In 1981, Målfrid Grude Flekkøy was appointed Norway’s and the world’s first children’s ombudsman. She was given the task of creating and adjusting the position which she had for eight years. On November 2nd 2013, she passed away.
She is remembered as a beloved woman and a dedicated children’s ombudsman.
– She started a revolution in modern parenting. She was a fighter, and always stood up for children’s rights. She listened to them, and took them seriously, says former children’s ombudsman Reidar Hjermann.
Flekkøy was responsible for creating a society that does not tolerate physical punishment of children. It was very important to her that children should not experience violence at neither at home nor at school.
She also contributed to spread her knowledge and ambitions as ombudsman to other countries, and today there is a children’s ombudsman in approximately 80 countries.
She was educated kindergarten teacher and psychologist. She specialized in clinical psychology in 1973, and in 1991 she took her doctorate at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
She was good at spreading her message out to the public, and she often spoke on children’s television about children’s rights. In addition, she was politically active.
– The combination of being politically active and a psychologist was her strength. She saw that many of the problems children encountered were caused by political system failure, Hjermann says.
Throughout her career as a psychologist, she was affiliated with several institutions and was chief psychologist at Nic Waals Institute at Lovisenberg Hospital in Oslo when she retired.
– Målfrid was a warm human being, and she was funny and tough. She has taught me a lot, Hjermann continues.
Flekkøy was the daughter of Professor Sigmund Skard and docent Åse Gruda Skard, which is considered the mother of children’s psychology in Norway. Throughout her adult life, Flekkøy continued many of her mother’s goals and ideas.
She grew up in a family with five siblings. Her twin sister Torild – a renowned protector of women’s rights, brother Halfdan who is former Head of KS (Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities), sister Anne and brother Åsmund.
After a long period of illness, Målfrid Grude Flekkøy passed away in her home on November 2nd.
Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Source and photo: NRK