The Instigator
waronwant
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Marauder
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Assessment of Parental Ability Should Be Compulsive For All Expectant Parents

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,224 times Debate No: 11455
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

waronwant

Pro

Surely all decent, caring human beings are rightly horrified upon hearing news stories of unimaginable cruelty against children, sustained over a long period of time, by their parents. Yet it is still the case that, although in some parts of the world, you require a license to own an animal, but anyone can have a child.

I don't believe that having children is a right - it is a priviledge. As such, it should be earned. Those prospective parents who genuinely wanted to provide their children with nurture, care, and input required to deliver them safely into adulthood would have nothing to fear from psychological testing, and in fact should welcome it, as it would ensure that other children would be somewhat protected against parents who have serious personality disorders which could be harmful to the children in their care.

I believe that upon any alarming or potentially harmful traits or attributes being identified, the prospective parents should be referred for therapy, parenting classes, and should also be monitored carefully, along with their children. I am not advocating the removal of children immediately from parents exhibiting problems, they should receive assistance initially. But a nationwide assessment scheme would ensure that these problems would be raised before the child was even born, hopefully dealing with potential cases of abuse before they became a reality.
Marauder

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate.

The fundamental problem with opponents proposition is with such a system we would be creating another vicious circle that is built to keep people from ever getting the ability to become a qualified parent to start with. Like how to get a Job you need Job experience, to get that experience you need to have had some time in a job. No one is qualified to be a parent when they have there first child. Arguable there second as well for that brings new parenting problems they still have yet faced like how to deal with 'will you stop touching me' and figuring out witch child to punish for breaking the lamp.

Second off it should remain no ones right to say at all what good parenting is. For every individual case for what being a good parent comes off as different, and the appropriate methods of parenting usually reflect the personality of the parent. This is because part of the great benefit of having a child is in some way you live on after you have died, because your kid grew up to reflect at least half of your traits in him/herself, you did raise him/her after all.
In know way should we encourage the delusion among the expectant parents that there is a right way they can look up how to be a parent when there child comes, a book they can study that will somehow make taking the test easy or predictable experience. predictable in the sense that any challenge it will present is one they could have known to prepare for.

Another thing my opponent forgets is that it is not unheard of for the coming of a baby that makes people grow up, and act more responsible. In fact its even common to be heard of. People who would not pass your assessment as capable of being a good parent before there baby comes end up being great parents, cause when push came to shove they surprised even themselves!

The best sword has to be forged under fire. And the best parent wasn't qualified to be one when it came.
Debate Round No. 1
waronwant

Pro

I thank my opponent for his intelligent response.

Firstly, I would like to assert that I am not against different parenting styles, and people will find that different things work for different people, depending on the dynamics within their family. Parenting style is not what I believe needs to be dealt with at all. For example, I don't agree with physical punishment, but I have known people in the past who have used this form of punishment effectively - the "one, two three" method, whereby they child gets this count to decide to stop the improper behaviour before receiving a smack - and the result was there was very rarely any punishment, the children learnt pretty quickly! So different strokes for different folks in that respect. So of course I agree that one can be an effective parent, using different techniques from other parents, as long as no damage is done to the child(ren).

What I would like to see being dealt with are the underlying psychological issues which pre-determine a human beings potential to be an ABUSIVE parent. Psychological testing would identify these traits, and allow for treatment, and for education. Someone who is sociopathic, for example, does not experience normal human emotion. This person does not experience empathy, sympathy, compassion, even happiness. They see other human beings as objects which can be used to achieve whatever effect they desire. These people go undetected for years, as in the recent case of Josef Fritzl, in Austria, who fathered 7 children by his daughter, while she was imprisoned in a cellar by him for 24 years. This man simply saw his daughter as his possession, and the baby who died during that time as an inconvenient "thing" that he needed to get rid of.

These people don't function in a way which makes them suitable carers for any vulnerable person, and to use one of my opponents own points, any child which is brought up by a parent with such traits, is at risk of developing these same traits and behaviours, so continuing the cycle of abuse.

I, too, believe that any parenting difficulties that new parents experience can be overcome through experience, including that of older family members, and in no way would I ever say that this is the "wrong" way to do things. New parents need to be nurtured, in the same way that a new baby does.

I do still believe that there are certain people in our society who should never be allowed the opportunity to be left alone for even the shortest time with any vulnerable person, let alone have full responsibility and freedom to abuse at will. And psychometric and psychological testing seems to me to be the only way to counter this.
Marauder

Con

My opponent points out there disapprovement of physical punishment, but claims to accept that use of the method is a parental choice. But for the laws that define what counts as child abuse this remains very important. For the moment, if you dip your kids feet in boiling water as a punishment it counted as child abuse and the child protective services will be on your case if your reported, But if you're disciplinary methods are spanking the child's rear in, it is not considered child abuse. Though my opponent would be at peace with this arrangement of what physical punishment is child abuse and what is not many would try pushing the line further to include spanking as an unacceptable discipline.

