KARLSTAD, Sweden, November 30, 2010 ( – A Swedish district court has sentenced a couple to nine months each in prison and fined them the equivalent of US $10,650 after they admitted to spanking three of their four children as a normal part of their parenting methods. Corporal punishment of children by parents was made illegal in Sweden in 1979, an early step in what a U.S. parental rights lawyer called the nearly total take-over of parenting by the state in Sweden.

Court documents, quoted by Sveriges Television, said that the parents, who have not been named in the press, “explained that they had used, what they themselves described as spanking, physical punishment as part of their methods for raising the children.”

There is no indication of abuse by the parents in the released documents, with the court noting that the parents “had a loving and caring relationship with their children.”

Nevertheless, the parents have been sent to prison and fined 25,000 kronor for each of the “affected children.” The children have been remanded to state-sponsored foster care since early this summer, and Mike Donnelly, Director of International Relations for the US-based Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA), told that it is “extremely unlikely” that the children will ever be returned to their family home.

Donnelly said that the case is typical of the stories of many families with traditional values in Sweden: “In the area of family rights in Sweden things really aren’t going well there.”

While the HSLDA does not hold an official position on the use of corporal punishment, Donnelly said it is clearly up to parents to determine whether corporal punishment is an appropriate form of discipline.

“Parenting has been outsourced, or simply directly taken over by the state in Sweden,” Donnelly said. “And these parents have been jailed for doing what in America would be perfectly normal.”

Ninety percent of Swedish children are in publicly funded day care from extremely early ages, as young as a year or 18 months, he said. It is the position of the state that parents are overruled by the state in areas of child rearing, he said.

Donnelly said, however, that the best interests of the child are not the state’s highest priority: “So lets take these kids who have had a loving and caring relationship with their parents and send them to foster care, and throw their parents into jail for nine months.”

Donnelly cited the now notorious case of Domenic Johansson, the boy who was snatched by state officials because his parents were homeschooling him, an act that is also illegal in Sweden.

“The bottom line is, don’t go to Sweden. Don’t move there, if you want to have a normal family.”

Contact information:

Swedish Embassy – U.S.

Embassy of Sweden
2900 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202)467-2600
Fax: (202)467-2699
Email:[email protected]

Swedish Embassy – Canada

377 Dalhousie Street
Ottawa, ON
K1N 9L3
Phone: (613) 244-8200
E-mail: [email protected]