreatment in the 2005–2006 study year reflects a 26% decline in the rate of overall Harm Standard maltreatment. This decrease returned the incidence to a level that does not differ from the NIS–2 estimate for 1986.24">http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/fourth-national-incidence-...

From page 6 of the same Executive Summary comes these encouraging statistics for Harm Standard maltreatment for America:

  • 44% decline in the rate of sexual abuse from 1993-2006.

  • 23% decline in the rate of physical abuse in the same time period.

  • 33% decline in emotionally abused children.

The numbers for Endangerment Standard on page 7 are equally encouraging, with the overall 38% decline in the rate. Graphically, the trends in America look like this.25">http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/fourth-national-incidence-... And how does this compare with the graphs from the National Council of Sweden?

Swedish parents could learn a lot from their American counterparts. Somehow, though, America, with significantly declining child abuse across the board, is always compared unfavorably with Sweden, which over the same years has been experiencing significant increases. How can this be so? Could it be that these scholars and researchers who give credibility to the anti-spanking movement do not know what the Brå in Sweden and the U.S. Department Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families are saying? Could that actually be? If it is, how can they claim to be scholars?

Consider how even news reporters are ethically bound to be objective, meaning that they cannot become activists, pushing a certain view or position without fairly informing their readers. If reporters, how much more professors? Experts are trusted to be knowledgeable and impartial. People and officials, even lawmakers trust they what they tell them is not simply their opinion. It is a public lie, public mischief, to do otherwise.

Simple Wisdom

Children must learn from childhood these most important facts of life: there are consequences to their actions, they must respect others, and they must respect authority. As a New Zealand youth said when asking that discipline be restored to his school (after the government took it away), “An old-fashioned caning would reinforce the fact that in life negative actions are often met with negative consequences.”26">http://www.nzherald.co.nz/education/news/article.cfm?c_id=35&objectid=10...

The case for banning spanking is not founded on reason, experience, research or pragmatism. It is founded upon one thing alone: emotions. Many people hate the thought of a child suffering pain for what he has done. Yet it is this very suffering that establishes the child’s internal controls over his actions, with the end result that he grows up to be a law-abiding citizen. It would be better if they, the children, suffered negative consequences when they are young, rather than to let them grow up to inflict such pain and suffering on many others.27That is simply injustice. Why should the innocent suffer?

Naked before the World

In this time many people fear that their nations are becoming police states. By the same logic, Sweden offers another vision of the future: police families and police schools. Sorbring and Gerdai have another insight into Swedish families: the parents and children have, literally, equal rights.

Progressive attitudes in Sweden are embodied in legislation against physical punishment, which gives children the same rights as adults.28

It’s no wonder that children question why parents have the right to keep them at home or deny them their allowance regardless of their behavior. Sweden’s welfare state has always seemed, at least, to support such a completely non-judgmental approach to life. As the state, so the family, in other words.

Returning to Sweden’s astounding rate of sexual assault (merely judging the fruit of their upbringing), it is equally hard for Swedish young men to think that they should not have the women they want (i.e., rape them). To such young men, it is not within the rights of the state to punish them for it either. As the parents, so the state. Young men growing up in Sweden today are consistent in their attitudes and behavior: as the family, so the society. This is true cultural spillover.

If parents cannot punish or even restrain them, is it not reasonable for young men to grow up and think that the state cannot, should not, nor even has the right to punish them either? If women would simply stop reporting forcible sexual intercourse as an offense, it seems as though everyone else — men, the courts, and the police — would be happier. Sweden would have a better reputation. Not that those opposed to parents disciplining children ever mention Sweden’s leadership in this category, or how far “ahead” they are in comparison to “child-abusing America” in so many other categories of crime.

One could say, though, that equality of parents and children in law is part of the reason that parents and teachers so readily call police about youthful misbehavior. They are equals, and one cannot restrain or punish equals. Regardless of what your child does (short of taking your life) you really can’t do anything about it. He’s your equal — you have no authority over him. If you can’t talk him out of doing harm to himself or others, all you can do is call the police. The chief victim of the spanking ban in Sweden is the family and the relationships that are naturally within it. The God-given authority of parents is essential to such natural and wholesome relationships, to keep the distinction between parent and child.

In today’s Sweden, children are restrained solely by their parents’ ability to talk them out of evil behavior (and this does not seem to be working). Children thus stand naked before the world. There is nothing between them and the state. They have no covering, no intervening authority to judge, reward, or punish them for their behavior. “Father Sweden” is over all. This has always and solely been the purpose of usurping parental authority. There is no worse parent in the world than the state — trying to do what they are categorically incapable of doing.