Who is it that should decide that spanking you kid is psychological abuse or not, who keeps these new laws my opponent proposes from threatening to take away children from those that use physical punishment in its milder forms?
I know my opponent says that she is not for taking the children away even in the undeniably bad cases, and I agree on that, but when people simply don't have it as a psychological problem, they simply believe it the right parenting method, the classes they go to are not going to make changes. When we create a board that assess the parents and laws that determine the standard for assessment the push for all physical discipline to qualify as abuse will come, even if not from my opponent.
What my opponent might try to propose to protect the non-sociopath parents from laws meant for the true sociopathic ones is that degree's of physical punishment will be protected from causing the parents to be held accountable. This will lead to the use of Loki's Gambit to either protect the sociopath parent, or punish the non-sociopath. http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_Wager

My opponent gives the example of Josef Fritzl. If we stop and consider that mans scenario we might see how he would not be stopped by these laws even if they included all physical abuse without question. It seems people did not even know he had children. This might be incorrect though, my opponent didn't give a source for me to read more on its details, but the knowledge of his 8 children's existence is how it comes off.
So perhaps we can rest assured these laws would catch Josef before he first conceives (if we grant they would allow us know if he does at all with a women) that the assessing board would recognize his psychological problems in a background check. But consider Seung Hui Cho, the gunman in the VT massacre, when he purchased his guns that he would later use for killing the 32 Hokie's, the gun salesmen found no problem in his background check. http://www.cbsnews.com... though same people with mental problems can be recognized from analysis, not all are, they in fact can come off as a "clean cut young man". It took the full undivided attention of the state to figure out he had psychological problems. And you are not going to get that full attention for these assessment boards before it becomes a problem. Our government has simply proved incapable of scrutinizing the mental stability of individuals already in the case of gun permits. Why should we expect better when granting 'children permits'.

Last of all, considering the resolution mentions we are talking about 'expectant' parents, where the child is already conceived, and my opponent speaks in round one of hoping to catch the bad cases before they start when the child is not yet born, I must ask what happens when a couple or single parent fail the assessment at this stage? You obviously do not hope to stop people from conceiving in the first place, so that leaves two solutions that I can think of, taking away the child at birth to some orphanage, or abortion. If your idea is abortion then this debate is in danger of turning over that point, and the voters may simply ignore the resolution and vote based on there stance on abortion. I will try to keep this debate from turning into being over government imposed abortions, but since the resolution does not require for this debate we accept that solution as okay as a given, I will not.
Debate Round No. 2
waronwant

Pro

I concur with my opponents assertion that my stance on corporal punishment may have been seen as misleading. Please allow me to clarify.

I personally don't believe that corporal punishment is the correct way to discipline a child. Discipline should be intended to educate, not punish for the sake of punishment. I believe it is confusing for a child to be told it is bad to strike others, then receive a physical strike from the very person who is trying to instill this lesson. In my country, smacking a child can be illegal. Parents have been charged and convicted of child abuse for administering a smack on the bottom for the childs misbehaviour - www.telegraph.co.uk/.../Father-arrested-and-locked-in-a-cell-for-smacking-son.html - (interesting to note here that the father asserts that he thought it would have been more reasonable to remove the child from the household, but not to arrest him! Fatherly concern indeed!). But to report every such case is to involve the child in an incredibly traumatic episode, causing more damage than the smack itself, and detracting from cases where child abuse is actually taking place. So I do not support anyone, even my friends, who smacks, and I think there is always a better method, but where there will be more damage to the child by taking action, and the parents seem caring, nurturing, people who are providing that child with the best upbringing they can provide, I would leave well enough alone.

Smacking is covered by British law, I appreciate this may not be the case in other countries, and is considered acceptable by law if in the course of "reasonable chastisement". So allowances for this form of punishment are already in place, whether we agree with it or not. In any case where a mark is left, it should be investigated, and this is very clear. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/.../Smacking-the-rules.html

Opinion is definitely split on the effectiveness of parenting classes. A group setting does not seem to be ideal, but success has been seen when professionals have worked on a one to one basis with parents - blog.cleveland.com/pdextra/.../theres_little_proof_parenting.html

I apologise to my opponent for the lack of a link regarding the case of Fritzl. Information can be found here news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7371959.stm

Neighbours and friends were aware that Fritzl had a daughter, Elizabeth, with whom he had his other children, but were told she had run away when in fact she had been incarcerated by her father. Allegedly even her own mother was unaware of her daughters imprisonment in their basement.

