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Bringing up children in Finland

The society safeguards children’s rights through acts and decrees. The law stipulates that parents or the child’s guardians are primarily responsible for the child’s well-being and balanced development.

In Finland, punishing children physically (corporal punishment) is against the law. For example, children must not be hit or pulled by the hair.

Equality is emphasised in Finland. A mother of a young child can, for example, go to work while the other parent stays at home to take care of the child. In Finland, both women and men look after and raise children.

Children are encouraged to independent thinking. A child is allowed, for example, to disagree with his or her parents. Young people in Finland usually move away from home after coming of age when they begin studying or find a job. It is common for them to live either alone or with student friends before starting a family.

Education and training is valued in Finland and parents’ encouragement in schooling is important. Show an interest in your child’s school attendance and take part, for example, in parents’ meetings organised by the school.

It is important to give children and young persons clear rules and boundaries. Common rules can be agreed upon together with other parents, for example. Don’t forget that cigarettes and alcohol must not be given to a person who is under 18 years old.

When a youth turns 18 he or she is an adult under the law. The youth is then a legally competent member of society and has the power of decision over his or her own life. In some issues, under 18-year-olds also have the right to make their own decisions.

The InfoFinland web page Children's and youths' rights and obligations provides information about children’s rights according to their age.

There is a lot of help and support available in matters concerning children’s upbringing. If you need support or you are worried about your child, you should ask, for example, the social services in your own municipality for advice in good time. Read more on the InfoFinland web page Children's and young people's problems.

Home service for families with children

If a baby has been born into the family, an adult has become exhausted or there is some other special situation in life, you can apply for home service. Home service for families with children is practical help involving household work or childcare, so that the family’s everyday life and bringing up children run more smoothly. The municipality organises home service on a temporary basis or on a regular basis if the situation in the family so requires. Home service is usually subject to a fee, but the price is reasonable.

Home service covers everyday tasks, such as:

  • housing
  • care and attention
  • maintenance of functional capability
  • childcare and upbringing
  • running errands

Help provided by home service can also be a concrete task of household work, such as cleaning or dishwashing. Professionals and the family agree jointly on home service. Ask about home service from your own child health clinic or the counselling services of your municipality.

Bringing up children in Finland(pdf, 8,08 Mt)Finnish | English | Russian | Somali | Arabic | Kurdish | Albanian | Burmese

Convention on the Rights of the ChildFinnish | English | French | Spanish | Chinese

linkkiOmbudsman for Children:
The brochure "Children's Rights"(pdf, 367,24 kt)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Legislation concerning children, youths and familiesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish institute for health and welfare:
Home service for families with childrenFinnish