Licences for having Children...good idea???

Should the government enforce a scheme which requires couples to apply for a licence to have children?
Should they have to pass a ‘fitness’ test to be allowed to bring a child into the world?

This is in response to the massive rise in (pre) teenage crime, arson, muggings and even murder. At the end of the day the responsibility must lie with the irresponsible parents.

Would such a scheme be enforcable? How?
Fines & forced abortions???

Interested to hear others thoughts on this…

(Bearing in mind you need a licence just to look after a pet dog).

Cite? What exactly is a massive rise? Maybe the media is covering teenage crime more exhaustively, but I seriously doubt there has been a “massive” rise in crime rates.

I do agree with you that responsibility must lie with the parents, but there comes a line where the kids are so “evil” (for lack of a better word) that the only resort should be institutionalizing the kid.

But back to your question. Should the government license childbirth?

No. Absolutely not. If they can’t prepare a proper budget then how are they supposed to regulate something as complicated as that?

BTW, since when do you need a dog license to own a dog?

Hmmm, it would assume that there is a very clearly defined set of criteria that you could test to see if someone will be a ‘good parent’ or not; life isn’t nearly so black/white and in practice, there will be virtually no difference between the people who just scraped through the test and those who failed by a similarly small margin.

It’s also a bit of a stretch of logic to imagine that teenage crime (or the conditions that cause it) could be reliably predicted before conception.

I think such a system would probably be abused too.
[sub]Oh, and I predict the invocation of Godwin’s before the end of the page[/sub]

I sometimes have fantasies that this is a good idea…that I should personally be allowed to determine who has children and at what age it’s appropriate for them.

However, that’s the just the FIRST part of the problem: someone has to make those decisions. Who should we entrust with them? Who would you like to put in charge of determining when YOU have children? It’s an impossible task to try to designate someone appropriate.

Then there’s the issue of basically being charged with a crime before you commit it. You can’t prevent someone from buying a car because they MIGHT get into an accident at some point. By the same token, you never know what kind of a parent someone will make until they actually have children. Granted, I sometimes think I can point at someone and proclaim them the “Poster Child for Planned Parenthood.”

But the fact is, you don’t get your driver’s license revoked UNTIL you prove yourself to be a crappy/drunken/loser of a driver. This “innocent until proven guilty” principle is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, I believe. And even though they often work poorly, we do have means of keeping poor parent from parenting…we have abuse laws, child welfare agencies, foster parents, and so on. It DOES seem sad that we have to wait until a child has been abused or neglected before taking action, but there’s really no other way to go about it.

Also consider, that it’s debatable at what age the CHILD is actually responsible for his/her own actions. There are good parents who end up with criminal sons and daughters. There are also bad parents who end up with honor roll students. There’s no way to pre-determine whether you’re punishing the former or the latter.

You bring up another issue yourself: enforceability. Forced abortions? Not in my lifetime! Fines for parenting? Seems like reduced income would only be another detriment to the child.

I DO think it’s a great idea to have parenting classes and other information widely available to parents. The problem is that even if you DO mandate some kind of parental education, lousy parents aren’t going to get anything out of it, even if they are perfect attendees.


You do in the UK. For the dog, I mean.

And the crime I was talking about is also in the UK. Perhaps it is getting more coverage, but it is certainly increasing too.
A 68 yo pensioner was beaten to death by a 14 yo just a few days ago walking home from the shops. The kid, if caught, will get to go to care, have a load of ‘outward bounds’ trips, free holidays and other fun things given to ‘punish’ teenagers and then released when 21 to carry on with their life.

Hi Aro.

I doubt you’re going to get a single answer in the affirmative here, as your OP is verging on eugenics, but… here are my thoughts:

Philosophically: no, that’s terrible.

Personally speaking: I certainly think some kind of child-rearing education would certainly benefit some families (several who live in my street, for example).

Practically: You could never pass it as a law in a democracy.

Sometimes, yes, but at other times parents’ irresponsibility may lie with circumstances beyond their control, and sometimes children are just plain psychotic.

And “Forced abortions…” welcome to the People’s Republic of China!

Yeah, but you have to take a test before you can legally drive on the road. How about introducing a baby-having test?

What LiquidLobotomy said.

Pardon the hijack, but the more interesting question is which group would be the more horrified at the idea of government mandated abortions, pro-choicers or pro-lifers?

I’d like to see a cite for this. Here in the U.S. it’s not uncommon to hear people referring to “the good ol’ days” when kids were better behaved and didn’t do such things. However, a quick check of the FBI stats shows that violent crime has gone DOWN in the last 50 years. Basically, there ARE no “good ol’ days.” I tend to suspect the same is true for the U.K. But if you’ve got a cite that indicates otherwise, I’d love to see it.

Certainly not here in the UK, in case anyone was about to say so; the dog licence (which cost 37½p) was abolished in 1987.

And who pays. Having done an adoption, a homestudy (which gives you the ability to adopt a child) is an expensive thing. A written test would be both unfair and inadequate.

Nope. Bad idea. Unenforcable. A huge violation of human rights (but I won’t call you a Nazi ;)). Even the criteria for good parent would be hard to come up with objectively. And a lot of people you think would be bad parents are actually quite good. And a lot of people you are sure will be great parents don’t have the patience for parenting and turn out to be horrible at it.

You do in the ROI. Maybe in NI you still do, too?

There have ben child-crime stats in the UK media recently that show a distinct increase, but I don’t have a cite at the mo.

Meanwhile, in other news, three days ago two policemen were killed not a quarter-mile from where I now sit, by a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old, who drove a stolen sports car into the side of the cop car at 100 mph.

Not true; see above.
Besides, there was never any test to see if you were suited to dog ownership; it was just a register of dog owners.

Yes, you still need one in NI.

Crazy Brit’s and their dog laws :smiley: :wink:

But seriously- how do you know that the crime rates are actually increasing? I don’t trust the media to tell me whether or not it’s raining outside. It’s like in the USA where all this past summer everyone was talking about shark bites and how there was a massive rise in the number of bites. Well turns out that that “rise” was pure bunk, made up by the media people to sell air time and newspapers. Marine Biologists (and such) came out and said that there was no noticible rise in the number of bites- just the rise in media coverage.

OK Aro; let’s pretend I’m planning a family and I am applying for a licence, let’s see what your suggestions for ‘fitness’ criteria are…

You guys post WAY too fast.

I’m still trying to reply to the second post!!

I’ll find you a cite in 5 mins.

BTW, I don’t think this is a good idea, I was just curious as the the response it would receive.

Send me a check for $500 and I’ll let you know…


Question 1: What is a good way for you and your children to spend Sunday:[list=a][li]Flying kites in the park.[/li][li]At the museum.[/li][li]In the pub.[/li]You in the pub, your children… somewhere else in the city. On jjimm’s shed roof, in fact.[/list]

The criteria could be similar to a couple trying to adopt a child.

The procedure there is difficult, full police check & background check carried out, credit history, personal interviews etc…

Why should a loving couple who try to adopt an unwanted child have to be vetted so harshly when any prick with a dick can impregnate the girl next door?

While I personally would love to pick and choose who gets to breed, it is a horrible idea.

This is why I’m not “Dictator of the World.”