If you could choose any country in the world in which to raise your child, which would you choose?
According to the United Nations, the best places for you to raise your children are the countries in Northern Europe: Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, or the number one on the list: the Netherlands.
In 2007, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) released a study (http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc7_eng.pdf)that evaluated the quality of life of children in more than twenty developed countries and Netherlands was at the top of their list.
Everything sounds fine, right? Unless you want to know what's behind this high quality of life of children. Dutch children are certainly happy, but they are also the center of their society. ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6360517.stm) Parents go out of their way to please them, and teachers expect less of them than some of their European counterparts. Children's wishes become so strong that parents have to work very hard to give them what they want.
When it comes to making personal decisions, children in Netherlands also enjoy an extraordinary amount of freedom. The Netherlands is famous for its tolerant attitudes toward activities like drinking, smoking, drugs and sex. Sex education begins at the age of 4 and the age of consent is set at 12.
Do you think that UNICEF is happy about the study? NO! It's still not enough! As a result, the Netherlands is ceding to its government even more authority to "look out" for children.
UNICEF may consider the children in the Netherlands to be the most fortunate in the world, but their happiness comes at a great – and often hidden – cost to their families. In a culture that revolves around its children and a government that affords them incredible freedom over their personal decisions, parents in the Netherlands are relegated to a position of mere caregivers: responsible to feed, clothe, and satisfy, but not to rear, guide, teach, and train. Of course, parents want their children to be happy . . . but at what cost?