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At what age are children allowed to make their own decisions? - Page 2

post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by meowmix View Post
 


...I have told my son.. that he is not allowed to be grumpy for choices he has made and then not liked.  Or, that he can be grumpy, but he can't take it out on me or have it effect things we have to get done as a family...

I feel strongly about...not whining to me about the natural consequence of your poor choice, especially if I have reminded you and strongly suggested a better choice.

So, what do you DO about it?  Or what would you do, if your son were grumpy and rude to you, anyway?

 

Example:  One recent school morning, my 14-y-o had no school uniforms because (as it turned out) he had left them all in his gym locker after football practice, even though I have reminded him often to bring them home and put them in the laundry; I bought him a duffle bag specifically to transport clothes to/from practice; and if I ask, he always says his clothes are in his bag.  He was sullen and pissed off that I figured out he was responsible for his own problem.  He'd been moping around all morning, feeling sorry for himself and assuming I hadn't washed his clothes or had given his clean uniforms to his brothers.

 

Since he can't go to school without a uniform, I let him borrow one of his older brothers' (who wear the same size), but explained that he could only do it once and had to bring it back (along with his own).  I pointed out, if his brothers misplaced all their uniforms, it wouldn't be right for me to give them his until he didn't have anything to wear, either - and it was the same, in reverse.  He glared at me and curled his lip.

 

Then he pointed out he didn't have any shoes, either - again, as though this was someone else's fault and he had been wronged.  He had 3 pairs of tennis shoes in his bedroom that still fit fine, but he's grown bored of wearing them.  He had a pair of dress shoes he just doesn't like to wear to school.  A week before, I had asked if he wanted me to buy him some loafers (or something besides tennis shoes) and he'd said no.  The pair of tennis shoes he WANTED to wear, he'd left outside the day before, after playing with the dog, and they were muddy and wet with rain.  With conscious patience, I pointed out the choices he'd made (and the ones he still had).  He yelled at me in a completely hateful, sarcastic tone, "Thanks for all the HELP!"

 

Certainly, he SHOULDN'T take his own laziness out on me.  But what would you do, in a situation like that, when he did anyway?


Edited by VocalMinority - 10/17/13 at 6:51pm
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post
 

So, what do you DO about it?  Or what would you do, if your son were grumpy and rude to you, anyway?

 

Example:  One recent school morning, my 14-y-o had no school uniforms because (as it turned out) he had left them all in his gym locker after football practice, even though I have reminded him often to bring them home and put them in the laundry; I bought him a duffle bag specifically to transport clothes to/from practice; and if I ask, he always says his clothes are in his bag.  He was sullen and pissed off that I figured out he was responsible for his own problem.  He'd been moping around all morning, feeling sorry for himself and assuming I hadn't washed his clothes or had given his clean uniforms to his brothers.

 

Since he can't go to school without a uniform, I let him borrow one of his older brothers' (who wear the same size), but explained that he could only do it once and had to bring it back (along with his own).  I pointed out, if his brothers misplaced all their uniforms, it wouldn't be right for me to give them his until he didn't have anything to wear, either - and it was the same, in reverse.  He glared at me and curled his lip.

 

Then he pointed out he didn't have any shoes, either - again, as though this was someone else's fault and he had been wronged.  He had 3 pairs of tennis shoes in his bedroom that still fit fine, but he's grown bored of wearing them.  He had a pair of dress shoes he just doesn't like to wear to school.  A week before, I had asked if he wanted me to buy him some loafers (or something besides tennis shoes) and he'd said no.  The pair of tennis shoes he WANTED to wear, he'd left outside the day before, after playing with the dog, and they were muddy and wet with rain.  With conscious patience, I pointed out the choices he'd made (and the ones he still had).  He yelled at me in a completely hateful, sarcastic tone, "Thanks for all the HELP!"

 

Certainly, he SHOULDN'T take his own laziness out on me.  But what would you do, in a situation like that, when he did anyway?


