New survey: Many Danish parents strike their children – even though it’s forbidden

ParentPhoto: Sara Johannessen Meek / NTB
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Nearly 25 years after striking children was banned in Denmark, every eighth child experiences physical punishment. For children with an immigrant background, the proportion is higher and amounts to one third.

A survey among the parents of 50,000 children between the ages of nine months and three years showed that – according to the parents’ answers – 12% of the children were exposed to shaking, slapping, and beatings in the last two months.

Children of immigrants or their descendants are particularly vulnerable, according to the survey, which was carried out by Vive – the National Research and Analysis Center for Welfare.

“In those families, more than a third of the children have experienced some degree of physical punishment. That is a high proportion,” senior researcher Signe Boe Rayce in Vive said.

“It is important for children’s development and well-being that they experience the parents as a safe base so that they can find comfort. A harsh upbringing does not give the child that base and increases the risk of it being frustrated,” she said.

“Failing integration”

Per Schultz Jørgensen was deputy chairman of the Children’s Council and one of those who fought hardest for the ban that was adopted in 1997. 

He is shaken by the results of the survey. He believes that this is a sign of failing integration and that many immigrants are outside the labor market and living in parallel societies.

“We have not been able to convey to them the development that has taken place in child-rearing. That was many decades ago. We saw similar figures among Danish parents. Today, we take it for granted that parents raise their children with friendly and loving care,” Schultz Jørgensen, who is professor emeritus of social psychology, said.

Treated differently

The current leader of the Children’s Council, Agi Csonka, emphasizes that most immigrants and their descendants do not beat their children.

“When there is still a large minority among ethnic minorities who do this, there is obviously a need for a targeted effort,” she said. Csonka believes it is a problem that the authorities have a higher threshold for intervening against violence in minority families than in ethnic Danish families.

“Where there is talk of serious violence, you must, of course, crack down hard on it, as you do in Danish families,” she stated.

“Many come from countries where it is not forbidden to strike (children). Maybe that’s how they were raised. They would like to do it differently but lack knowledge on how to do it,” Csonka said.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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