Parents Should Respect Their Children's Bodies and Decisions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Today, I was talking to someone in the blind community, and the subject of her teenage daughter came up. She said that she was angry at her daughter because she refused the flu shot. Both her and her husband vented to me, and I just listened. They finally ended their side of the discussion stating that they forced her to get the flu shot against her will by stating that they are the parents, and she is the child. She is to do what they say. That struck a nerve very bad with me because I feel that it is her body, and though they are the parents, it is not their duty to force their child to do things to her body against her will. I feel like something like that is a violation, especially if it is something as trivial as a flu shot. Not to mention, I’m one hundred percent antovaccination, so I supported her daughter.

Though I was very angry at their small mindedness and refusal to respect their daughter’s decisions, I calmly reasoned that she is at the age when her decisions should be respected. I also said that though they are the parents, they should respect her body, especially if she can provide a viable reason why should not have the flu shot. They told me that their reason for forcing her to have the flu shot was because their daughter was high risk, since she has asthma, and they feared the flu killing her. I told them that I can appreciate that they care for their daughter so much that they are trying to do the very best they know how; however, I told them that I’m at even more of a risk than their daughter because I not only have asthma, I have multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Systemic Candida, which puts me at very high risk; yet, I choose not to get the flu shot because I want my own body to build up immunity to such sicknesses, so my immune system can be strengthened. They had not too much to say but to agree that I was, indeed, a high risk.

I also explained that they should be patient with their daughter, since she is going through a very confusing period in her life, and she is only trying to find herself. I also let them know how tough it is to be a teenager, as that time of my life is one I never want to live. I told them that if they ever wanted to vent again, they can certainly do that.

I never got to the point in our discussion where I wanted to offer to show them literature about the harmful chemicals contained in vaccines, as I have tons of literature; however, I hope that a time comes when I will be able to. The discussion ended very nicely, as I was able to bridle my tongue and keep my cool, despite my strong feelings about parents needing to respect children’s bodies and their decisions.

I’m so proud of myself that I’ve calmed down a lot. I find that doing things this way gets me much better results. I don’t feel such an utter hatred when I speak with mainstream parents, as I used to; however, it does not change the fact that I feel so strongly about my beliefs and convictions to be child centered. I’m just so glad I can have such strong discussions without losing control of my emotions. It feels so good.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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#2 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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I'm proud of you; it can be so hard to keep your cool when you feel passionate about something. More people should try it, lol.

Now... I disagree. Sort of. Certain things, sure; alright, you want to wear one purple sock and one orange one, fine. Want to cut your hair and dye it neon, fine, get in the car and we'll go.

But things that a young one might not have the best grasp of reality about? Like, say, a sixteen year old wants a tattoo? Not happening if I can help it, lol. Four year old wants nothing but cookies for three days? Sorry pal, not good for you at all. Here's a salad. You can have *a* cookie, but not 37 of 'em. Your family runs rampant with diabetes, but you are four so can't understand stable blood sugar/genetic risk.

I think, we should respect their bodies and decisions, but not to the point of permanent modification. And when they are very young, it's our responsibility to teach them how to make good choices and make them for them until they are capable.

Then too, our own opinions tend to dictate our reactions/ whose side we're on; if, say, these parents were very anti-vaccine, and she wanted a flu shot, most of us would probably side with mom and dad, no?
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#3 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 07:15 AM
 
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IMO, should is a meaningless word and brings a lot of unhappiness to life. If you can accept what is, for what it is, without judging, life can be so much richer and more rewarding.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#4 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 07:52 AM
 