Shrug and say "not my problem" and walk away (even if only figurative as I would be the one to take him to school).  But by the time they are teens, my kids have already been used to that being my response when they don't live up to their responsibilities or their promises. They also have seen me fail in that regard and watch me "suffer" the consequences.  It's not a one way street.  I have had to stay up late doing laundry because I said that I would wash their gym clothes and then forgot until just before my bedtime.  If I expect them to live up to their promises then I have to live up to mine.

post #23 of 38
Honestly the school stuff I'm pretty hands off. Don't have your homework/specific shirt/gym uniform, that's between you and your teachers. I will bail ds out once a year on something like forgetting homework. But forgetting to bring home and wash your uniform at 14?? Hahaa, I went to private school from 1-8 and by 3rd grade I was ironing my own blouses. No way I'd bail out a 14 year old smile.gif
post #24 of 38

Send him to school sans uniform and let him suffer whatever the school consequence is.  Maybe secretly shoot an email to the dean to let him/her know you're teaching your dc a lesson so they don't call you to come bring a uniform.

post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Meowmix, what you said about privacy in your house (not allowing closed doors and you being able to enter without warning) seems to be an example of not allowing what I consider to be a basic part of privacy- knowing that you are for sure alone or not. I mean, does this include the bathroom? I'm specifically thinking of personal sexual exploration.

If that weren't comfortably allowed in my house, I would consider it severe micromanagement at age 12.


I have to agree with this. I was an only child and my husband lost his brother when he was 11. We both grew up with a lot of time alone and I agree that children really need privacy from a young age. We never prevent door closing.

 

  We also always knock when we enter one of our children's rooms and allow them to come to the door if they say, "Please wait." My dh and I have rarely had problems with kids walking in on us or disrupting our privacy and I think partly because we allow our children a lot of privacy. Yes, preteens DO explore their bodies and walking in a preteen or teen ager masturbating could be terribly disruptive to that child's sexual development. My husband and I both agree that self exploration is one of the ways to know oneself, learn what works for them and to prepare for future physical relationships with others, so in our house we NEVER walk in unannounced to children's rooms, always knock and always leave closed doors closed.

 

Chances are they are doing other things than self exploration when their doors are closed, but still, whatever they are doing, privacy is something parents should honor..... especially if they want their privacy to be honored by their child. Plus, unless given a reason not to, I always trust my kids with their own privacy.

post #26 of 38

I think when it comes to sleep, it also depends on the child. Some kids may just be "grumpy" when they don't get a good night's sleep, but for neuro atypical kids, lack of sleep could be dangerous. Two of my children have Tourette Syndrome, and lack of sleep means LOTS of ticcing and then severe muscle cramping, migraine headaches, nausea and then usually inability to even get out of bed. 10:15 is Lights Out for kids under 21 with TS in our house on school nights. They have more leeway on the weekends and my about 14 they realize they need sleep. One of my cousins has a child who had epilepsy and he has seizures if he doesn't get enough sleep, so for many children there is a heck of a lot more than just being crabby if they don't sleep or at least rest in a dark room lying down.

 

My husband has TS (he's in his mid 50s) and has realized he can't stay up late often. He's usually in bed by 9:00 or 10:00 PM at the latest. He learned the hard way as a kid.

 

We allow our children to eat what they want. Our youngest also has Asperger's has Sensory Issues and has self chosen the classic "Aspies Diet" where as some parents would enforce certain foods have to be eaten or "tasted," our youngest would gag or vomit if required to eat something she simply can't eat. Other parents may feel the need to enforce "none of this, ever" (then they pig out on it at friend's houses, been there, done that!)  or "you must eat or taste" this, but we don't do that at all anymore. Every household and every child is different. Also, you may find your parenting changes as your children get older and/or your children have different personalities and temperaments.

post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Meowmix, what you said about privacy in your house (not allowing closed doors and you being able to enter without warning) seems to be an example of not allowing what I consider to be a basic part of privacy- knowing that you are for sure alone or not. I mean, does this include the bathroom? I'm specifically thinking of personal sexual exploration.

If that weren't comfortably allowed in my house, I would consider it severe micromanagement at age 12.

Yeah, I think no closed doors and entering without knocking is really extreme.
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post
 

So, what do you DO about it?  Or what would you do, if your son were grumpy and rude to you, anyway?

 

Example:  One recent school morning, my 14-y-o had no school uniforms because (as it turned out) he had left them all in his gym locker after football practice, even though I have reminded him often to bring them home and put them in the laundry; I bought him a duffle bag specifically to transport clothes to/from practice; and if I ask, he always says his clothes are in his bag.  He was sullen and pissed off that I figured out he was responsible for his own problem.  He'd been moping around all morning, feeling sorry for himself and assuming I hadn't washed his clothes or had given his clean uniforms to his brothers.

 

Since he can't go to school without a uniform, I let him borrow one of his older brothers' (who wear the same size), but explained that he could only do it once and had to bring it back (along with his own).  I pointed out, if his brothers misplaced all their uniforms, it wouldn't be right for me to give them his until he didn't have anything to wear, either - and it was the same, in reverse.  He glared at me and curled his lip.

