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Supporting Arguments For Parent Licensing Essay

877 words - 4 pages

Supporting Arguments for Parent Licensing
In Hugh Lafollette’s paper “Licensing Parents” he talks about the need for government licensing of parents. His argument states that for any activity that is harmful to others, requires competence, and has a reliable procedure for determining competence, should require licensing by the government. This argument relates to parenting because it can be harmful to children, requires competence to raise children, and we can assume that a reliable procedure can be formulated. Therefore, parenting should require licensing by the government. I agree with Lafollette and shall focus on supporting him by addressing the most practical objections: “There is no reliable procedure for identifying competent parents” and “It is impossible to reasonably enforce parent regulations.”
The first objection to Lafollette’s argument is that “…there may not be, or we may not be able to discover, adequate criteria of ‘a good parent’” (Lafollette 1980, 190). This is a strong and sound objection because who can universally define what constitutes a good parent? Many cultures prefer to raise their children in different ways that others might think is unacceptable. For example, some cultures believe that spanking their children is an effective form of punishment, while others condemn it as child abuse. Therefore, it seems impossible to distinguish between a “good and less than good parent” (Lafollette 1980, 190). In addition, if we did come up with a criteria, it would be too generalized (in order to include different cultures) that it wouldn’t be able to differentiate between good and bad parents. This overgeneralization would allow bad parents to be inadvertently licensed. These are strong objections to Lafollette, but I believe there is a solution to them. The objection of distinguishing between good and less than good parents is wrong because Lafollette states in his paper that his proposal “…does not demand that we license only the best parents; rather it is designed to exclude only the very bad ones” (Lafollette 1980, 190). This means that we don’t have to completely define what a good parent is, but rather find the very bad qualities that inadequate parents possess such as severe abuse or neglect. This approach will allow different cultures to raise their children according to their beliefs as long as they are not severely harmed. The overgeneralization objection is not sound because the “procedures for licensing drivers, physicians, lawyers, druggists etc. plainly are not 100 percent accurate,” so striving for a perfect test is unrealistic (Lafollette 1980, 189). We have to accept that some bad parents will...

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