Should You Be Required to Have a License to Become a Parent?
Children are suffering from an overwhelming but hidden epidemic of child bullying, physical and emotional abuse. These emotional bullies are publicly invisible. They are the adults who inhabit the private, invisible world of the child… where the child should rightfully feel most safe, protected, and loved… in its home. These are primarily those closest to the child… its parents.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau (2011), Child Maltreatment 2010, every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. This involves nearly 6 million children. Even though a report of abuse is made every ten seconds, not all abuse is even known or reported. The number of reports is deceptive because a single report of abuse can represent multiple children.
Abusing parents and their actions against their child can remain in the shadows because the child’s emotional abuse can keep it there. The United States has the honor of having the worst record of physical abuse and emotional bullying among the industrialized nations. Statistics show that this country loses five children under the age of four every day due to abuse-related deaths. Shouldn’t we do something about this to stop it?
One factor common to any kind of abuse is psychological abuse or bullying. This can not only occur on its own but also with physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and medical neglect. While 78.3 percent of child abuse is represented by some form of neglect, the child is still psychologically/emotionally harmed by it.
Bullying and emotionally abusing adults may blame, belittle, and criticize the child. They may be indifferent to the child’s problems, showing no empathy. They may withhold affection, basic care, and essentials like food, hygiene, or medical care. Many may totally reject the child as if it did not exist, causing the child to tend to wither away.
The consequences of this problem can be serious and long-term, leaving deep emotional scars for those who survive. Both children and adults may experience an inability to trust and form happy relationships. They may experience social anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, and rage. They may lack assertiveness, self-esteem, self-confidence, and interpersonal skills, feeling “unacceptable.. They may lack empathy.
Furthermore, they may use and abuse alcohol, recreational and prescription drugs. They make take on risky behaviors, becoming pregnant in their teens or getting sexually-transmitted diseases, including AIDS. They may repeat their abuse experiences on their own children and partners. They may not even know why this is. Shouldn’t we do something about this before it can affect their children?
What this epidemic of child abuse suggests is that many adults who bear children are not fit to be parents. Rather than let their children die or be scarred for life, if we really care, perhaps we should we address this problem head on. We need to ask: Could we reduce this overwhelming incidence of death and emotional and physical child abuse by requiring all adults to pass a parental-fitness test first?
Since the physical and emotional histories of bullying, emotional and physical abusers often demonstrate that those individuals have suffered related abuse themselves, a psychological test could help pinpoint those with relevant histories. It could also reveal those who suffer from rage, anxieties, depression, personality and impulse disorders, psychoses, and serious addictions.
The ultimate question we need to ask ourselves is: When is the rate of death and abuse of our children high enough to be worth the state’s invasion of our privacy to determine who should be parents? Should adults be required to pass a parental-fitness/emotional health test in order to be licensed to have children?