There’s no manual for people who want to be parents or have children. But what if there were a class you could take?

An AskReddit thread went viral because it asked the following question:

“How would you feel about a law that requires people to take courses on parenting and education before getting children?”

It’s likely that parents would probably welcome any advice, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that could help every parent around. And to have a law that demands people take an actual class? Well, let’s just say there were a lot of strong opinions on the matter. Let’s take a look!

15. It Won’t Make a Difference

“You know how when you were in school, the only kids who showed up to study hall were the ones that didn’t need the help?

Think it might be one of those cases, dude.”


14. Maybe There Should Be Incentives

“It would make more sense if they added an incentive to learn the stuff, say maybe a government grant where you receive a small lump sum if you come in and pass a test covering proper child care essentials.

I’m sure quite a few new parents wouldn’t be willing to turn down $100 or something similar when all it takes is passing a written test akin to a drivers permit test.”


13. It Makes Sense!

“As a 20+ year teacher, I completely agree.

Someone needs to teach kids how to be a parent, and all to often the parents who are doing it are failing at parenting themselves. Heck, we need to teach them how to be a functioning adult. The number of kids (10 yrs old) I hear saying that their goal in life is to drop out of school asap, have a kid, and go on welfare is staggering. But, that’s the world they grew up in. Often, it’s a generational poverty situation and they simply don’t know that there are other options for them.

The more we can educate, the better off we’ll all be.”


12. How Would This Be Enforced?

“How would you enforce those laws? What happens to people who get pregnant despite not passing the parenting test? Would this law disproportionately affect women because it would be harder to detect fathers breaking it?

Seems like it has a lot of problems and ultimately wouldn’t really do any good if it was enforced in any way.”


11. Some Places Are Already Doing This!

“I believe one of the Scandinavian countries has a large childcare aid package tied to completion of a course/program for every time you have a child.

You want free money/supplies? Learn how to be a half decent parent first.”


10. Who Would Design The Class?

“Who gets to design the course, who gets to administer it and who determines if you’ve “passed”.

It sounds good in theory but it’s a wet dream for any ideologue; they’ll be tripping over each other to install and entrench themselves in the bureaucracy since it’s a choke/control point and gives them carte Blanche to proselytise their personal positions and even “punish” people for not adequately adopting them – similar to how the school and university systems are routinely co-opted by teachers pushing their own world views.”


9. This Could Get Dark…

“Let’s also remember the implication of forced abortions and/or (temporary) sterilization.”


8. The Class Would Have to Be Super-Basic

“The only way it could possibly work is if you limited the course contents to the mechanics of parenting and education.

How to change a diaper and toilet train, how to breastfeed, when and how to wean, how to register for childcare and school, etc. Even then, I’m sure those with an agenda would find a way.”


7. Here’s a Point Against This Idea

“The vast majority of “bad parenting” comes from economic hardship and cultural conditioning.

The idea that there’s just this huge corpus of terrible parents whose children run wild because they’ve just chosen not to care is patently absurd.

Literally never heard an argument from this that doesn’t begin and end in either fascism or racism.”


6. An Alternative is Posed

“Like in theory, oppose in actuality.

First, I’m not sure requiring the course will do much to educate people. Already-educated parents have the resources to seek much of this information out. Others may not take it seriously, and due to work schedules and other factors would have difficulty attending.

Some people may have unplanned pregnancies or not know they’re pregnant. How would you enforce the requirement in that case? Taking children seems too drastic and may stress an ineffective foster system. Fines may punish but only offer a way for some to buy out of the option. I don’t see an equitable way to require it.

There’s also the difficulty of curriculum. What kinds of parenting and educational practices are taught? You’d need strict quality control to ensure that elements of religious education or spare the rod / spoil the child don’t work their way into the classroom. Also, I don’t expect a single class shortly before birth will help parents who only run into issues at specific developmental stages.

To me, a better idea would be offering free classes tied to a healthcare package for first-time parents. Just as classes already focus on birth and post-birth childcare, offer additional classes on education tied to yearly pediatrician appointments. If you make sure everyone has access to healthcare, they’ll also have access to these classes.”


5. There’s Already Plenty of Bad Parenting Advice

“What’s to keep the curriculum from being based on the terrible pop science of the day?

In the early 1900’s parents were advised by “psychologists,” “scientists” and “experts” to hold their babies as little as possible. This trend was practice commonly as late as the 1960’s. If this program were instituted during that time not holding your baby would likely be taught. In the 90’s helicopter parenting and participation trophies would likely have been the curriculum of choice. There are probably just as many bad theories about parenting around today it will just take us a few years to realize exactly how they screwed up our kids.

Instituting these courses on a mass scale will only ensure that these theories are propagated throughout the entire society not just portions of it.”


4. It Still Won’t Work

“They make us take courses for responsible borrowing and how much interest you pay on student loans before and after we borrow and look how that turns out.

I’ll be done with student loans in about 4 years but I could have been done a couple years ago if I paid attention to those courses.”


3. This is a Dumb Suggestion

“It feels like something a very dumb person suggests for what seems like good reasons, if you never stop to think about it even once.

People don’t “get children”, they end up having them most of the time. Nearly all children were not planned. This immediately kills your entire plan and any and all discussion of it ends here.

But assuming you want more reasons, laws are enforced, that means putting people in prison or fining them. Imprisoning or fining new to be parents who don’t follow your laws certainly won’t help the children, will it? Obviously not. Unless of course you want to go even further and forcibly abort children from parents who don’t follow your law. Depends if you want to be a regular dictator, or the next Hitler.

Next of course is the fact “courses” on parenting are about as good as books on parenting, totally worthless except in the most general way, and the parenting world is full of misinformation, from mothers right up to the top tier of government health services controlling policy. You’d have every official with some power telling people how to raise their kids based on whatever subjective bullshit they think is good and moral. You’d probably have a bunch of childless teachers with a state mandated curriculum vomiting information they don’t understand to stressed out parents with no sense or reason.”


2. What About Your Current Leader?

“Take a moment to consider your current leader. Do you trust that leader to enforce those rules in a fair and unbiased manner? What about the runner up? Do you think that person would have?”


1. Hell No!

“Hell no. That’s how big brother happens.”


Raising children is no easy task, and there are cultural, socioeconomic, and additional considerations. It’s no wonder there were such divided and strong opinions on the matter.

What do you think? Is there anything Redditors missed? The comments section is totally open for this!