Razgovarali smo s poznatom psihoterapeutkinjom, otkrila nam je filozofiju danskog odgoja

Četrdeset godina, gotovo otkako se provode globalna ispitivanja zadovoljstva životom, Dance stavljaju na sam vrh, proglašavaju najsretnijom nacijom svijeta.

“Mnogo je raznih objašnjenja zašto je to tako, no nitko se dosad nije bavio danskim odgojem. Radim s djecom više od 20 godina i meni je odavno jasno da to što su Danci sretni ima veze s načinom na koji su odgojeni”, rekla nam je Iben Dissing Sandahl, danska psihoterapeutkinja i koautorica knjige “Danski odgoj djece - što najsretniji ljudi na svijetu znaju o odgoju samopouzdane i sposobne djece” koja je upravo objavljena i u nas (Egmont). Nisu roditelji koji olako hvale svaki dječji crtež i postignuće, više ih usmjeravaju na daljnji rad i trud te ih naglašeno uče pozitivnim životnim stavovima.

Otporna, emocionalno sigurna, sretna djeca odrastaju u otporne, emocionalno sigurne, sretne odrasle ljude.

Knjigu je uz Sandahl napisala i Jessica Joelle Alexander, Amerikanka udana za Danca, koja kaže da je bila sve samo ne majčinski tip žene i da su se prijatelji u početku smijali kad je rekla da - piše knjigu o odgoju. “Upravo me je nedostatak urođenih majčinskih osjećaja i zainteresirao za danski način odgoja”, a i vidjela je da odgajanje djece njezinu suprugu, Dancu, i ljudima oko nje, Dancima, uspoređujući ih s njezinim sunarodnjacima, Amerikancima, daleko lakše ide. Zajedno su Alexander i Sandahl postavile pitanje postoji li danski način odgoja, tražile literaturu o tome... bez uspjeha. Potom su same počele istraživati što je to tako tipično i osobito u danskom odgoju djece.

Njihova knjiga govori o postulatima danskog odgoja: usredotočenosti na igru, iskrenost, empatiju i društvene vještine.

Danski način odgoja opisuju pomoću akronima: P.A.R.E.N.T. (engl. roditelj) sastavljenog od početnih slova riječi play, authenticity, reframing, empathy, no ultimatums i togetherness, u hrvatskom prijevodu: igra, autentičnost, preoblikovanje, empatija, bez ultimatuma, zajedništvo.

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Finding Peace Within – A New Year’s Wish


The New Year marks the beginning of a fresh start for many. A new beginning!

As we step into a new month, affirmations of wishes and promises for a brighter future jump to the forefront as we say farewell to the current year. It is tradition in my family to spend time going around the dinner table taking turns sharing our personal dreams and wishes for the upcoming year. Even though everybody tries to delve deep and find something meaningful while being truthful and honest at the same time, the promises we make to ourselves often end up unfulfilled and forgotten – at least that is what I have experienced in the past.

The Ongoing Commitment to our New Year’s Resolutions

Approximately 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and out of those only 44.8% follow through with their commitments after six months. In 2007, a British study from the University of Bristol found that 88% of people who make New Year's resolutions fail - while the NHS reckon only one in ten of us will be successful. Out of those surveyed, 43% of Brits lasted less than a month, and 66% made it one month or less. 80% of people didn't make it to the end of March before going back to their old ways. It is apparent that the enthusiasm in which we make our promises for the New Year are rapidly decreasing from our lives. In Denmark, only one out of four people make a conscious effort toward changing something in the New Year, so it appears that we are all slipping into the same trend. It is quite possible that the abundance of social media in our day and age results in the tendency to keep the “weakest” aspects of our lives to ourselves. Perhaps it is the personal imperfections that we leave up to ourselves to resolve.

To me, New Year’s Eve has become a great opportunity to stop and reflect on how life has been going up until then. Although this can be exercised at any point in time – and I often try to do so more frequently – I enjoy the tradition of reflecting and feeling connected to myself and others during this special tradition. 

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Love isn't enough


When Sofia was only 4 years old, it began. Her bedtime ritual, which had previously been a pleasant hour with Mom and Dad, suddenly became stressful and exhausting. All at once Sophia began to react violently and throw tantrums to avoid being tucked into bed.

Evenings were full of screaming and yelling and frustrations. It was exhausting, not just for Sophia, but also for the rest of the family. Her loving and devoted parents tried various strategies they found in books and online, but nothing helped.

Instead, Sophia’s condition worsened as time went by. When her mother took some time off to go shopping, exercise, or meet with friends, Sophia sobbed her heart out. It all came to a head when the family received a telephone call from Sophia’s teacher saying she had hit one of the other girls in school. Not just hit her, but screamed right in her face.

