License to Parent?

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Ryan Lehane

21 March 2008
License to Parent?
The implementation of a parenting license procedure will be of great benefit to civilization in the development of our world. Decisions to restrict certain vocations, to forbid privileges such as driving, require successful passing of a licensing examination. Today, we seem to have created forms of permits and licenses for everything that we have deemed “valuable” with the exception of the most valuable possession anyone could ever obtain, a human life. Proficiency must be demonstrated to perform activities properly, and procedures are in place for assessment. Licensing is a valuable assessment tool; and a valuable way to protect children. The implementation of a parenting license procedure will be of great benefit to civilization in the development of our world. In American society today, anyone who has reproductive success is a parent, and often little attention is paid forward to the proper care and responsibility needed to parent a child and what the long term consequences are. Though the thought of another form of bureaucracy seems somewhat daunting, one must consider the long term rewards of the investment such as a parenting license, for the protection of children and the value to society. A person can never pick who they want their parents to be, so why should they have to suffer the consequences of indiscriminate intercourse by individuals who may not even want to spend an entire evening together, never mind a lifetime? Due to biological development, our bodies often mature faster than our minds. Hence, our society is faced with what is casually referred to as “unwanted pregnancies”. How awful to think that an innocent child who enters this world through the choices of “parents”, are not wanted and viewed as a burden. However, by implementing a parenting license procedure we could do our best to make sure that no child is left unwanted, neglected or abused. President Theodore Roosevelt noted in 1909, well-parented children become productive citizens, whereas neglected children become criminals and societal burdens. (Westman) What if legislation had been in place to address this obvious issue? Children would more likely grow up in loving environment that would eventually grow to be productive members of society. David Lykken, a former University of Minnesota professor argued “If we can control which couples become parents, then we can protect children from being brought into a dysfunctional life, and protect society form having to take care of them. Apparently, children do not have a right to be born, but, once conceived, only a right not to be born poor, unwanted, or disadvantaged” (Habinger) According to the Administration for Children and Families, statistics on child abuse in 2004 were “down” from 2003, but hardly worth celebrating considering that “11.9 out of every 1,000 children were the victims of abuse or neglect compared with the last year’s victimization rate of 12.4 per 1,000 children.” (ACF-HHS) Data also shows that nearly one third of all child fatalities are due to neglect. If legislation were put in place, including education and competency testing, the downturn in statistics could be more encouraging for our future society. For those people with fertility problems, who choose to adopt a child, the screening process is rigorous. Interviews with references and home inspections, going to private attorneys – adoptive parents and potential foster parents are required to demonstrate in advance that they can and will care for a child if deemed worthy. Author Dr. Jack Westman, a professor of psychiatry at University of Wisconsin, Madison advances a perspective which incorporates a new reasoning process to advance a potential positive outcome for future generations – “But true parenthood is defined by the earned relationship between the parent and child over time. It is not permanently endowed by the events of conceiving or giving...
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