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I believe it is always good to get people thinking, but I have to gently disagree with you. Until a child is legally an adult, the parents are still responsible for their children. It sounds like they were making an informed decision and did what they thought was right based on the information they had. Was it the decision you would make? No. But it's really nobody's business except the family themselves. This issue concerning your post is a tricky, controversial issue, so I don't want to go into that specifically. However, over the course of our children's lives we have to make several difficult decisions and some of them will affect their bodies. People who do not believe in conventional medicine *at all* or believe in faith healing are going to make different medical decisions than someone who follows every single thing their pediatrician tells them. Each, in their own way, are making informed decisions. It's not up to me to tell them one way or another. All I ask is the people that I care about educate themselves before they decide. I think that's really all anyone can ask of anyone else without being offensive or judgmental.
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#5 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 08:29 AM
 
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I believe it is always good to get people thinking, but I have to gently disagree with you. Until a child is legally an adult, the parents are still responsible for their children. It sounds like they were making an informed decision and did what they thought was right based on the information they had. Was it the decision you would make? No. But it's really nobody's business except the family themselves. This issue concerning your post is a tricky, controversial issue, so I don't want to go into that specifically. However, over the course of our children's lives we have to make several difficult decisions and some of them will affect their bodies. People who do not believe in conventional medicine *at all* or believe in faith healing are going to make different medical decisions than someone who follows every single thing their pediatrician tells them. Each, in their own way, are making informed decisions. It's not up to me to tell them one way or another. All I ask is the people that I care about educate themselves before they decide. I think that's really all anyone can ask of anyone else without being offensive or judgmental.

nicely put

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#6 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 08:47 AM
 
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I believe it is always good to get people thinking, but I have to gently disagree with you. Until a child is legally an adult, the parents are still responsible for their children. It sounds like they were making an informed decision and did what they thought was right based on the information they had. Was it the decision you would make? No. But it's really nobody's business except the family themselves. This issue concerning your post is a tricky, controversial issue, so I don't want to go into that specifically. However, over the course of our children's lives we have to make several difficult decisions and some of them will affect their bodies. People who do not believe in conventional medicine *at all* or believe in faith healing are going to make different medical decisions than someone who follows every single thing their pediatrician tells them. Each, in their own way, are making informed decisions. It's not up to me to tell them one way or another. All I ask is the people that I care about educate themselves before they decide. I think that's really all anyone can ask of anyone else without being offensive or judgmental.

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#7 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 08:48 AM
 
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IMO, should is a meaningless word and brings a lot of unhappiness to life. If you can accept what is, for what it is, without judging, life can be so much richer and more rewarding.
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I believe it is always good to get people thinking, but I have to gently disagree with you. Until a child is legally an adult, the parents are still responsible for their children. It sounds like they were making an informed decision and did what they thought was right based on the information they had. Was it the decision you would make? No. But it's really nobody's business except the family themselves. This issue concerning your post is a tricky, controversial issue, so I don't want to go into that specifically. However, over the course of our children's lives we have to make several difficult decisions and some of them will affect their bodies. People who do not believe in conventional medicine *at all* or believe in faith healing are going to make different medical decisions than someone who follows every single thing their pediatrician tells them. Each, in their own way, are making informed decisions. It's not up to me to tell them one way or another. All I ask is the people that I care about educate themselves before they decide. I think that's really all anyone can ask of anyone else without being offensive or judgmental.
Very well said.

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#8 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 08:51 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Deer Hunter;14628287]I don’t feel such an utter hatred when I speak with mainstream parents, as I used to; however, it does not change the fact that I feel so strongly about my beliefs and convictions to be child centered.QUOTE]

Why did you feel hatred when you spoke with mainstream parents?

Most mainstream parents I know do things very differently than I would/do - but they love their children no less, and are doing what THEY FEEL is best for their children.

I'm not arrogant enough to think my choices are right for everyone - and I reserve judgement accordingly.

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#9 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 09:10 AM
 
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How would you have felt if the teen had come home wanting to get the flu shot and her parents had disagreed and refused to sign the necessary paperwork for her to get it? That attitude would not be very child-centered either, nor would it respect the girls decision?

