Swiss court rules 7-year-old boy too 'mollycoddled' for school

Having been kept from even the most basic tasks by his parents, the boy will now have to enter a specialist school

Swiss court rules 7-year-old boy too 'mollycoddled' for school


After being mollycoddled and protected from almost everything by his parents for seven years, the highest court in Switzerland has ruled that a boy living in the St Gallen canton will have to attend a special school because his mother and father have left him unable to do even basic things for himself.

Psychologists advised that the boy, referred to only as Marko is Swiss media, displays developmental problems, with his parents blamed for their decision to “remove all obstacles” from his life. The boy has been raised away from everyday learning experiences and has had very little playtime with other children.

Problems arose when the boy entered a typical school environment, where he was deemed incapable of coping with even the most basic tasks. When psychologists assessed that Marko should be sent to a specialist school, his parents rejected their findings, claiming that their son has lived a “normal childhood.”

They argued that their son had undergone three paediatric and psychological assessments in their native Serbia, which testify that Marko was capable of attending state schools. They also claimed their son could count to 100 in both German and Serbian, but his school assessments said he could only count to 13 and was incapable of identifying animals like frogs and turtles.

Believing that the specialist school would be detrimental to his upbringing, the parents lodged an appeal with the Federal Civil Court in Lausanne, but the court ruled in favour of the child psychologies. Now the parents say they will carry on their fight and take it all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, according to the Sonntags Zeitung.

“This kind of pampering has clearly increased,” said Jürg Frick, a professor in Zurich’s University of Education. “Sheltered children struggle with concentration, complicated tasks, and suffer from a greater sense of frustration and poor endurance.”

Frick called extreme mollycoddling as “a form of child abuse.”

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