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Author Topic: Should there be a parenting license.  (Read 2647 times)

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Offline TamhansenTopic starter

Should there be a parenting license.
« on: February 05, 2012, 09:30:30 AM »
I know that this question is purely hypothetical, as it would be impossible to enforce this concept. But do you think society as a whole would benefit from having a licensing system before people are allowed to have children. I mean if you want to adopt, most countries have a very strict list of demands you need to meet, before you are even considered. (Income, housing, stable social life, no criminal record) But every idiot who can find an idiot of the opposite sex, can have children. And as evidenced by many, many stories on the news, and the many more that don't get media attention, it would seem that quite a lot of people simply are unfit as parents.

Offline Lilias

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 09:39:52 AM »
I've always thought that the requirements for adoption are absurdly strict. If unwanted children in institutions are that much of an issue, then child services should make it easier for them to be placed than harder. No biological family is ever free from difficulties or tensions, monetary or otherwise, so why should an adoptive one be so?

On the other hand, I do believe that parents-to-be should get some kind of parenting education throughout the pregnancy, not just a couple of antenatal classes in order to cope with a newborn. Even perfectly good and capable people are first-time parents once, and there's a lot of pointers and resources that they could get from such orientation, about living as a family, rather than having to figure them out by themselves along the way.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 11:07:25 AM »
I think it is one of those ideas that looks good on paper but would be horrible in practice. Who gets a license? Single moms, gays? At what income level? There are some dirt poor families that have turned out good kids. There are some rich families that, er, well. Two words: Paris Hilton.

The idea of screening for the compassion, patience, and humor (yes, humor) that you need for parenting is something that strikes me as so impossible le that I can't think of even a hypothetical way to do it.

Offline TamhansenTopic starter

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 11:33:42 AM »
Very true. But i meant more in a way adoptive parents are screened. background checks, income, housing situations. And indeed perhaps a psychological screening.

Indeed screening the qualities a parent needs is difficult, but the ones put here, are quite measurable

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 11:54:28 AM »
I know poor families that produced AWESOME kids. My Brothers' in-laws weren't well off (either of them) but both families raised a lot of children with a lot of smarts, wits and they all turned out successful. Income-wise, at least at one point or another, they would have been cited as 'unsuitable'.

It is a HARD criteria to build, and evaluate. I couldn't see how you could come up with a way to do it short of magic/psychic powers.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2012, 12:05:41 PM »
There really is no way to set a standard as each child is an individual as are the parental figures in their lives.

The best we can do as a community is to keep an eye on things and when we see clear and incontrovertible cases of abuse report them.

It does take a village or extended family in some cases to raise a child.

Offline Shjade

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 01:54:17 PM »
The negative consequences would outweigh any benefits of such a system. Not only would there be issues on the bureaucratic side (because when aren't there problems in bureaucracy?) in developing reasonable qualifications for parents and in possibilities for exploitation of the subsequent laws politically, financially, etc., there would also be problems in terms of consequences for transgression.

What happens to those teenage kids that had unsafe sex and ended up with a pregnancy? What happens to their kid? Is the mother forced to get an abortion in an inversion of the Pro-Life mindset, or is it just automatically taken into the government's care, likely shuffled into a foster home? How is flooding the already inadequate foster system an improvement over unlicensed parenting?

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but I can't see it being anything good.

Offline Caelic

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012, 02:26:01 PM »
Absolutely not. 

First and foremost, from a practical standpoint it is wholly unenforceable.  In the United States at least, we've bogged down our court systems with quite a few unenforceable things (drug laws come to mind, but also driving restrictions on people who absolutely have to work, and have no other way to get there..)  and adding another is just another hardship on society that would accomplish.. what? 

Secondly, we don't actually know what it takes to be a good parent.  I'm sure you've seen all the books on the subject, and we've reams of psychological data.  But we couldn't actually give anyone a guide that says "Do this, and it will work."  Kids seem to come out alright in spite of parents, and turn bad despite best efforts. 

Third, having children is a natural part of being alive - I'd argue strongly for the point of it being an inherent right, and that taking it away is abhorrent.  Though I could see the argument in cases where a serious genetic defect would be passed down..

Offline Trieste

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Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2012, 02:44:16 PM »
Third, having children is a natural part of being alive - I'd argue strongly for the point of it being an inherent right, and that taking it away is abhorrent.  Though I could see the argument in cases where a serious genetic defect would be passed down..

