Should We Need A License To Be A Parent?
Licenses are widely needed for everyday uses, such as driving, hunting, serving liquor, or operate a ham radio. Many, if not, most people are poorly prepared to parent. It seems that having children isn't always a decision that is well thought out, and in some cases it just happens by accident and people choose to bring life into the world knowing full well they are not capable of taking care of that life - they assume the government, teachers, or family will pitch in and do their job for them. Parenting might as well be considered one of life’s most challenging and demanding jobs. It is a job that you cannot quit from and do not get paid. Instead, you basically pay for it. It is the hardest job in the world and the easiest job to get.
For people that see news articles and reports on children who are victims of abuse or unnecessary deaths caused by irresponsible parenting, the idea of a license for parenting might sound attractive. Most may think that a license could save many lives of children that suffer from abuse, neglect or cruelty because there are many inadequate parents raising infants. Parents would be more respectful of their obligations if they had to earn the privilege of raising a child.
Today’s society needs proactive parents with the frame of mind to teach and educate correctly with incentive. Cleary, there are many parents out there who have no business being around kids, and don't have the financial, emotional or intellectual resources to raise them. Has anyone ever wondered why we can drink at age 21, but can have babies before we're even old enough to drive? Besides that, one can't even get a halfway decent job without a high school education, have a child before you're out of high school makes it even more likely that you'll drop out and not finish your education. Parental licensing attempts to take all risks out of child-bearing by eliminating "mistakes", but God does not make mistakes.
Children don't ask to be born, and many adults don't ask to be parents. Of course there are extremely responsible and loving parents out there, and there are people who would make wonderful parents but for reasons beyond their control they won't ever achieve that goal, but there are also people who have children and raise them irresponsibly which inevitably affects not only society, but scars those children for life.
Law enforcement and child-protection services are of course there to deal with abuse. That is how things should be: kids need protection. But do we really need to go to such an extreme extent in which you would need to get a license to be a parent?
If a “parenting license” were to exist, the law would state that, before becoming parents, people be required to complete high school, pass a certified course on infant development, obtain a license, sign a contract agreeing not to abuse or neglect the child and to take up grade courses through the child’s life and when there are major family changes such as divorce or death of family members.
The course or test given, would be created by experienced and successful parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, family counselors, police officers, etc. an 80% score of the test would be need to pass and courses would be mandatory during high school. We need to carefully consider what we teach in these courses though. Twenty years ago people would have laughed to suggest that using a cane or belt on a child would get them into court. Not anymore.
Licensing requires you to choose and work with a parenting partner. Even if licenses were not mandatory, child development classes should be part of the basic curriculum taught in all schools to all kids. But honestly, can adequate parenting skills be taught? Or more importantly, can inadequate parenting skills be overcome by a simple course in child development? Can we teach someone not to abuse their kids? Can we teach parents to love their kids? Just what would taking a course for the license ensure anyway? Just what would it teach? There will be people who will always be poor parents regardless of how much guidance you give them. You are never fully prepared to have children. No matter what you do you can never really be ready for taking care of a human life.
A license would not even ensure that parents will follow the rules. A large amount of our population does not follow rules. Neglect and abuse could still happen, even with a license. There is no guarantee against future human error. There might be people who are stone cold neglectful drug addicts or alcoholics that have a child and, against all odds, turned their life around and get clean become great parents because and for their children. There might also be people who are good, presentable people who cannot take the frustration and hardships of being a parent and become neglectful, depressed parents.
A doctor could go through medical school and pass the licensing requirements for practicing medicine in his state, and a few years later, could make a critical mistake that results in a patient’s unnecessary death. A high school student could obtain a license and in an accident, get himself and others killed two years later. Children must not be sacrificed to the ideology, or idolatry, of population control. Children are human beings, and we cannot manipulate them. Children are the greatest gift God can give to parents.
When the government tries to control humanity to an extreme, it might get out of hand, as it did with the Noble Experiment (prohibition or “dry” movement) from 1919 to 1933, during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption were banned nationally. It was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. The evidence affirms that the “experiment” was doomed to failure.
Although consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of Prohibition, it subsequently increased. Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; crime increased and became "organized"; the court and prison systems were stretched to the breaking point; and corruption of public officials was rampant. No measurable gains were made in productivity or reduced absenteeism. This is an example of how humanity reacts to a drastic change in society. Imagine all the people that would think “Oh, we have to worry less about having to deal with raising a child if we have sex”, so many people would have careless sexual intercourse, making STDs spread even faster and in greater percentages than it already is and also causing even more pregnancies and abortions than we already have.
The idea of a “license to parent” sounds good as an idea or a planned subject, it would save many lives and would only be used with the best interest of children in mind; however, when put into real life practice, the result would probably not be as good as most people would think. Some human rights seem more untouchable than others, and the right to procreate without government interference has to be close to the top, even if you are unlikely to be a candidate for mother-of-the-year.
A parenting license would violate the basic human right to procreate as well as the constitutional law for the pursuit of happiness in a free society. Humans should be able to reproduce freely and naturally without being monitored by the government. Yes, there should be a way to detent abuse and neglect, such as the social workers’ job, but having to “qualify” for something as natural as procreation, seems absurd. The government should not be able to rule over god and nature.
Many questions would be raised, such as: What would be the requirements for the license? Should the government really be able to control our lives that much? Would this get out of hand? To what extent would we let it go? What happens to children whose parents do not qualify for a license? What happens if you get caught “parenting without a license”? What would the punishment be? What if someone became pregnant and did not qualify for a license?
A physician, upon learning of an unlicensed pregnancy, must report that fact to the child protection agency of the woman’s county of residence within one week of discovery. Forced abortion by the state would be the solution for most cases of unlicensed pregnancies. Children who are born “illegally” would be removed from the custody of the biological parents and would be put into adoption or foster care. Men and women who are convicted a second time would be forced into sterilization.
Forced abortion and sterilization would definitely be common, since a limited number of people would be allowed to reproduce. People would most likely begin to avoid marriage and the ideal family image would be greatly altered. According to Matthew Habiger OSB, PhD’s “License for Parenting” article in life issues magazine, “social constrains” would include compulsatory sex education and family limitation, encouraging women to work and “putting fertility control agents in the water supply”.
If the government is willing to dedicate so much to a “license to parent”, why not instead focus more on giving enough resources to help families in trouble: high quality early child care and public school, universal health care for children, opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, more programs to help hopelessly inadequate parents, and more safeguards for kids who are exposed to such parents.
We should keep in mind that, as human beings, we have always fought for a right of freedom since the beginning, and should not let “trying to fix a problem” bring in another problem. Parenting licenses take away liberty from humans. We should not go to the extreme extent to which the right to make our own choices would be taken away from us. “Parenting licenses” might be the first step for the government to take away our choices and liberty completely. Once we let the government control who is “allowed” to procreate they might as well take away our freedom completely.
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