 

Then he pointed out he didn't have any shoes, either - again, as though this was someone else's fault and he had been wronged.  He had 3 pairs of tennis shoes in his bedroom that still fit fine, but he's grown bored of wearing them.  He had a pair of dress shoes he just doesn't like to wear to school.  A week before, I had asked if he wanted me to buy him some loafers (or something besides tennis shoes) and he'd said no.  The pair of tennis shoes he WANTED to wear, he'd left outside the day before, after playing with the dog, and they were muddy and wet with rain.  With conscious patience, I pointed out the choices he'd made (and the ones he still had).  He yelled at me in a completely hateful, sarcastic tone, "Thanks for all the HELP!"

 

Certainly, he SHOULDN'T take his own laziness out on me.  But what would you do, in a situation like that, when he did anyway?

 

 

I know it's infuriating. It sounds like you have done everything short of going into the locker and getting the uniforms out yourself. I would send him to school in everyday clothes and he can face the consequences of that. When my kids were younger, they each went through a stage of refusing to get ready for school. They loved school, but had to do the morning power struggle with me. I put them in the car and we drove to school when it was time to leave. They were in their pajamas. I had their clothes in a bag. They each chose to change in the back of the car in the parking lot, and from then on they each dropped that power struggle and got ready for school on time. Another time my daughter, who kept losing her shoes and it was always a crisis, was running late and we really could not find her shoes. We found one right shoe that was black, and one left shoe that was white. She wore mismatched shoes to school that day because being late for shoes was not an option. From that day on she always keeps track of her shoes.

post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by inconditus View Post
 

At what age do you think children at allowed to make their own decisions and be responsible for those choices? Now I know this is a sliding scale depending on the request/desire. For example, I would think that most people would have a different opinion on, say, what to wear that day verses medical care--- two things that are on extreme ends of the scale.

 

However, as a general rule of thumb at what point does your job as a parent change from micromanaging their life to something less controlling? Do you have different ages based on the subject i.e.food choices, personal privacy, homework etc.

 

My oldest is almost 13. She is getting better, but we went through a difficult stage of her being very resistant to suggestions (i.e. nagging) when she was not stepping up to the plate and managing things she should be managing at her age. I told her once, if you don't like to hear me reminding you, then do it on your own so I don't have to remind you. It's not fun for me to have to keep checking on you to make sure you do the things you are supposed to be doing. I have better things to do with my time, and I would rather spend fun time with you rather than supervising you. She really got it and most of the time she takes responsibility for what needs to be done. 

 

Recently both kids-- but especially dd1-- has become mildly addicted to internet. It's normal at her age to connect with other people and build social groups. Most of the stuff she does on-line is email her friends or watch videos they suggest to each other. Some game playing but mostly social. She does it at the expense of other responsibilities and things were getting neglected. She ran out of clothes and started wearing dirty ones. She washed her sheets but didn't put them on her bed for several days and slept on the mattress. Her birds ran out of food, and she did not walk the dog. So I put passwords on all the electronic devices. I told her when she's done with what she needs to do, she can come ask me to unlock the device. I see a huge improvement. She was not even that upset about it, because she knew she had not been that responsible. I think maybe she even was glad in a way that I stepped in as her parent because maybe she realized she still needed that. 

 

Getting back to your question- the reason they are called children is because they are not 100% capable of managing their own lives yet. We are helping them move towards that. My kids eat what's for dinner and lunch. They can choose breakfast as long as it's balanced and reasonable. They can choose their clothing as long as it's somewhat modest. Each of my girls has gone through a hair battle with me where they did not want to brush and wash their hair, or have me do it for them. So I cut their hair shoulder length. The deal was that when they were responsible enough to care for their hair properly, they could grow it out if they wanted to. 

 

I will not drive homework to school if forgotten at home. I will not help with homework that was started too late. I will not go out at the last minute that evening to buy a poster board for something that's due the next day. I did that for each of them one time, and told them that was the last time I would do that. Which resulted in one child doing her poster on cardboard from the garage rather than a nice poster board. 

Health-- my oldest has Celiac Disease. She's very good at managing that herself and never tempted to cheat because she feels so bad if she does. But if she decides to scrape the topping off a pizza to eat when at a friend's house, knowing that she may get some wheat contamination-- I let her do it. It's not like she's eating wheat every day. 

 

I have patients (I'm a peds nurse) who are nearly adults and mature. I give them choices. I explain why things are prescribed and how it would benefit them, but if they refuse, I respect their choices. I still have to call the doctor and tell them that. If parents are around I tell them, too (parents are not always around as much as you would think). 

