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Would You Pass a Parenting Test?

I’m reading People Magazine. Not exactly serious news, but one serious story does catch my eye. It’s the story of Stephanie Greene from South Carolina, and she took drugs while breast-feeding. Yeah, that woman up there. Her baby died at 6 weeks with enough morphine in her brain and liver to kill an adult.

RELATED: The Parenting Minefield

I’m infuriated by stories like this. Parenting isn’t a right. You don’t get to do whatever you want just because babies are helpless and can’t stand up for themselves. Not everyone should get to be a parent, I think to myself. But alas any fertile adult can be a parent, the most important job in the world. There should be a test, I think. There should be some sort of test to become a parent.

A parenting test is undoubtedly problematic for many reasons. I think we can all agree that doing drugs while breast-feeding your child counts as a giant fail on any parenting test, but most things are a little more vague. In fact, we probably do things every day and make choices all the time that ultimately aren’t in the best interest of our kids. Let’s face it: There’s a good chance most of us wouldn’t pass the test. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be one, however.

Excluding the extremes like physically harming your child, here is my parenting test—with scenarios, possible actions to take and the grades for those actions.


Leaving the little ones unsupervised in the bath—INSTANT FAIL

Leaving bigger ones unsupervised in the bath—PARTIAL FAIL

Never bathing your kids—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS


Smoking around the kids—INSTANT FAIL

Letting your kids see you smoke—PARTIAL FAIL

Hiding in your car so you can finish your cigarette—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS

Leaving little kids home alone—INSTANT FAIL


Driving after drinking—INSTANT FAIL

Texting while driving—PARTIAL FAIL

Screaming, “Eff you!" to a slow driver—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS


Babysitting kids endlessly with TV—INSTANT FAIL

Taking the kids to violent or R-rated movies—PARTIAL FAIL

Requiring kids to watch TV so you can sleep in—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS


Leaving little kids home alone—INSTANT FAIL

Quickly leaving kids alone in the car (even if the windows are down)—PARTIAL FAIL

Not replacing all the baby proofing your baby managed to work around—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS


Feeding your kids junk food only—INSTANT FAIL

Fast food often—PARTIAL FAIL

Pizza for breakfast because the fridge is empty—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS

RELATED: On Being the Perfect Parent


Teasing and taunting your kids—INSTANT FAIL

Losing your temper with the kids—PARTIAL FAIL

Forgetting you left your kid in a time-out—NOT IDEAL, BUT YOU STILL PASS

Would you pass a parenting test?

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