I would say I disagree with this. I would hesitate to give anyone power to say definitively who can have children, but not everyone should have children. It is not an inalienable right, and is in fact inadvisable given that we have a population that we can feed (if we would stop incinerating perfectly good crops to keep prices high) but which we may not be able to provide clean water and housing to in the forseeable future. Even if you want to insist that it's someone's right to pass their genes along - which is arguable - there is still an argument that past the first child, every additional one is excessive and environmentally decadent.

I personally don't feel that people who can't take care of their kids should have them, and I think that extremists of any kind should be sterilized. ::) I would never legislate that, however. Not in a million years.

Offline Envious

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2012, 02:50:09 PM »
I don't want to raise my children based on someone elses perceived "good parenting know-how," so no, I don't believe there should be a parenting license.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2012, 03:48:16 PM »
Because controlling people's pregnancies worked so well in ZPG and modern China.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2012, 03:52:35 PM »
Because controlling people's pregnancies worked so well in ZPG and modern China.

Yeah.. they did such a good job in China that within 2 decades there will be a gender disparity of 5 to 1 in some regions. Yeah..the next 20 years will be REAL fun in China.

Offline vtboy

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2012, 04:23:36 PM »
I think requiring all prospective parents to get a license is an excellent idea. If only my parents had been denied one. They had no business molding an impressionable, young mind.

I don't think formulation of standards for issuance of the license would be so terribly difficult. Just leave that part to me. I could provide a comprehensive list of prerequisites on a single piece of paper in five minutes.

Rather, I think the sticker problem is choosing penalties for those who break the law by conceiving without a license. Obviously, some form of sanction would be indispensable, otherwise the licensing requirement would be unenforceable. But, what should that sanction be? Compulsory abortion, either prenatal or postnatal? Removal of the child from its parents at birth? Castration, either chemical or physical? Prison? Hard labor? This last strikes me as somehow most appropriate, though it does seem somewhat unfair to choose a penalty which could only be imposed on mom and not on dad. 

Perhaps we should just sterilize everyone at birth and turn the whole human reproduction thing over to the state a la "Brave New World."

I breathlessly look forward to my next soma-holiday.

Offline Shjade

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 04:59:02 PM »
Hard labor? This last strikes me as somehow most appropriate, though it does seem somewhat unfair to choose a penalty which could only be imposed on mom and not on dad.
I laughed.

Then I felt bad about it.

Oh, puns, why must you be so guilty. :|

Offline Caeli

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 05:31:41 PM »
Yeah.. they did such a good job in China that within 2 decades there will be a gender disparity of 5 to 1 in some regions. Yeah..the next 20 years will be REAL fun in China.

At least part of the magnitude of the gender disparity can be attributed to traditional cultural beliefs about sons and their first wife being the only legitimate members of the family who can carry on and hold rites and rituals that ensure the well-being of their parents and ancestors into the afterlife.

I would not necessarily say that laws controlling pregnancy/parenting would be a good thing, but I don't believe that such a law would result in similar consequences in Western cultures that do not have that powerful cultural attitude regarding the children's gender.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2012, 05:33:55 PM »
Gender disparity aside, there's been some rumblings that people have been able to buy their way around the regulations.

Offline Caeli

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2012, 05:39:08 PM »
I'm sure that there are. I haven't done extensive research into the subject, as it wasn't my time period of area of interest, but I'm sure that it happens, and that there are other ways to get around it.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2012, 05:47:06 PM »
Gender disparity aside, there's been some rumblings that people have been able to buy their way around the regulations.

The way that China's regulations were explained to me was that it's not a punitive system but an incentive system. If you only have one child, they subsidize the hell out of it. If you have two+ children, that money goes away. So the wealthy would be able to afford more children by dint of that.

This is my rudimentary understanding, though, so please take with salt. :P

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2012, 06:28:34 PM »
Gender disparity aside, there's been some rumblings that people have been able to buy their way around the regulations.

Have been that way for a LONG time. Party members of a certain rank or men of 'influence' were able to get around it.

Offline Caela

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2012, 06:57:26 PM »
While the idea of a parenting license sounds interesting in theory, unless you were willing to back it up by forcing the entire population onto some reliable form of birth control, there'd be no way to enforce it.

Offline Serephino

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2012, 08:35:23 PM »
There are definitely people who shouldn't be parents; my neighbor being one of them.  It scares me even more that she's trying to get pregnant again, either to trap the man, or get more in welfare.  We're not really sure.  We just know that right now she's on a government program for single mothers where the state pays all her bills.  At least once a week she screams at those poor kids to pack their shit and get out of her house because she doesn't want them, but she won't let their father have them.  She should be sterilized...

