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Kids Not Welcomed?

By Fredrica Syren:

We have traveled and lived in many countries with our kids. I’m always fascinated how, wherever we go, the kids just seem to bring smiles, happiness and ease to any place, people and situation. I have seen police, military, elderly and youth engage with us because of our kids … except here in Sweden, where we live.

It is so strange because Sweden is super kid friendly. Pretty much everything is designed for kids and strollers. Public transportation is free for parents with strollers. Most schools are free and daycare costs very little. There are great playgrounds all around town. However, I never have been in a country where kids get so many disapproving looks as in Sweden. Here, kids are supposed to be polite and not make too much noise. I read opinion pieces and comments in newspapers and on social media about noisy and spoiled kids, and how people don’t want to hear kids crying in parks and restaurants. So, basically, kids are to be seen, not heard.

I do understand that it’s expensive to go out to eat, so why should you not get to enjoy it to the fullest without a screaming kid next to you, ruining a perfectly enjoyable moment? I think everyone deserves that. I also get that it’s up to us parents to make sure our kids are considerate of others when in a public place, or on trains, buses and airplanes. I think Sweden is a culture where people keep to themselves pretty much and where interacting with strangers is not the norm. People here will not talk about the weather with a stranger or make small talk with someone sitting next to them on the bus. Here, we stare down at our feet or out the window when sitting with a bunch of people we don’t know. So, of course, talking to strange kids or even smiling at them is not o.k.

I have to admit that, as someone who has lived half her life in a foreign culture where everyone is friendly and helpful, it was easy to get used to people’s being nice. While on vacation, I relish how good it feels not to constantly hush my kids or feel stressed about whether they are bothering someone. And I love to see how my kids bring smiles and conversation from someone who remembers what it was like to be a kid.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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One comment

  1. Fredrica;

    Thank you for writing “Kids Not Welcomed”. What an eye opening view of how children are regarded in Sweden. Your intriguing subjects have moved me to share green-mom.com with people that I think will appreciate it.

    My Bride and I live in Frisco, Texas. We have a nine year old boy and I am always looking for ways to enrich his life. Things that he will not learn in the local school and things that I can pass to him from different views of daily life.

    I am thankful to stumble upon your website. I found it by doing research on Bing for my son’s home work regarding renewable and non-renewable house hold items.

    Have a great week. Cheers!


    Erik Brashears
    Frisco Private Shuttle

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