Psychological testing for future parents

Mariana - Brasilia, Brazil
Entered on February 15, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Anyone who is doing something as basic as looking for a job or applying for a driver’s license knows that at some point they will have to go through a psychological test. Employers use techniques to find out who is suitable for the job, who might have discipline problems, and who would do anything to reach a higher position. Traffic authorities evaluate whether a candidate is able to perform under pressure without losing control, or displays an aggressive attitude towards other drivers.

And why do employers and traffic authorities apply psychological tests? Because they know that some individuals are so unfit for certain tasks that they may put somebody else’s life at risk. For these same reasons, I believe that it would be a good idea if the mechanisms of psychological testing were adopted by health care systems, specifically when it came to having children. In an ideal world, in which everyone would take family planning seriously, psychologists would help determine who is fully capable of raising children without putting them in danger, traumatizing them, or turning them into spoiled brats.

Also, specialists would be able to identify those feeling obligated to become a parent out of sheer social pressure, and advise them that not having children is acceptable nowadays. For the sake of future generations, inept candidates would receive contraceptives and orientation galore.

I have advocated this theory since I was a teenager, when my mother told me about seeing a child throwing a tantrum at a supermarket and the parent’s overreaction to it. The mother hit and pulled the child’s hair so violently that everyone around felt obligated to intervene.

From that moment on, I started observing similar situations everywhere I went and paying attention to the news about children who were mistreated by their unfit parents. The story that shocked me the most occurred in March 2008, when a father threw his 5-year-old daughter through the window of his high-rise apartment apparently because she was bothering her step-mother. I have also heard parents complaining about how miserable their lives have become since their children were born, and how it has become too much for them to handle.

I wonder: if all of those people had been psychologically tested, would they have been allowed to have had kids of their own in the first place? I don’t think so.

I admire and respect those who chose to be parents, and do a good job at it. However, I believe that there are people, including myself, who should not be allowed the precious responsibility of parenting.

I am not an aggressive person or a drug-user, but I’m too individualistic to take proper care of a child. I love the idea of not waking up at 7am on the weekends to take someone to the playground. I’m happy that I don’t need to discipline anyone. And, most of all, I’m delighted about living in a time when I can express my opinions on the subject without being considered a freak.