[This is a part 1 of what is going to be an ongoing series called: If I ruled the world. I write this in hopes that I will inspire you, to join me, in helping me, rule the world. Thanks. ;) ]
In this country, it seems like you need a license to do virtually anything. Plumbers, Barbers, Nail technicians, Drivers, Doctors, Teachers, and many other professions need licenses to do what they do. In a civilized society (whatever that is) one of the most important purposes for licensing is to protect the public from unskilled, untrained and perhaps unethical individuals who can harm or kill people through their incompetence. Ironically, of all of these jobs, the hardest job you’ll probably ever get doesn’t require a license or an education, and you can even get this job completely by accident: Parenting.
Licenses are largely about public safety, so If I ruled the world, anyone who has a child would have to get a license in order to raise that child. Yes, a parenting license. I mean, is parenting not a public safety issue? Don't bad parents pose a threat to the well being of their children? Isn't a poorly raised child more likely to pose a threat to our well-being? I think we are mostly in denial about how widespread bad parenting is, which is part of a larger denial of how much harm is done to kids in this society.
I think a license to parent is in order. The hospital won’t let you take your baby home without a car seat, but if you think cheese doodles, 2nd hand smoke and the sight of periodic violence are a healthy child environment, then you hurry up and take that baby home; just make sure he's buckled in!! If I ruled the world: No license, no takey home baby from hospital, umkay? The ability to ejaculate or the possession of a pair of functioning ovaries, does not give you the right to ruin the life of a human baby, and ruin the lives of us all once your poorly raised child becomes a menace II society. Bad parenting is a form of child abuse.
Just to be clear, I want to say that this idea is as much about the ghetto mother yelling at her 4 year old son like he’s a grown man, as it is also about the middle class parent who tries to be a friend instead of a parent. This is also about the rich parent who provides all of the material things but never learned the value of a hug, or learned that time spent with your child can actually help you and the child become better people. And fathers need to know about the affects of their absence before it happens, so that they can make an informed decision when they are considering leaving a child's life. These are just a handful of the scenarios I'd try address through the Parent Licensing Bureau
The Licensing process
Once you arrive at the Parent Licensing Bureau (PLB) you will take classes that cover:
1. What to expect as a new parent
2. What items you will need and/or find useful (give them some of these items)
3. Survey of documented approaches to parenting that work.
Number 3 is the most controversial, because we have to establish the difference between 'good' and 'bad' parenting and that could be difficult to do in a multiethnic society like the U.S.A. By 'bad' parenting I mean, things that negatively impact a child's, physical, mental and emotional well-being. By 'good' parenting I mean things that help a child become a fully developed human being with a chance to succeed (insofar as society will let her/him).
Like most any human activity, we can establish some ‘best practices’ for parenting too. Put the money and resources into dealing with how children are treated in society. Let people know, neglect, verbal abuse, poor diet, and many other things are forms of child abuse. I know there is research out there that speaks to methods of parenting that have proven effective most of the time and I know it makes sense for everyone who has a baby to be exposed to this information. They don't necessarily have to choose any of the methods offered to them, they just ought to be made aware of what traditionally has worked.
Well, as it turns out, I wasn’t the first person to think of this, Dr. Westman actually wrote a book about this, here are some notes on it, its quite interesting.
Who's with me?