The family felt powerless because they simply couldn’t understand the source of Sophia’s unreasonable behavior. It hurt them deeply to know that the daughter they loved was suffering so badly at some level.

Anxiety is common

But Sophia wasn’t alone. A full 3 percent of children in the U.S. aged three to 17 have been identified as having suffered from anxiety, and a National Survey of Children’s Health showed that 1 out of 7 U.S. children aged 2 to 8 years had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder (MBDD). Stress among children is estimated to have increased 45 percent over the past 30 years in Canada. You can read more about stress in America here.

Our children live in a performance society, where they are constantly being told that they must be the best version of themselves and that only the best is good enough. It’s a part of our culture, and many of us parents tend to believe that busy days and high expectations are needed to help our kids reach their potential.

But there’s another factor that’s creating turmoil, insecurity, and stress in our small angels’ lives: It’s everything we don’t have control over; all the impressions and inputs our children take in every day.

Children are exposed to a lot of unnecessary things. Social media and access to sometimes disturbing knowledge and facts are no longer limited to adults. Our children have access, too. Children hear and understand far more than we know and this makes them afraid and insecure. Terror, war, conflicts and all of the worlds’ frightening messages reach our children without us realizing, and without them being able to put it all in context.

These external influences plant small seeds of fear in our children.


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How to talk to children about terror

There are so many horrible things happening in the world every day. Mass shooting in California, Texas or Orlando, terrorism in France, Syria and as last night in Manchester – no matter where, we are all impacted. Our fear is real – it is getting closer and that´s scary! If it´s scary to us – imagine how do our children feel?

Sometimes we feel better ignoring the truth

Because of our increasing fear, and because it´s too difficult handle our children's scared feelings too, we often ignore or even try to pretend that everything is just normal and fine, instead of talking to them about what´s really going on – those of us who are not psychically impacted. We want to spare them of too many scary thoughts, and that´s understandable but not always the best way to deal with what is actually happening.

Children have “big” ears

Children often hear us talk about tragic events - somehow when we don´t think they are listening. If they wont hear it from us, they will hear it from one of their classmates in school, from media, from the lady in the supermarket or at a friend´s home. They will know something!

We can´t always know how much they do understand though, but the fact that they will pick up maybe small pieces must lead us to find out.

Bad things will happen

My youngest child asked me this morning after the horrifying terror attack in Manchester: “Will all this terrible and scary around us ever end?” I could only reply by saying “no”. “There will always be bad and sick people, no matter where you go. We can´t let fear stop us live our life, but we can learn to manage our fear and anxiety by looking at it and talking about it” – when feeling safe and secure.

How to do:

1. Find out what your children know and also what they think about what has happen. Help them put words on their thoughts. Use open questions.

2. It is important allowing them to talk about what has happened freely and without you putting too many of your own thoughts into the conversation. Listen to what they are concerned about and let them tell.

3. Answer the questions, which your children ask. Don´t tell too many details and alarming stories about what you have heard. This will tell you a lot about your children´s perception level. They will continue asking, if there´s more on their mind.

4. It is important that we can accommodate the feelings associated with the experience. If we can't, how can we teach our children to do so.

Stay realistic optimistic. It is ok to feel afraid. Say that the world is big and there´s nothing to be afraid of where you are. Our adult fear we should keep to ourselves.

5. If you find it difficult to open up the conversation, let your children draw whatever they are thinking about related to what happened. It is a fantastic way to connect and talk about something third as it is not as direct and confronting as sitting across to each other and having “a talk.”

6. Show mercy and hope. As parents we have a big responsibility because we are the primary example of empathy and must practice being empathic ourselves. This can be done with our use of language, our behavior and actions. Children will constantly be focused on us and therefore what they experience in their home will be crucial for their empathy development and the way they interact with other people in the future.

7. No matter what – always remember that life can be seen very different depending on from which side you look. No one is born evil or bad. It is the behavior which we don´t like, not necessarily the person behind.  Put it in perspective by saying that most places is doing fine, and that the world is a big place. This happened in a tiny place far away from where you are.


When we feel vulnerable it rather draws us closer to others or pushes us away. Being tuned into children´s vulnerability helps them regulate their nervous system and gives them the opportunity to stay ok in this, often, very chaotic world. As a psychotherapist with many years of working in the field, I know that being aware of helping children to conceptualize their feelings, either by talking, drawing or something third – we allow them to be in touch with their own feelings and that’s paramount for their personal development.

We can teach them (and ourselves), not to be afraid of the whole range of emotions, confronting whatever we feel and still continue living – even though we are afraid sometimes.