Problems at school or with studies
If a child or young person has problems at school or with studies, the problems should be discussed with the student counsellor of the school or educational institute. A psychologist or welfare officer (kuraattori) also works at the school. He or she helps students who are having difficulties at school.
If a child or young person is being bullied at school, the school is obliged to intervene. Report the bullying to a teacher and the headmaster. Occasionally, according to law, bullying can be a crime and can be reported to the police. For example, physical violence and stealing are crimes.
Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations ETNOGuide for parents about bullying at schoolLink redirects to another website
Use of alcohol and drugs
If a young person has problems with alcohol, drugs or gaming, he or she can seek help from a youth station. There are youth stations in many cities. The young person can come to a youth station alone or together with the parents.
Cultural conflicts in the family
Occasionally, cultural conflicts cause problems between parents and children. The problems can relate to, for example, dating or dressing. Parents may expect girls to behave differently from boys.
It is important that these conflicts can be discussed in the family. A young person has the right to ask why the parents want him or her to behave in a certain manner. No culture or religion may restrict the basic rights of children and youth. Read more on the basic rights on the InfoFinland page Children’s and youths’ rights and obligations.
You can ask for help for your problems. Young girls can seek help from Girls’ Houses (Tyttöjen talo) which can be found in several municipalities. Helsinki and Oulu also have a Poikien talo, where boys can seek help.
Sopu work operates in Helsinki and Didar operates in Tampere. They help young people and their parents in honour-related conflicts.
Violence in the family
Physical punishment of children is a crime in Finland. This means that it is not allowed to, for example, hit the children or pull their hair when they are disobedient.
If the parents behave violently towards a child or a young person, the child or young person can seek help from the school nurse, a family counselling centre or a Youth Emergency Shelter of the Finnish Red Cross (SPR Nuorten turvatalo).
You can find more information on how children are raised in Finland on the InfoFinland page Bringing up children in Finland. Information on what to do if there is violent behaviour in your family is available on the InfoFinland page Violence.
A person under the age of 15 will face consequences for committing a crime. The young person is obliged to compensate for the damage caused. The police report crimes committed by persons under 18 years to their parents and to child welfare authorities.
More information about child welfare is available on the InfoFinland page Child welfare.
Help in bringing up children
Family counselling/family centre
At a family counselling centre or family centre, children, youth and families can get help for problems related to bringing up children and their development. You can contact a family counselling centre yourself and set up an appointment. There are family counselling centres or family centres in many municipalities. A family counselling centre is a municipal service. You can find the relevant contact information on the website of your own municipality.
Mannerheim League for Child Welfare MLL (Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto)
Mannerheim League for Child Welfare organises family cafés for families with children and children’s clubs at many Finnish localities. MLL also offers advice to parents on raising children.
Family Federation of Finland (Väestöliitto)
The Family Federation provides information on parenting. You can contact the federation when you are faced with relationship problems, parenting or divorce. The Family Federation’s multicultural work provides support for immigrant families. The Family Federation also offers phone and e-mail counselling when you need to discuss issues related to parenting or family relationships. You can write to the Family Federation in Dari, Kurdish (Sorani), Persian, Finnish, Russian, English or Swedish. The contact information is available at the Family Federation’s website.