According to Finnish law, a person under 18 years of age is a child. Under 18-year-olds must always have at least one guardian. Usually, the child’s own parents are his or her guardians.
When a person turns 18, they come of age.
According to Finnish law, all children are equal regardless of their background or age.
The rights and obligations stipulated by Finland’s constitution apply to all children living in Finland. According to this constitution, children must be treated equally as individuals and they must be able to have an influence on the issues that concern themselves.
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.
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 Hämeenlinna City for advice in good time.