If Parenting Were To Be Licensed, Would You Qualify?

When you need a license to drive a car or an exam to have a job or finances to own a house then how can you be trusted with a living being without any qualification? How many you know would never qualify if licensing for parenting becomes a reality?

“Have three, and by the third one, you will finally get it right”

I was binge watching the show, Life in Pieces, my new favorite sitcom when one of the characters blurted out this dialogue. I laughed the first time I watched it, but somehow it got stuck in my head. I mean, it is true, right? That is largely how the parenting is, you are not ready when the first one comes, by the second ones, you are correcting the mistakes during the first stint and finally by the third time, you may get it right. Don’t overlook the ‘MAY’ here! and that is if you are someone who really loves being a parent.

Why? Why is that? Why can’t we get it right, or almost right the first time around? This train of thought took me through several stations and the one where I resolved to stay awhile was ‘Licensing.’

I know, I know, many of you will frown upon the idea of licensing, for raising a child. I mean we are the Indian parents, we are the best in the world, we love our children the most, take care them the most, we keep them with us for longest and don’t let them step out of our shadows but what’s wrong with that? why do we need to be licensed?

Well, okay. You are unquestionably the best parent (what else can I say? I also have those Indian parents) but at least hear me out?

Licensing parents to raise kids is a movement that is already finding some takers in countries like U.K. and will surely catch on in U.S.A and many other countries, but it will never ever be even debated in India. One-half of the parents are self-proclaimed ‘the best parents’ in the macrocosm and the other half doesn’t want to be drawn into the limelight for wrong reasons. The few that might stand for it, well, no one will ever know. Those few are the ones I firmly stand with.

If you stop the relentless efforts to proclaim yourself in parenting and stop taking offense to your parenting style and pay a little heed to this and see what it actually can do, you are certain to abide by it.

But foremost, what do we mean by ‘licensing’ to raise children?

Licensing is just a word that sounds more torrid than it actually is. Licensing to raise kids will certify, officially, that a person is fit enough to be a parent, that he is socially, emotionally, physically, mentally and financially able to raise a child in the most conducive environment. It is merely a way to give the children the childhood they deserve. Not so bad, right?

Well, if you are still not sure about crossing the line, out of your own good will and humanness, let me offer you a peek behind the glorious world of licensing, what we will achieve, what is this all about.

For the Ones that are Lost…


Losing a kid is the worst feeling in the intact universe. There are no words that can describe the pain of the parents who had lost their child and that certainly tell you how bad it is. Today, some deaths are just deaths, they occur for reasons beyond our command. Many more, well they are very much in our zone of control, they are more like the mainframe of parenting.

Fatalities due to child abuse and neglect are on a rise, around the globe, and in India. Hundreds of children are lost in the world every day due to the neglect on parents’ part, thousands are facing abuse of several forms- sexual, emotional and physical. Thousands of little girls and boys sleep on the roads and face sexual predators and are made to work in inhumane conditions to merely survive. The majority of these children go on to become either criminals or low wage laborers with no chance or opportunities of a better life! Oh yes, unless we can invent a magic wand.

For most of us reading, this would be out of the question. Everyone can simply cast their hand up in the gentle wind and say, ‘Not us, not our children or not the children we know!’

It’s hard to believe but knowingly or unknowingly, many of us are also abusing our kids; may be not sexually or physically, but emotionally. Are we damn sure that our way is the right way? Are we raising our kids in the right environment? Are we giving them the childhood they deserve? Now think about someone that you know who isn’t? You’d find many. The real proof of good parenting is not being good parents in your own opinion! Also, there are many for whom parenting is more of an accident or a social obligation than a desire or a dream come true.

Licensing becomes really important for those lost souls, it could put a check on the abuse and neglect, guide the to-be parents on a route that doesn’t have a tragic end to it, and maybe, just maybe save a kid. That is not so bad, is it?

For Prospective Adoptive Parents…


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“Prospective adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable, motivated to adopt a child, and should not have any life-threatening medical condition. A married couple has to have been in a stable marital relationship for at least two years.”

These are the to the letter guidelines for the PAPs, i.e. Prospective Adoptive Parents. Along with these, there is also a house check along with other formalities if a couple is to adopt a child.

My only question is, why just them?

Having them monitored and not all the parents in the world seem unfair on so many levels. Is this because we think of the biological parents to be more superior? Is that why we have such hardened rules for the ones adopting, but not for the ones who give birth? Impregnating someone or being able to get pregnant shouldn’t be the only two criterions for being parents

I think the rules set up for the adoptive parents is an admirable effort in line with taking care of the child, but I also advocate for the same set of rules to be applied to all the others as well. They should also be physically, mentally, financially and emotionally capable and in a stable relationship. Many kids go through a rough childhood just because they had parents who were just not ready to raise them who were just not ‘parents’ in the right sense. Don’t we owe it to the children to give them a beautiful childhood, full of love and care, not rants and neglect?

For the Mothers all over the World…


What is a child without a mother?

Well, for all the mothers out there who love their kids to death wouldn’t fathom it happening to their babies. Well, it happens and it happens the most in, yes you guessed right, INDIA.

India leads another statistic, and it is also not the one to be proud of. India accounts for almost 50,000 maternal deaths (that’s about one-fifth of the total maternal deaths in the world) due to the complications in childbirth. Illiteracy and social customs of marrying girls young have peaked India at number one on this chart. Licensing may seem a little harsh, but it sure would curb this daunting problem, it may set the tone for a world where the child gets to live under the calming shadow of his mother.


Licensing is not the way forward for most of the ‘ideal’ parents, it may seem not as an exact law still and even faulty at times. Who will be in charge of taking those decisions? What will happen if someone does not adhere to the set rules? Will they actually take away a child? Is it actually possible?

I realize there are still many questions, but how can we go ahead if there isn’t even an evenly debated dialogue?

Licensing is a rather unexplored route, particularly in India, but that doesn’t mean it is not the right way through. Whenever we seriously start sticking up for this, it will be very long and difficult fight to actually make this a reality. One thing is sure, it will be worth it, for I believe that one life saved, one kid made happy, one kid with mother, is worth this damn trouble, is worth all this rumble and tumble. One life saved clearly outweighs one life lost.

Here is to hoping for a better future!

Happy Parenting!

Author Bio:

Meet Parth Agnish, our newest entrant! An Avid reader. A painter of words, inspired by wildest imaginations and craziest realities, and an ardent believer of an idealistic world. Someone who is still on the other side of parenting and trying to smooth his way across.Secretly, a superhero buff trying to change the world!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net




  1. Avatar Sonali Barshilia

    It is amazing how Parth, who I believe is still happy (if you know what I mean!) can really understand the issues of parenting. And this particular post has hit the bulls eye. I totally stand by you Parth when you advocate licence for becoming a parent. Another solution could be a compulsory short course in parenting a certificate of which would be needed to get ones marriage certificate from Municipality. I would also advocate one biological and at least one adopted child per household norm. Imagine an India without orphanages!!

    • Parth, you may want to answer that 🙂 Thanks for writing Sonali