Welcome to parenting (but only if…)

October 11, 2006

I see that TV presenter Jonathan Ross got into some tepid water over his suggestion that some people should be banned from giving birth. According to the BBC there were ‘more than 60 (ie 61) complaints’. I find that remarkably few. Since I guess the number of people watching that particular show was at least double that number, I take it that probably over half saw nothing to object to in the idea. I would also make a bet that some of those who did complain, if they gave the matter a moment’s thought, might also think his idea had some merit. After all there are pretty clear guidelines on who can and cannot adopt a child so why not on who can beget one. There’a stiff test to see if you can control a motor vehicle so why not one equally searching to see if you are capable of the much more tricky task of controlling an infant. On the whole I prefer this to Mr Ross’s idea of putting something in the water supply- there are tests for so many things these days including who is entitled to be British so I don’t one extra one would be too much of an imposition.
The test for adoption actually looks to me rather less than stringent. The only people red carded are “People convicted of certain violent or sexual offences, or offences against children (or who have household members who are convicted of such offences); people (including household members) with any kind of conviction in the last two years (except motoring offences); someone under 21. After that it all gets a bit too free and easy for my liking:
‘Applicants do not need to be well off and may be on benefits. Applicants will not be automatically excluded if they have had problems with the law, but we need to understand the circumstances at the time and any likely implications for the future. Violent offences will generally disqualify applicants unless there are very special circumstances. We do not have an upper age limit. We’d rather you didn’t smoke, we wouldn’t reject your application to foster or adopt just for this reason We also wouldn’t turn down your application if you were overweight, but our medical advisor would look at the issue and how it affects your ability to be an active parent’
I would go further than that in a prospective parenting test and rule out smokers, people with body-piercing, people who watch ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’, regular churchgoers, politicians, professional wrestlers, men who use aftershave, fans of Mel Gibson or snooker, psychologists and anyone who has participated in or endorses fox-hunting. That’s just for starters. Until recently I would also have excluded people with tattooes or black nail varnish. People not excluded woould be allowed to be in temporary charge of an infant ofr an hour or two (under close supervision). In addition there would be a test in two parts, the first, theoretical, designed to test your knowledge of signs of infant disobedience and how to deal with them as well as common hazards in raising children such as noisy, impertinent or otherwise unruly behaviour.. There would then be a ‘road test’ in which the examiner would test your ability to subdue a number of infants of different types and in different situations as well as your ability to react to an emergency like a child swallowing a golf ball or putting a sibling in the microwave. You would be asked to conduct one or more manoeuvres used by skilled parents such as reversing a decision not to punish a child, making a U-turn when you’ve rashly agreed to buy the child a new toy and not cutting corners when it comes to strict observance of family rules. You would also have to deal with roundabout situations, preferably by avoiding them. That should sort out the sheep from the goats. With any luck, I would never have got past the theoretical part.

11 Responses to “Welcome to parenting (but only if…)”

  1. jeanclaude Says:

    People have a right to have children if they want to. What you are proposing will lead to the worst kind of dictatorship.

  2. SilverTiger Says:

    Jeanclaude, you have missed the most important element of tomeemayeepa’s post: a little thing called humour.

  3. SilverTiger Says:

    Grateful as I am to Tom for revising his views on people who wear black nail varnish, I have to say I think his confidence premature. I do not think we are suitable people to raise children, whether our own or others’.

    The evidence, being a sort of confession

    If I were in charge of a child (non-existent God forbid etc), I would insist on teaching him good manners and consideration for others.

    I would require him to do his best at school and to be honest in all his dealings, even with strangers and shopkeepers.

    I would forbid him to bully others or steal their lunch money or mobile phones.

    If ever he were found guilty of failing on any of these points, I would take him in hand and not foist the responsibility onto others. Specifically, I would not abdicate responsibility by saying “He’s out of control”.

    If this regime did not scar him for life (as some child “experts” would have us believe it would), it would nevertheless make him totally unfit for life in today’s world. I therefore submit that I, black-nailed and unrepentant that I am, would not be suitable as either a parent or a foster parent. Q.E.D.

    Note to Jeanclaude: The above is meant to be an attempt at humour, not a very good one admittedly, and should not be taken seriously.

  4. jeanclaude Says:

    Well it can’t be very funny can it if someone has to explain to me that it is supposed to be humourus.I do appreciate British humour- both me and my children enjoy to watch Benny Hill, for example-but I think everyone knows that people are actually saying words they believe true when they are joking in this way. Otherwise they would not think it was funny.

  5. tomeemayeepa Says:

    SilverTiger: OK. I’ll reinstate you on the exclusion list, not because of the nails but because you clearly fail the ‘it’s not my fault my kids are like that’ test.
    Jeanclaude: I suggest you widen your exposure to humour somewhat. I have heard the North Korean stand-up comics have much to recommend them.

  6. SilverTiger Says:

    jeanclaude: Je m’excuse si je vous ai fâché. Cela n’était pas mon intention. J’ai voulu vous taquiner un petit peu c’est tout. (Encore de l’humour anglais raté…) La vie est bien trop courte pour la perdre en boudant. Si vous avez un “blog” ou au moins une page au “Web” faites nous savoir l’adresse, voulez-vous? (J’y mettrais que des propos sérieux, même graves, promis…)

    Revenez ici aussi parce que je voudrais vous voir défaché si possible…

    Amitiés d’un Tigre en Argent

  7. jeanclaude Says:

    Tigre en Argent: I am neither angry nor sulk but your mastery of the French language is so perfect that I accept your excuses. This blog interests me because the subjects are interesting and I have remarked that sometimes the author is “humourous” and sometimes he is “serious”. There is the danger that one can confuse the two and sometimes it is better to stop onself to be amusing. (Unfortunately, I do not have the time to blog and I even have to stop my own web site because of being too busy).


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