Of course, that's going on how she treats the kids she already has.  I mean, my god, who has their kids walk in on them during sex and wants to keep going and just let them watch?  I need mind bleach and serious wall sound proofing. 

Offline CmdrRenegade

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2012, 03:13:45 PM »
Interestingly, that's what marriage originally was: a license to have children.  This is the primary reason for the whole 'marriage is between a woman and a man' thing.  The whole thing about 'two people loving each other' was a relatively recent development in human history around the time of the Renaissance.  Christianity simply embraced it because it still meant people would get busy having babies.  The opposite side of this was that an out of wedlock birth usually meant the shaming and shunning of both the mother and child, including disallowing the child to be baptized (a really big deal back then), as its birth wasn't blessed by God.  If the father wanted to be a cad, he absolutely could and did not have to support his mistress and resulting children. 

Any kind of regulation (that doesn't involve invasive and morally problematic medicine) is probably going to look like the above.  I don't like the current welfare system, but the old way seems even worse. 

Offline adeleturner

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2012, 08:07:03 PM »
Yeah, sorry, but that sort of licensing would be getting into "justifiable violent overthrow of the government" territory.  How can someone question the individual right of parenthood and yet not question the "right" of the government to restrict parenthood?  Plus, we are getting into serious pre-crime territory here.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2012, 07:14:34 PM »
Control over sex and reproduction seems to me to be not a requirement for, but an unmistakeable sign of a totalitarian regime. Telling someone what drugs they can and cannot put in their own bodies seems bad enough to me; telling people what they can do with their bodies, with those they love, is several orders of magnitude worse. I think the notion could be dismissed on those grounds alone. Even if that were the only problem, that would still, in my eyes, be enough.

But, of course, that's far from the only problem. There's also problems like how you'd enforce it, who would be allowed and who wouldn't, how to sustain a population in the long term when many countries already have fertility rates lower than what's needed.

Besides, it's all based on the notion that certain upbringings will produce "bad" people, and others produce "good". I have no doubt that a child raised by a poor, uneducated single parent in a dangerous neighborhood will be more likely to end up being in some way "undersireable" to society, and vice versa, but there are no guarantees either way. You're not dealing with natural science where you can generalize and create tidy, organized theories.

And we've managed fine so far, with no indication that things are getting any worse. While it's of course possibly to point to specific examples, that can't be the basis for laws of that magnitude.

Offline Caelic

Re: Should there be a parenting license.
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2012, 03:51:26 AM »
I would say I disagree with this. I would hesitate to give anyone power to say definitively who can have children, but not everyone should have children. It is not an inalienable right, and is in fact inadvisable given that we have a population that we can feed (if we would stop incinerating perfectly good crops to keep prices high) but which we may not be able to provide clean water and housing to in the forseeable future. Even if you want to insist that it's someone's right to pass their genes along - which is arguable - there is still an argument that past the first child, every additional one is excessive and environmentally decadent.

I personally don't feel that people who can't take care of their kids should have them, and I think that extremists of any kind should be sterilized. ::) I would never legislate that, however. Not in a million years.

I say it is an inalienable right, even more so than anything else we consider.  First, it would take massive government effort to acheive this, and *everyone* would fight it tooth and nail, as everyone feels they have a right to a child, or at least as much right as anyone else.  It is both an actual, intended biological function of the body, something your body is meant to do without medical interference, and in the best cases it is a literal, physical representation of the love between two people.  Its even worse if you take the religious view - you really, really are supposed to be able to have kids, according to quite a few religions. 

The fact that everyone would fight it says to me that on some very deep level, we think it is part of being human - which, it is, of course.  One of the qualities a living organism has to have to be clearly considered "Alive" is the capability to reproduce. 

It might be *pragmatic* for us to keep undesirables from having children, for a variety of reasons, and I can't argue that point.  However, we certainly couldn't keep people from having kids and then tell them they had no *right* to have kids - they couldn't possibly have a right to anything more strongly than that.  It is certainly a stronger right than the right of ownership of property we have enshrined in law, or the right to be "Secure against unreasonable searches" or to "Bear arms".. or even a right of "Freedom of the press"

I won't go into the lengthy treatise on our environment vs. population issues not being as bad as the popular perception suggests in this thread, but suffice to say the U.S. is getting fatter and fatter, Japan and canada are following, as well as europe.. the US exports food.. etc.  We develop new things to improve food production all the time.  I'm certain one day overpopulation will be a serious problem, but we aren't near it.