My opponent is correct in his assertion that psychological illnesses are notoriously difficult to diagnose, although the techniques for diagnosis are improving as more is becoming known about the nature of these illnesses and disorders. And, of course the nature of psychological disorders can be that the person afflicted has had a lifetime to practise lying, which makes it more problematic to identify them. But does this mean we should simply not even try?

And I can do nothing but agree with my opponents assertion about government failings. I wouldn't have a leg to stand on! I believe that, in setting up any kind of social agency, it should be run by people who have an idea of what it is like to live without the protection most politicians have been afforded in their affluent upbringing. In an ideal world, if this kind of scheme were to be put into operation, it would be manned by compassionate, empathic individuals who were dedicated to protecting potential abuse victims.

My opponent makes a very good point regarding assessment of expectant parents. The alternative, which would be licensing conception, would be impossible to implement. People have sex. People have sex recklessly. Imposing some kind of penalty for conceiving a child "illegally" would result in an upswing of back street abortions, putting many lives at risk, or in concealed pregnancies and births, where a sick baby would not receive the assistance it needs. So I feel this could not even be considered.

I don't believe that abortion should be enforced. I do, however, feel that the care system for children needs improvement, and that age should not be a barrier to adoption. There are plenty of very good homes for children, where the parents are simply deemed to be too old, at the age of 35, to adopt. However, in many cases, adoption would not be necessary, where only one parent is potentially abusive, and this could be monitored with the assistance of family members, the partner, doctors, and health visitors. I stated previously that I believe punishment should be intended to educate, and it is no different in the case of someone who exhibits potentially abusive character traits. Behaviours can be learned and unlearned, it is identification of psychological disorders that remains unaddressed.

In conclusion, I would like to assert that I am fully aware that to have something as basic as conceiving, giving birth to, and raising a child under scrutiny by a government department is something that makes people - including myself - uncomfortable. I believe in a humans right to live freely. I also believe, however, that we all have a duty to send a clear message that we will not tolerate the abuse of vulnerable people. I have witnessed neighbours being interviewed on television news after the latest victim of abuse is removed from the house next door in a hearse, stating that "someone should have done something". Yet these same people scream about their rights when it comes to any new legislation, with blatant disregard for the rights of the children who are suffering in this way.

My idea, I am fully aware, needs scrutiny, adaptation, clarification, if it were ever to be seriously considered. It would not be a solve-all solution, but simply a beginning. I simply believe we need to try to prevent this as far as possible. In cases like these, closing the stable door after the horse has bolted means burying another child.
Marauder

Con

The Fritzl article did not answer some of the questions I wanted it too, but I guess it answered enough. no one new he hid his daughter but they did no about the 7 children from her, so before he said she 'ran away' she must have already given birth to them, so I think there should have been a point people could have got suspicious.

It also seems the scenario I mentioned of the standard for what qualifies as child abuse eventually including spanking your kids rear end has in fact occurred in my opponents country, the only reason it is not reported sometimes is because of an unwritten code of relative respect for those parents that still use the method, and the accaptence that evoking this law by reporting them will only make things worse, in essence the law would make it worse.

I would like to know what physical discipline does qualify as 'reasonable chastisement' but your link took me to an error page. Hear in America if we see several bruises in various stages of healing we report it. a single bruise is expected on all children as they are are always doing things that gets bruises on them in not so traumatic ways. like using the monkey bars after it rained. I would say spanking falls under that but you say it is clearer covered in your law.

My opponent accepts a few of my points including:
1) psychological illnesses are notoriously difficult to diagnose
2) the government (witch would end up in charge of these assessments) is far to incompetent at this kind of thing.
3) We cant make permits for sex
4) abortion cant be used to give consequences to this law either.
5) putting all of what we have talked about under the government is a troubling thought.

How are they explained away from this resolution? 1 is 'we have to try' and without the government factor I completely agree. 3 & 4 are avoided because she wishes to put the children in orphanages only. but then goes on to say the orphanages and child care systems we would be sending these children too need improvement. I agree, and note that kind of steps on the appeal to your solution. My opponent though does stress that most of the time taking the child away to any such facility would not happen (you are more optimistic than I) as the problem itself would be solved at the home. That is the best solution I agree, perhaps one day in the future methods for solving the problems there will be reliable enough to use. for there current capabilities I will return to that point in a second.

