Suggestion of childbearing license stirs controversy

Suggestion of childbearing license stirs controversy

Fulya Soybaş - ISTANBUL
Suggestion of childbearing license stirs controversy

Laying his neck on the line, a child and adolescent psychiatrist has attacked the traditional notion of “holy family” by suggesting that people should be given a license before having a baby.

“Psychology literacy is very low in our society. In patriarchal societies like ours, parentage has been hallowed. Thus, we don’t speak about it very much,” said Veysi Çeri, an associate professor who has more than 109,000 followers on Twitter.

“But parenthood is not sacred. We should change that point of view. A mother and a father are people who should give care to the child. It could be determined at the beginning if a person is capable of doing this or not,” he said in an interview published by the daily Hürriyet yesterday.

Saying that he had expected to face a huge backlash on social media, he bases his suggestion on his experience as an expert at local courts.

“I attend judicial case hearings. Your blood would run cold if you had witnessed what we see there. For instance, a mother was sentenced for abusing her child with evidence. Fortunately, the child was taken from her and put in legal protection. That’s all normal up to this point. Then? She has a second child, and nobody asks anything. Then it happens again, and the second child was abused too.”

He accepts that licensing parenthood could be used maliciously for discrimination. “In this respect, I recognize criticism to my suggestion, however, based on my observations as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I think that no child should have to carry the burden of the family during their entire lifetime, and a solution could be found with common sense.”

Çeri went on to say that around 80 percent of children and adolescents he sees are not psychologically ill. “Trying to cure a child does not work if you send her or him back to the same environment. It’s the mothers and fathers that should be cured first, not the children,” he said.

Psychologist Ozanser Uğurlu said that Çeri’s suggestion was “quite utopical,” although he acknowledges that given the extreme cases in the courts, it is “understandable.”

In a counter-proposal, Uğurlu added that parenthood schools could be useful to equip couples with skills to cope with emotional stress and a child’s upbringing in a healthy atmosphere.

“Such training could help prospective mothers and fathers very much. Many balances have changed in a rapidly developing modern world. Parents have normally been affected by the harder living conditions,” he said.

Halis Dokgöz, a forensic science expert who has specialized in sexual assault, agrees that a voluntary parenthood training program would be greatly beneficial.

“It’s not possible to turn it into a course such as the ones that help to get a driving license. It’s against human rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanık released a video message to mark the International Day of Families on May 15.

Mutual love, devotion, responsibility and fair sharing are needed to protect the family and “strengthen it in accordance with our values in today’s conditions,” she said.