Just like “driving”… Parenthood should be licensed!

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Welat Khalil – Yalla

Why does a commercial pilot need a license to fly an airplane? Why don’t we just pick a random person to fly us to Europe? Why does a brain surgeon need a license to operate? Or a lawyer to provide law services to the community? The answers are so clear that none of us would even bother to respond to such questions. But when it comes to educating prospective parents for parenthood, many of us may throw objections claiming that people raise their children just perfectly without any prior education. But is it really the case? There is no doubt that they can raise kids but the actual question is whether it is the best way it could be done. An ongoing debate suggests that in order to become parents a couple should have a license.

We often end up wondering what we could have done differently in order to have led our children to greater successes. We all know that specific family in our neighborhood or among our relatives whose children are among the top students of their classes. They grow up to be successful engineers, politicians, doctors, businessmen, etc. while those coming from another family pose significant risks of harm (in the extreme sense) towards the rest of the society. The reason for such a huge difference lies behind the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) according to Daniel Goleman, psychologist and best-selling author of the book Emotional Intelligence. In his book, Goleman revolutionizes the concept of IQ and claims that the main reason behind the success of individuals is mostly related to EQ rather than IQ. EQ is generally defined as the ability to: recognize, understand and manage our own emotions. And the good news is that for its improvement sky is the limit.

Taking into consideration that unlike IQ, Emotional Intelligence can actually be improved, an important question rises; where does EQ take its initial shape? The answer is family and more importantly with parents. A child’s psychology, thoughts, behavior, and views are all shaped to a large extent inside the family framework. Parents can inject self-confidence as well as tendency to commit suicide in a child’s emotional world. So, what can be done to get the best out of our children? In his famous article Licensing Parents, Hugh Lafollette suggested for the first time that one method is to provide parenting licenses to the prospective parents. Since then, many arguments have raised both supporting and opposing the idea.

Children are the future leaders of the world we live in. Therefore, there is no doubt that they should be treated with the up-most care. And it is only possible if the parents are aware of the importance of their own influence on their children. But do prospective parents need a license to know that? Some suggest that parenting cannot be taught but is a process that needs to be experienced to learn from; you won’t learn how to be a parent until you are one. On the other hand, the number of people supporting the suggestion is not fewer. They argue that, the licensing process would make sure if people are qualified to raise kids that would benefit the society overall. They suggest that courses should be given on all the important parenting difficulties such as social expectations, legal limitations, disabilities, divorce etc. in order to teach parents the optimal ways of raising children.

As important as the idea of Licensing Parents sounds to be, implication of such a project into real life may not be a very easy task. Instead, a midway could be looked for to begin with. Optional parenting courses with no mention of licensing could be offered by the states. The results could be presented to the public as the step to follow. One thing is for sure; we need to do better in educating our future leaders. After all, 21st century has begun with huge conflicts all over the world and it can be considered as a wake-up call for the society that is clearly going in the wrong direction. We are in need of a better next generation to fix our mistakes. For sure, none of us would like to be in a falling plane.

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