2 & 5 is along the lines of 'it has to be done, the alternative is doing nothing'. This is not the case at all. The power of ones local community of people who do care is mighty. this link is to a programme called the buddy backpack system http://www.dynamoms.com... In my community it came to many peoples attention that a large statistic of elementary school students starved over the weekend, they depended on the school breakfast and lunch to get food. the various churches, and clubs like the ruitan, ect.., have joined together in to form what we call the 'community alliance' that would make this backpack programme work. When I first herd of it I had asked if this group was the equivalent to our towns government, cause the county is our smallest local form of government, but this group is a lot more local than that. the answer was no its 'communities taken care of themselves' because there are no taxes involved in this, just the group effort of getting the funds from personal donations to make things like the buddy backs work. Its what Mike Huckabee refers to as self government http://www.redstate.com... we fix the problems at the home by keeping them from happening in the first place. The government has less to tax us for when there's no crime. We have the power to stop a third parties interference in fixing our problems when we fix them ourselves.
How does this work with parental psycologicle problems. the community funds, not through tax but volunteered donation, the people who can help parents that need it.
We of course in this mutual community effort that keeps a political government out of the pitcher cant give consequences for failing to respond to our help, we could only help if its accepted, if its just one parent maybe encourage him or her to get a divorce and the court should side with the sane parent in child custody. if both there still is reporting it to child protective services that is already in place without a community alliance that you as an individual can do right now. the strength of the community alliance would not have the power to make individuals go through assessment, we can only help the cases we notice, if they accept.

In conclusion there is noting that a power that can make assessment compulsory (meaning the government) can do without making it worse, that we ourselves cannot do the good without the worse. There are no real options available to the government right now to give consequences to this law that we can depend on right now.

You spoke of neighbors stating 'someone should have done something' as if its contradictory to avoiding new legislation that claims the power to do that something like the plague. but the solution is not new legislation, the solution is that neihbores should have done something themselves.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by KuriouserNKuriouser 4 years ago
KuriouserNKuriouser
Parental ability" should have been formally defined in the beginning for a more relevant debate.

In R1 Pro informally stated that by "parental ability" she was referring to such traits as "serious personality disorders" that would effect parental ability. In R1 Con focused instead on arguing against a parent's natural inexperience and differing parental styles. It was a straw man, though it did cause her to restate her position in R2. There she gave an expectant parent with APD as an example of what she was talking about.

Questioning the competence of the government to regulate such a thing was the major argument Con made that actually connected with Pro's and even here there were problems. Con spoke of the failure of gun ownership laws to detect people with psychological disorders through a background check. Again, this is not an argument against Pro's case as she is not arguing for background checks, but for psych evals that would screen out such things as "serious personality disorders." This was a false analogy. She still conceded that not all cases would be discovered, but claimed this was no reason to abandon the practice all together. Simply because it is not a perfect or "solve-all solution" doesn't mean it isn't a step in the right direction. Pro should have better developed this argument, but given how much of Con's argument was off-topic it was barely adequate.

Although she was primarily arguing for counseling and parental education as solutions to incapable parents Con largely ignored this and focused on extreme measures.

Unfortunately, Con waited until the final round to present an alternative solution (community involvement). I am generally critical of major arguments being presented in the final round as it does not allow to be challenged in any way. Thus, whether intentional or not, I generally see it as an underhanded tactic. If there is merit to the argument the participant should present it in a way that can be critiqued by their oppon
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
I find this video even more related, and sympathitic.
Posted by waronwant 6 years ago
waronwant
It is entirely up to you to form your own opinion, Mattrodstrom, as I have mine. That is the nature of debate. I would say, it is certainly a priviledge to have children, and not naturally a right at all. I would go further and state that this is displayed in the number of "parents" who have this "right" removed after it is established that they are not capable of providing a child with the basic requisites of life, never mind nurture, love, and care.
Posted by mattrodstrom 6 years ago
mattrodstrom
"I don't believe that having children is a right - it is a priviledge."

not to say I'm completely unsympathetic to your resolution but a "Priviledge" provided by whom??

Is it naturally such a "priviledge", or naturally a "right".
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
This video is kind of related.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by KuriouserNKuriouser 4 years ago
KuriouserNKuriouser
waronwantMarauderTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. These are some examples of how Con's arguments did not apply to Pro's case and so largely failed to challenge her claims. Con presented major arguments in the last round so that they could not be critiqued by Pro. Pro still had arguments for her claim that went unchallenged by her opponent because most of his arguments did not apply to Pro's. I don't score on S&G simply for tedious mistakes, but Con's errors were to the point of distraction and made it more difficult to read.
Vote Placed by gbpacker 6 years ago
gbpacker
waronwantMarauderTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by belle 6 years ago
belle
waronwantMarauderTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Xie-Xijivuli 6 years ago
Xie-Xijivuli
waronwantMarauderTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05