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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do Parents Need a License?

I was recalling a past experience when I worked for a couple with two children (aged 3 months/5 yrs). It seems this professional couple was not equipped, mentally or physically to care for their children. They employed a live in nanny and also needed an extra pair of hands in the evenings to provide the care necessary.

Customers of the auto dealership I was working at the time, they took a liking to me. The Mrs. practically begged me to help her out with the kids in the evenings. Thinking what the heck, I agreed. I guess I felt bad that this couple, although professional career oriented people did not have the life skills or the parental instinct to care for their children.

Either they were never home or just did not know how to do things. Simple things… like get dinner ready, go food shopping, dress the kids, bath the kids, help with their homework and wash clothes. I never saw them discipline or teach the kids any life lessons. It was not because they didn’t have the time. They purposely had other people in their home, so they didn’t have to be. There were no hugs, no I love you’s,no touching. No quality. It was all rather cold.

The nanny and I became close friends. Actually she was like the sister I never had. We worked together for several years. The environment I observed was not one I considered healthy for the kids, but I didn’t want to quit this ‘job’ for the children’s sake. We were providing the nurturing they needed. Eventually I did leave because it started to interfere with my life. The kids are now 14 and 8. We are all still in contact, but unfortunately the atmosphere they are still living in has not improved. This is now reflected in their behaviors.

I always pondered why some women just don’t have that motherly instinct. Or a father doesn't know how to be a Dad. How some people just don’t have life skills ?

Is this something we are taught or something we are just born with?

Now, don't get me wrong. I am totally for parents making the decision to work outside the home and having day care. If you can afford a nanny for your children...go for it. I was a single mother, so I know.

But, it does amaze me when I see people with children who clearly do not want them or do not have the life skills to care for them, nor process any parental instinct. Did they just live the life they thought they should? Their goal being to get married and have kids. It seems to me that the children are the ones who suffer.

It seems we all need a license for something. To drive, to operate a business, to get married, to perform services such as manicures, a hairdresser, electrician, plumber etc…

The most important and hardest job we can have is to be a parent. Maybe we should all be required to obtain a license before having children…


Magdalen Islands said...

very interesting concept! And what would you do for all the 'accidental' pregnancies? Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing your post. In fact it is the best post I've read in a very long time. It is definitely thought provoking and that is what writing is all about.

Anonymous said...

I have definitely thought about this.. my thoughts are brought on from an interest in breeding dogs.. to be a dog breeder these days, you must show dogs (I don't), and have these extensive breeding plans (I don't) otherwise you are a "backyard breeder" or worse..

Why do some care so much about the breeding of dogs (really, I understand *why*) when that isn't applied to the people in our country? I mean, it's not like we don't have children in orphanages, being mistreated, etc.

I wonder when a selective breeding program will come into effect for humans. I see it as futuristic, but real, too.

Cooper said...

I grew up with countless caretakers in the home as we moved a lot and my parents both traveled for work. They did however seem to have the hang of caring for their children, but I think that comes from the environment they grew up in and the fact we were planned and they knew what they wanted for us and loved us.

When we come to licensing for something like this I think a line is beiNg crossed. I also think that people in this country pay way to much attention to their children, often living vicariously through them.

On the other hand lack of love or ambivalence could present problems in the future, I don't know this is one of those ethical, moral and civil liberty questions to which there is no good answer.

I have seen some very well off kids who do seem to be breed more than anything, breed and sent to expensive privates schools. These kids often turn into very sad adults, but at some point they do move on from it all.

AC Associates said...

Hi Magdalen Islands..thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I wouldn't take any criticizing personally...so don't worry. Thanks for you kinds words also.
Ok, about the post...the accidental pregnancies... which there are far too many, but I think these girls, women would need to complete a parenting class or something that will equip them for what is the most important and tough job they will face. A life skills class.

I realize this post can branch out to many subjects. For example: I have a hard time understanding the Women on financial aid giving birth over and over to collect more and more. I think that's a pure crisis. Yet, our country just continues to give. Tie their tubes or cut off the money...

Hello Madasie (momma muse)
Thanks so much for sharing. I totally understand where you're coming from. As I said, this post can branch out to many subjects. I happen to think this country is backwards, with so much needing to be changed.
I am a total animal person and worked with animals for about 4 years. Much effort is placed on protecting those who cannot speak for themselves (including children), but when it comes to parents just having kids for the sake of having them, it ticks me off.

Hi Cooper,
Please understand I am all for using child care, but for the people that use child care as an 'out' from raising their own or providing the love, the lessons etc...I have a problem with that.
At least you knew your parents loved you and wanted you...those kids I mentioned in the post are probably feeling something different.
I guess in my sarcastic nature, I posed a question that may be one that leaves us with only opinions.

I do hope all the kids affected by this sort of 'abuse' can get over it and doesn't leave deep permanent scars. Some aren't that lucky...

Hollymb said...

I have thought a little about this, at least people should be required to take classes with their first child.

Many people don't know how to raise kids, they have never had to deal with it. If classes were giving it might help, at the same time the parents may not care enough to learn.

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