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Campaign offers parents a helping hand

Raising children is more complex than the question to view or not to view

(Keystone)

A nationwide scheme has been launched to encourage Swiss parents to seek professional help if they have difficulty raising their children.

The Swiss Federation for Parent Education wants to raise awareness among mothers and fathers that parenting skills are not innate, but must be learnt.

The campaign, "Strength through education", wants to combat the misconception that children who turn to vandalism, violence, crime or drugs do so because their parents' marriage is in crisis.

The federation said Switzerland's rapidly changing society was putting a greater burden on parents as they tried to raise their children.

"The transfer of know-how about child rearing from one generation to the next has become more difficult," said Urs Abt, president of the federation.

"Methods used in the past cannot always be applied in a society that has become more pluralistic in its norms and values. Many parents can find no clear answer to the question how best to raise their children."

The campaign promotes eight principles considered key to a good upbringing: "be loving, quarrelling is okay, be able to listen, set limits, give space, show feelings, take time, and courage."

They will be included in a brochure and form an integral part of events to be organised by regional parents' associations over the next three years.

The scheme is designed to help parents get their bearings and become better informed about child-raising issues and, when necessary, to seek help.

Societal problem

"The campaign makes it clear that child rearing is not only the responsibility of parents but all of society," said Jürg Krummenacher, director of the charity Caritas Switzerland and president of the Federal Commission to Coordinate Family Issues.

Krummenacher added that the Swiss authorities still had not addressed the issue of working mothers. "Two-thirds of all women with children under seven have jobs outside the home," he said.

"And nine out of ten single mothers are employed, often because they need the money, but there are not enough childcare facilities to meet the demand."

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The Swiss Federation for Parent Education is the umbrella organisation for around 800 parent education centres in the country.
They organise around 2,500 courses and events each year, attended by about 48,000 parents.
The campaign, Strength through Education, runs until 2009.

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