General Question

Myndecho's avatar

Should people have to pass a test before having children?

Asked by Myndecho (948points) March 31st, 2009

Similar to passing a driving test to be able to drive, but passing a test to see if your fit enough to look after children.

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45 Answers

zephyr826's avatar

Though I often feel this way, it’s not really ethical. I mean, what if they have test anxiety?

Mr_M's avatar

I don’t think the stork can always get the grades in time.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

don’t think so. there’s plenty of examples of people that you personaly might not want looking after your children, but in reality are very good parents. There’s never any way for sure to tell how someone will parent their child, up until you hold your baby for the first time, you won’t know.

gambitking's avatar

Unfortunately, that is largely impossible. Too many pregnancies are unplanned, its too unpredictable. Whether anyone wanted to require a test or not, it wouldn’t matter. What would we do with those who failed and still got pregnant?

There are parts of the world where the population continues to grow (not to mention HIV rates) and they have no idea where babies come from.

So the true test is after the baby is born, and hopefully there aren’t many people that flunk out at that point.

Life’s the only school where you take the test before you learn the lesson, and child rearing is no exception.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No. Who would decide what you would test against? It would all start to resemble fascist eugenics programs.

westy81585's avatar

It’s really pushing ethical limits, but it’s not a terrible idea. LOTS of people have kids that shouldn’t cuz they’re god-awful parents or they can’t support any/anymore children. But brings up the huge ethical issue of how do you tell someone they don’t have the right to have a kid? And then what standards do you set that would allow someone to have a child? How do you say that anyone has a right to choose those standards?

PLUS, even if you were going to try and do it, there’s really no way to prevent people from getting pregnant. Forced “temporary sterilizations” would be a huge problem i think….

mattbrowne's avatar

Sounds like a very good idea, but difficult to implement. I would create an incentive system. Couples who pass the test get great prenatal care for example. Or free diapers for the first 2 years. But society would have to sponsor this. Still, the ROI would be huge. Bad parenting is terribly expensive in the long run.

casheroo's avatar

No, anyone who agrees with that is disgusting and disturbing.

allen_o's avatar

Most paents wouldn’t pass it, especially where I live (NW England)

Darwin's avatar

Actually, we did have to pass a test (actually multiple tests) before we had children because we adopted. Although we adopted infants, the only thing not covered in the various classes and inspections and interviews was infant care. We had to sign up for a Lamaze class to get that (but were excused from bringing a pillow).

While I know most folks would feel such a process would be highly invasive, I found it to be quite helpful. Perhaps we might consider offering discounts to parents-to-be who participate in a pre-natal group or class as a way to make the information available without being over-controlling.

cwilbur's avatar

Ignoring for a moment whether it’s a good idea or not, how do you plan to enforce it? Forced chastity? Forced sterilization? Forced abortion? Forced adoptions?

When you have an answer to that, then we can go back to the original question.

squirbel's avatar

The only way this could even be accomplished is if you did these things:

- Forced tube tying at birth
– Expanded the government program to care for unplanned or seized children
– Implemented a program to seize “illegal” children
– Pass the test, have your tubes untied.

And then you would have to settle these ethical issues:
– To be smart, or not to be smart?
– To be this race, or that race? [people of certain races could be denied altogether, regardless of results.]
– Who can tell parents that they can’t reproduce?
– Smart people have been born of idiots.
– What would the exam test?
– Why be so draconian?

dynamicduo's avatar

Great idea, impossible to implement.

It’s one of the largest ironies in today’s society that someone can breed with no cares whatsoever or intent to raise the child, but one has to prove their worth to get a license to drive a car. To me, the possible impact of the first activity is way larger than the possible impact of the second. Then again, I’ve long since gotten over the hypocrisy of government.

cookieman's avatar

I agree that it would be impossible to implement, however, when we adopted our daughter, the adoption agency:
• Ran a criminal background check on my wife and I.
• Inspected our house.
• Interviewed three close relatives/friends.
• Reviewed our financial records.
• Extensively interviewed my wife and I together and seperately over the course of three months.

Seems a tad lopsided.

Darwin's avatar

@cprevite – You mean they didn’t come back monthly for six months to re-inspect and interview you? You guys got away easy!

aisyna's avatar

I think CPS works just fine, if you are unfit to be a parent then they remove the child from your care. it would be completly unethical for the Gov to tell you that you are not allowed to breed. (unless you live in China)

Myndecho's avatar

I don’t agree with this but for punishments, if they found out before it was born, abortion,
after birth, no help from the government to raise it and maybe a criminal record.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I think so, as unlikely as it is to happen. Prospective parents should be able to financially support their children’s health and nutrition needs if nothing else. I’d like to see all prospective parents know CPR, basic nutrition and hygiene practices. This is the 21st century and the world is ailing in many ways, the least we can do is control our own populations. Gone should be the mentality that god provides for whatever children may come and by what means they come; wake up people, your brothers and sisters are the one’s who end up bearing the burdens you don’t.

cookieman's avatar

@Darwin: Oh no, we had that too.

three month, six month, nine month, and twelve month post adoption reviews

Kraken's avatar

How about a basic competency test & a DNA test to make sure they won’t be producing a lot of genetically inferior babies. However, I don’t think modern society would deem this constitutional & would consider it a violation of their human rights.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If we did this, we’d have to establish an governmental organization whose sole purpose is to determine who can and cannot legally have children.