Families and schools are now microcosms of the larger police state that Sweden is becoming. This is not the fearsome “police state” of nighttime raids, brute force, and a pervading atmosphere of fear. Rather it is an ultimate police state where all authority has been removed from individuals, even parents and teachers. Any and all authority has been taken from them and placed in the hands of the state. The face of that authority is the police man or woman. Having learned to disrespect their parents, is it any wonder Swedish young people don’t respect police?

There is an ancient saying from the Bible that describes what has been happening in Sweden since spanking was made illegal. It is a chilling warning for all of the world.

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.(Ecclesiastes 8:11)

  • 1.
    J. E. Lansford and K.A. Dodge, “Cultural Norms for Adult Corporal Punishment of Children and Societal Rates of Endorsement and Use of Violence” Parent Sci Pract. 2008 July 1; 8(3): 257–270.
  • 2.
    For 2011 the rate of rape per 100,000 people for Sweden is 66 and for America is 27.
  • 3.
  • 4.
    For 2011, aggravated assault per 100,000 for Sweden was 947 and for America was 241.
  • 5.
    American source: U.S. Dept. Justice Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, Return A and Supplement to Return A Master Files. For more information: 6.
    UNICEF, “Children and Violence,” 7, Innocenti Digest No. 2 (Sept. 1997)
  • 7.
    Sacha Coburn, “Smack on the Hand Worth Time in Jail,” New Zealand Herald, Feb. 26, 2008, at National.
  • 8.
    Staffan, Janson, Barn och misshandel... [Children and Physical Abuse: A Report about Corporal Punishment and Other Physical Abuse in Sweden at the End of the 20th Century] 18 Statens Offentliga Utredningar, p. 58
  • 9.
    Perhaps, in imitation of the loaded terms anti-discipline advocates use such as “beating” or “hitting” children – not spanking or disciplining – grounding or time outs should be called imprisonment. And what parents have the right to imprison their own children?
  • 10.
    Haeusner, Adrienne, Reducing Violence Towards U.S. Children: Transferring Positive Innovations from Sweden (1988), p. 22.
  • 11.
    Do the facts matter to those who oppose spanking?
  • 12.
    Wittrock, U. (1995). Barnmisshandel, 1984-1994 [Violent crimes against children, 1984-1994]. KR Info, 1-6.
  • 13.
    Proverbs 13:24 is true: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
  • 14.
    “Sweden Tops Europe Rape League” (April 27, 2009, The Local, Sweden). It should be noted that the figures currently are as reported by the National Council (see the first graph in this article), not the lesser figure in this report. “Sweden named Europe’s ‘sex disease capital’ (June 5, 2013, The Local, Sweden)
  • 15.
    J. Durrant, “Evaluating the success of Sweden’s corporal punishment ban,” at Child Abuse Negl. 1999 May; 23(5): 435-48.
  • 16.
    Her reports are directly used by those who have succeeded in passing anti-spanking laws in New Zealand and those who are campaigning for the same repeal of section 43 of the Canadian Legal Code. These reports typically quote Durrant’s views but not Wittrock’s findings.
  • 17.
    “Case Closed: Rape and Human Rights in the Nordic Countries” Amnesty International, published 2010.
  • 18.
    Ibid., p. 4-5.
  • 19.
    Ibid., p. 5.
  • 20.
    Roguski, M, “DISCIPLINE OR PUNISHMENT: A CONFERENCE REVIEW” Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 23, December 2004.

    https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj23/23-pages195-199.pdf

  • 21.
    E. Sorbing and S. Gurtai, “Attributions and and Attitudes of Mothers and Fathers in Sweden,” Parent Sci Pract. 2011 July 1; 11(2-3): 177–189.
  • 22.
    Eventually, the Nordic countries will have to imitate the far more severe sentencing of American courts to get youthful offenders off the streets for years, even decades.
  • 23.
    See reference 20, first page, footnote 4.
  • 24.
    The Executive Summary of NIS-4 is available the Health and Human Services Department at 25.
    This graph is from the 455 page report itself, page 4-25. The entire report is available at 26.
    Jim Hopkins, “Give the youth what they want – even if it hurts,” August 10, 2007, available at 27.
    Not to mention that going to jail or prison, would be much more painful than a spanking.
  • 28.
    E. Sorbring, S. Gurdai, “Attributions and Attitudes of Mothers and Fathers in Sweden,” Parent Sci Pract. 2011 July 1; 11(2-3): 177–189.

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