We are all vegetarian. As long as they are children they will be served vegetarian food only in this house (well probably for life-- we never cook meat). But when they are older they can decide if they want to be veg or not. 

 

Both of them have already decided on their own religious paths (or still exploring) with my blessing. I will not pressure them into a religious path.

 

RE: doors- we believe in allowing privacy. I don't think it's healthy to have a kid spend all day in their room with the door shut, and if that happens I draw the kids out. But having grown up in a house where privacy was not respected and boundaries were blurred too much, I let them lock doors sometimes. 


Edited by USAmma - 10/22/13 at 1:49am
post #30 of 38

My oldest son will be 18 in a few weeks. He has been able to make his own decisions while out about about all day long for over a year now, probably since right around his 16th birthday. He is very mature for his age, he was homeschooled, graduated from high school over a year and a half early and he has worked full-time and gone to college for over 6 months now and isn't quite 18 years old yet. :) So I trust him and his judgment and he does a lot of things himself. He prepares his own meals for work and takes them, tells me when he is coming home each evening after work, etc. If he wants to go out with a friend he can tell me about it after he is already gone if he feels like it. I'm not strict with him.

post #31 of 38

Kids make decisions basically from birth and let us know what they prefer. We have always let them have as much autonomy as possible, but that is different for each child. While my 8-year-old for instance, prefers to do his homework in the morning (he is an early riser and does it himself without any reminding or help, before I even wake up), my 17-year-old (now 21) needed strict supervision and wasn't allowed the internet password before everything was done. 

 

We let our teens pretty much come and go as they please, there was never a curfew. But then, we knew all their friends, we knew where they were and the rule was to have the mobile phone switched on. That wouldn't work for everyone, some kids need a time when to be home or stricter supervision concerning sex life, etc. Ours were very late bloomers in that respect, our girl had her first kiss, her first boyfriend at 19, our boy his first experiences at 20, but still hasn't had a girlfriend. 

 

Pocket money was earned, all of it. Either through babysitting other people's kids, or house chores. What they spent it on was their decision.

post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Meowmix, what you said about privacy in your house (not allowing closed doors and you being able to enter without warning) seems to be an example of not allowing what I consider to be a basic part of privacy- knowing that you are for sure alone or not. I mean, does this include the bathroom? I'm specifically thinking of personal sexual exploration.

If that weren't comfortably allowed in my house, I would consider it severe micromanagement at age 12.

Yea, I answered that question badly.  I went back and reread my answer and thought about my actual behavior.  We have a fairly open line of communication in our house.  I do allow closed doors as long as you are not cutting yourself off from family.  I do knock and wait for an answer if I need to enter.  Sometimes I want to check on my son and make sure he has completed a task he said he was going to complete or I need his help with something.  My reply made it sound like I actively go out of my way to open closed doors.  I don't. I have better things to do with my time.  The door is rarely closed in any room of the house unless the kids are trying to keep our dogs out of the room and it's not because I enforced anything.  Even my son rarely closes his door.  Maybe he saves his exploration for the shower.  Or when everyone's asleep.  As for the bathroom.. wow, I WISH they would close the door and that is one of the few times I say "omg,  guys, close the door!" So yea, bad answer on my part.  I am generally thinking about some specific times in which opening a closed door was necessary, which may have made me sensitive to that issue.  Also, my daughter and her best friend, giggling like maniacs behind a closed door usually means they are doing something they shouldn't (prank calls, throwing glitter everywhere, painting sticks with my nail polish, etc.), so I knock and say "Hey, that sounds fun.  What are you all doing?" and I will probably open the door.   I'll rephrase what I said "We are a close knit family and we communicate a lot.  All my children get along in that they actively engage each other.  So doors are rarely closed in our house because everyone talks to each other, shares with each other, etc.  Sometimes my son does want his door closed.  As long as it is not cutting him off from family, it is fine, but I may knock on the door and make sure everything is ok, or that I need him to set the table, etc."

Just as my husband and I wouldn't decide to have sex when the kids were needing help with homework, my son I'm sure, saves any sexual exploration for a time when he will not be interrupted by his sisters playing (or asking him to play a game with them) or at a time when I might ask him if he's finished his homework.  I have never interrupted him.

post #33 of 38
Lol.
Thanks for clarifying. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me now. Not so much an open door policy, but open doors are the byproduct of a close family that communicates.
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post

Lol.
Thanks for clarifying. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me now. Not so much an open door policy, but open doors are the byproduct of a close family that communicates.

