Increased psychological problems for small children

Poor psychosocial development is the most serious health risk faced by children up to the age of five. In its annual report to the government, the Children's Ombudsman (Barnombudsman) also notes that most children view their childhood positively.

Around a third of infants in Sweden have not managed to develop secure relationships with their mothers or fathers. Increasing numbers of parents are seeking help as a result of difficulties relating to their children.

The ombudsman has proposed that municipal councils, county councils and regions should set aside additional resources for families with “psychological and psychosocial problems”.

“We have noticed that the need to support parents is greater than before. There needs to be a broad information campaign aimed at parents in order to strengthen the rights of the youngest children,” said ombudsman Lena Nygren.

The ombudsman points out that more children than before are overweight, underweight or suffering from psychological problems.

“The responsibility for ensuring the rights of the very youngest children is particularly large. Not because they have more rights than anyone else but because many people seem to think that small children can’t express themselves any other way than through their parents,” said Nygren.

As part of the report, the ombudsman spoke to 700 pupils at a number of schools. Most had fond memories of their earliest years.

Pupils were also asked for their opinion on what constitutes good parenting. Of primary importance was that parents praised their children, engaged in general play and played games.

Parents should also read good night stories, teach their kids to say thank you and take them on trips.

A good mother or father should not hit their children or force them to eat up their food.