Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.
It seems like people in the United States have to get licenses for everything, so why don't parents need to get one before they can have a child? People whine about the quality of our schools, but say almost nothing about the quality of our parents.
Most belief systems and religions agree on certain points of conduct. There are also laws that all people are supposed to follow (no matter what they believe). Many parents and potential parents don't know or understand many of the laws that already exist. They need to be taught about the different kinds of abuse and why it's wrong and illegal to act in certain ways.
Parents need to pass some kind of life skills course that makes sure that they understand what is and is not appropriate behavior and how to handle stress and anger in a sane way. For example, it's not OK to lock children in a closet and starve them. It's not OK to have sex with them. It's not OK to treat them like slaves. Kids are people too. They should be treated the same way most people would treat a visitor (with kindness and respect).
Gun lovers must be taught that guns should be properly locked up. Guns should not be stuffed under a bed, in a drawer, or in a closet where children could find them. There should be zero news stories about a child accidentally shooting another child with a gun they found in mommy's or daddy's closet.
To help as many people as possible, one solution would be to have students pass this short course in the 7th grade, then take the course again in their senior year.
The course would also be freely distributed on the Internet so people could study it any time they want. People with low incomes could also have access to it from their local libraries, various charities, and government agencies.
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