Being a good parent is a job that necessitates a highly developed qualification set, stamina, and complete dedication to the job. In fact, if we were required to send in an application to become a parent, I'm sure that the majority would not be asked for even a first interview. As our society becomes more and more dependent upon social services, medical progress allows us to save the unfittest and prolong life farther than dreamed of, it seems as if all rungs of society have become ever estranged to the previously socially-imposed expectations of raising morally and socially conscious children. This pampering (and neglecting) of the new generation literally begins with Pampers. The median age of potty-training continues to creep up, with now an embarrassing percentage of children entering school without being potty-trained. Throw-away society symbolized by disposable diapers, parents sweeping away every discomfort to the children (Pampers, child doesn't feel when the diaper is wet); from the very get-go we are creating children that are completely unable to deal with real-life situations when they grow up, sink into burn-outs when times (inevitably) get difficult, and are unable to be empathic to others (high number of teen shootings) and consequently display good manners to others. If a parent spends time teaching a child good manners and respect towards others, a life-time benefit ensues. And yet, even simple things such as teaching the child to chew with their mouth shut seems to be a chore that most parents are simply unable to do, much less teach their children about contributing positively to the world and creating rather than destroying.
A good first step would be enforcing parenting classes for all parents. Currently (in the Netherlands), only parents of difficult children are eligible for government funded parenting classes. Having a difficult child, I became eligible for this class and learned things that I wish I had heard earlier. Being a parent is difficult. It's a job, and a trying one. But most importantly, it's a job, and while it is possible for everyone to become one, learning to be worthy of the job is a process we can't ignore anymore.