Should parents be required to attend parenting classes before having a child?


Fact Box

  • According to a Wilder Research review from 2016, parenting classes can “decrease the use of corporal punishment and risk of child abuse.”
  • A 2015 Pew Research Study found that Millennial mothers were particularly satisfied with their parenting abilities, with 57% saying that “they are doing a very good job as parents.”
  • Researchers have isolated four different types of parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. 
  • A Mead Johnson Nutrition survey found that, on average, mothers will spend over one-thousand hours worrying about their newborn’s health in the first year. Additionally, a mom “conducts 330 Google or Internet searches about baby’s health, and makes 337 frantic calls or texts to her own mother about symptoms baby is experiencing and what they mean.”

Sheryll (Yes)

Babies, unfortunately, do not come with a handbook. And simply being biologically related to a child does not make someone suddenly qualified to be a parent. 

Though many parents do indeed have a strong desire to do the best for their children, a large percentage of adults are too ill-informed and are unintentionally setting their children up for a disastrous future. Experts have even noticed an explicit link between poverty and poor parenting. 

In order to prevent negative outcomes for our children, all adults should be legally required to attend classes outlining the basic principles of parenting before having a child--so that they can decide for themselves which approaches resonate the most for their own families. These classes should also not be restricted to first-time parents, as parenting should be recognized as a practice that evolves and advances over time. Therefore, all parents--even experienced ones--should be informed of which parenting methods work and which archaic approaches they may need to stop using. 

Requiring parents to attend parenting classes would also help mothers and fathers build confidence in their parenting. The traits of an insecure parent are usually very evident to a child. And growing up with a parent who is uncertain of their abilities may lead to more insecure children who have a more challenging time trusting others as they mature. 

All in all, the quality of a child's family experiences has a more significant influence on their achievements than innate ability or quality of education. Considering this, it is absolutely crucial that people are educated about the parenting choices available to them and are aware of the impact they have on their children.

Sharon (No)

While it's a great idea to have a standard high school curriculum include a parenting/basic infant and child development class, parents should not be compelled by the government to take parenting classes before having children. It is simply not the government's job, as outlined in our Constitution.

The government is already far too involved in people's lives. While it is unfortunate that some people can't manage themselves and their families responsibly in a free society, the answer isn't to inflict ever more burdensome and intrusive regulations on all of us. Deal with the problem people--there are already laws and programs for that--and leave the rest of us in peace to live our lives and raise our families as we see fit, as is our natural right.

Making parenting classes mandatory before having a child would be a civil rights and logistical nightmare. We are, as the American adage goes, a melting pot, a nation of many cultures. People and cultures have different parenting styles and practices. Some cultures co-sleep; others put a baby in a crib in another room. Some parents feed infants on demand, with others firmly adhering to a schedule. There are countless points of disagreement concerning parenting methods. By whom will standards for acceptable parenting practices be set? 

It would also be a legal nightmare. What's the plan for people that 'illegally' have children without classes? Fine them? Take their child away until they take the courses? Do we really want to entrust petty bureaucrats with enforcement power to make us take classes and parrot back the desired responses to get the official OK to have a child? No, not a good idea at all.

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