Exactly.  I read my OP and, wow, I can see where it went wrong.  I sounded like I was marching around the house saying "NO CLOSED DOORS!" I wonder what mood I was in when I posted that. Sometimes my son is DJing in his room with the door closed and I might pop in to listen to him DJ (I think he's pretty talented) or he might call me in to hear something new he's tried or have me watch a DJ related video.  Today my girls hosted a "Veteran's Day Party" complete with homemade cookie dough they made, games, singing and balloons.  We all attended and it was actually fun.  OK, we closed the door so the dogs wouldn't eat the cookie dough or the pet rats who were out enjoying the party, too.  Thanks for understanding!

post #35 of 38
Phew! That does sound much different! LOL!
post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post
 

So, what do you DO about it?  Or what would you do, if your son were grumpy and rude to you, anyway?

 

Example:  One recent school morning, my 14-y-o had no school uniforms because (as it turned out) he had left them all in his gym locker after football practice, even though I have reminded him often to bring them home and put them in the laundry; I bought him a duffle bag specifically to transport clothes to/from practice; and if I ask, he always says his clothes are in his bag.  He was sullen and pissed off that I figured out he was responsible for his own problem.  He'd been moping around all morning, feeling sorry for himself and assuming I hadn't washed his clothes or had given his clean uniforms to his brothers.

 

Since he can't go to school without a uniform, I let him borrow one of his older brothers' (who wear the same size), but explained that he could only do it once and had to bring it back (along with his own).  I pointed out, if his brothers misplaced all their uniforms, it wouldn't be right for me to give them his until he didn't have anything to wear, either - and it was the same, in reverse.  He glared at me and curled his lip.

 

Then he pointed out he didn't have any shoes, either - again, as though this was someone else's fault and he had been wronged.  He had 3 pairs of tennis shoes in his bedroom that still fit fine, but he's grown bored of wearing them.  He had a pair of dress shoes he just doesn't like to wear to school.  A week before, I had asked if he wanted me to buy him some loafers (or something besides tennis shoes) and he'd said no.  The pair of tennis shoes he WANTED to wear, he'd left outside the day before, after playing with the dog, and they were muddy and wet with rain.  With conscious patience, I pointed out the choices he'd made (and the ones he still had).  He yelled at me in a completely hateful, sarcastic tone, "Thanks for all the HELP!"

 

Certainly, he SHOULDN'T take his own laziness out on me.  But what would you do, in a situation like that, when he did anyway?

In your case, I would have shrugged and he would have had to wear his regular clothes to school.  I'm sure there are some sort of consequences to wearing his street clothes to school?  Chances are, I would have warned him the night before.  I probably would not engage his bad mood the morning of... I would not argue with him.  He knows.  He KNOWS he should have brought the uniform home and doesn't need me to tell him.  And I have given in to the urge to say "Well... I TOLD you... " and it never results in anything productive.  If my son is being grumpy and antagonistic towards his sisters, who are more likely to engage him when he's in a bad mood and argue with him, then I would probably send him out of the room or tell him he needs to go take some deep breaths and calm down in his room. (Edited to add: I would also talk to my daughters and request they just leave my son alone right now since he's feeling angry this morning). MOST of the time he will and he'll come down and either 1. apologize for his outburst and give me a hug or 2. mope about and be sullen without taking it out on everyone else.  

The biggest thing is not to engage in an argument.  You're right, it's not your problem.  So don't let him drag you into making it your problem, but (at least in my opinion) he's allowed to be grumpy because he made this mistake he's just not allowed to blame everyone else.  When he's calm again, ie: that evening, maybe, you can address the issue of forgetting the uniform and brainstorm some ideas with him about how he can remember to bring it home.  Maybe he DOES need a little help, but he won't admit anything while he's grumpy and angry.  ;)  

post #37 of 38
Meemee I'm laughing. A few weeks ago my 12 year old went for a bike ride and stopped at the store to buy poster board for a project. I was super impressed that he remembered he needed it and then took the initiate to head out and get it on his own. I died laughing when he called me the next morning in a panic because he left it at home and needed me to bring it up to school. I happily did it partly because I didn't have a good reason not to and partly because he was so grown up in managing it get it himself in the first place!
post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

Meemee I'm laughing. A few weeks ago my 12 year old went for a bike ride and stopped at the store to buy poster board for a project. I was super impressed that he remembered he needed it and then took the initiate to head out and get it on his own. I died laughing when he called me the next morning in a panic because he left it at home and needed me to bring it up to school. I happily did it partly because I didn't have a good reason not to and partly because he was so grown up in managing it get it himself in the first place!

:lol oh the life of a teen. tween. they get so much right, have so much great intentions and then when the time comes - they forget. 

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