Do we really want this in our society?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Some children are born of assaults. Are such mothers to be tested?

I wish CPS had vetted my aunt more thoroughly, but when I was a child, the goal was just to get a relative to take a kid in trouble. Now agencies scrutinize situations a little bit better.

Myndecho's avatar

I disagree with this but feel it could make a good debate, I have found intriguing a talk I’ve had with a friend about how many children you should be able to have, no one needs more than two is what was brought up in the talk.
The one thing I feel really uneasy about is people in Britain who have children they can’t afford have the government has to pay for them.

VS's avatar

I’m thinking at least scoring double digits on any standardized IQ test would suffice.

Myndecho's avatar

I should really pay attention before I reply :P

VS's avatar

@Myndecho I didn’t say TRIPLE digits!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@Myndecho I have 2 perspectives here.
1. There are some terrible parents out there that probably shouldn’t have kids
2. Do we want the government to tell us whether or not we can reproduce? This is a major violation of civil rights. However the planet is very over populated.

There’s no easy answer to the phenomena of over population and bad parenting but I don’t think that government regulation of reproductive rights is the way to go. I think that would be taking a step backward.

VzzBzz's avatar

@Myndecho: there are people in America having children they can’t afford to have in the first place and the government (other Americans) pay for it. American Public Assistance is for people who find themselves in crisis, it’s supposed to be temporary not taken advantage of and looked on as a “right”.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I didn’t read the responses yet so I apologize if I am repeating something that’s been said over and over. But my two cents is that although it sounds like a good idea on the surface it isn’t ethical. It would be another way of controlling people. And we all should have the right to make our own reproductive choices.

YARNLADY's avatar

@casheroo inaccurate blanket statement
I think there should be parenting classes and people who take them would be rewarded with massive tax deductions or similar financial incentives. It is impractical to have pre-conception requirements.

casheroo's avatar

@Yarnlady how is it inaccurate? after reading the details, i’d say yes to a test for childcare providers..but not parents. you could not possibly test everyone, and doing so would be wrong. what happens if you fail? you get your tubes tied?

YARNLADY's avatar

@casheroo It is neither disgusting nor disturbing to agree that parents should be tested before being allowed to have babies. It is very impractical, but would be a good idea to try to weed out unfit parents.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

You would have to have new laws for test evasion.

tinyfaery's avatar

Having worked w/ those in foster care and in residential treatment facilities, most of whom who were the victims of horrible parenting, I agree that there should be some sort of examination. Along with that test, I’d like to see classes implemented so that all people who desire to be parents are truly prepared and capable.

YARNLADY's avatar

@tinyfaery As an emergency foster care provider, I also witnessed the worst parenting has to offer

Zen's avatar

Whenever one sees an idiot parenting, and I don’t think I have to go into detail here, we always think of this question. But I have another, more difficult question: What would be the criteria? What would some of the questions be? How much money is “enough to have children?” How can one explain love and assign levels of it?

This question is funny, and thought-provoking, and used all the time. But the fact remains that it is impossible to apply. :-)

dearest_prudence's avatar

@Zen I think I agree w/you on this one, after thinking about this a bit more
I look back at my own process of becoming a parent and who I was before my children were concieved
I would have failed the “test” I mean a big fat F
I went out every weekend, had a job that was just enough to make it through the next paycheck (cuz all my money went to close and making sure I had cab fare home)
and getting involved in situations that were iffy, not good thinking I would have ever passed any kind of parenting test.

Zen's avatar

@dearest_prudence I’m sure you are super now, dear. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

Offer free parenting classes to mothers with newborns. Go to their homes, if they want, to provide the training. If they get interested, maybe they will come to a class with other mothers and fathers.

Or…. teach it in high school. Or jr high—to get to kids before they drop out.

Zaxwar91's avatar

Yes. Maybe you should ask all of those kids out there who live in slums and orphanages. You might get the answer your looking for.

Myndecho's avatar

I would guess many wouldn’t want other people to be like them.

richardhenry's avatar

[mod says:] @Gfly Avoid giving one word answers. Try to expand on your thoughts and offer reasoning. Read our community guidelines for more information, and send me a private comment if you need help. Thanks.

theodiskaz's avatar

I think it is a splendid idea. I believe contraceptive implants should be mandated for all citizens once they reach a certain age, to be removed to permit breeding only upon passing a comprehensive testing of ability to parent, emotional, mental, financial, etc. Additionally, many who would be otherwise allowed to procreate would probably not get the chance until the world population of people is sustainable. It would take a lot of effort and planning, and some would see it as an infringement of rights, but the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, IMHO.

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