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#10 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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I feel very badly for the girl that her parents would make her do that when she didn't want to....it is MY policy that when it comes to medical decisions like that, my kids should have a voice...this is why my son won't be circ'd etc...I consider vaccines to be permanent in their effect and would never force that upon a child. Their body doesn't BELONG to me...it is only mine to gaurd and keep in as close a state as to the one they were born in until they are adults and old enough to take the reins and eat as they please, etc....but something like that, if they could provide me with the research and information that helped them to make that choice...a TEENAGER...I would let them do what they wished.


BUT...all that being said....that is MY policy....and I respect a parents right to have a DIFFERENT policy, based upon their own values and feelings...because if I don't respect THEIR right to parent their child the way they want to, I wonder how I can expect other people to respect my right to do the same. You know? But I respect the way you handled it, OP!

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#11 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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I am actually more proud of the parents you lectured then you. That they were polite while you basically told them how to parent their daughter is more then I would have been.
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#12 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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You probably don't vaccinate because you believe to do so is a threat to your child's health and well-being. They DO vaccinate because they believe that to not do so creats a threat to their child's health and well-being.

When parents make decisions for the right reasons, out of love and caring, surely one has to respect that, irrespective of whether it is the decision one would have made one's self? It is not as if they insisted she got a vaccine because they wanted her to suffer a reaction, hoped it would really hurt, or couldn't be bothered to think in any way about it. Believe it or not there are lots of vaxers out there (i am one of them) who have read everything you have read and did not come away with the same viewpoint. We love our children every bit as much as you do, and are doing our best every day just as you are.

If my 16 year old came to me having read everything i've read, seen everything i've seen (or at least gone some way to do so) and talked to all the people i've talked to and decided she disagreed with a decision i'd made on her behalf i'd be ready to listen, but that is very rarely the case, and depending on her reasoning i might still over rule her decision.
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#13 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Deer Hunter View Post
Today, I was talking to someone in the blind community, and the subject of her teenage daughter came up. She said that she was angry at her daughter because she refused the flu shot. Both her and her husband vented to me, and I just listened. They finally ended their side of the discussion stating that they forced her to get the flu shot against her will by stating that they are the parents, and she is the child. She is to do what they say. That struck a nerve very bad with me because I feel that it is her body, and though they are the parents, it is not their duty to force their child to do things to her body against her will. I feel like something like that is a violation, especially if it is something as trivial as a flu shot. Not to mention, I’m one hundred percent antovaccination, so I supported her daughter.

Though I was very angry at their small mindedness and refusal to respect their daughter’s decisions, I calmly reasoned that she is at the age when her decisions should be respected. I also said that though they are the parents, they should respect her body, especially if she can provide a viable reason why should not have the flu shot. They told me that their reason for forcing her to have the flu shot was because their daughter was high risk, since she has asthma, and they feared the flu killing her. I told them that I can appreciate that they care for their daughter so much that they are trying to do the very best they know how; however, I told them that I’m at even more of a risk than their daughter because I not only have asthma, I have multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Systemic Candida, which puts me at very high risk; yet, I choose not to get the flu shot because I want my own body to build up immunity to such sicknesses, so my immune system can be strengthened. They had not too much to say but to agree that I was, indeed, a high risk.

I also explained that they should be patient with their daughter, since she is going through a very confusing period in her life, and she is only trying to find herself. I also let them know how tough it is to be a teenager, as that time of my life is one I never want to live. I told them that if they ever wanted to vent again, they can certainly do that.

I never got to the point in our discussion where I wanted to offer to show them literature about the harmful chemicals contained in vaccines, as I have tons of literature; however, I hope that a time comes when I will be able to. The discussion ended very nicely, as I was able to bridle my tongue and keep my cool, despite my strong feelings about parents needing to respect children’s bodies and their decisions.

I’m so proud of myself that I’ve calmed down a lot. I find that doing things this way gets me much better results. I don’t feel such an utter hatred when I speak with mainstream parents, as I used to; however, it does not change the fact that I feel so strongly about my beliefs and convictions to be child centered. I’m just so glad I can have such strong discussions without losing control of my emotions. It feels so good.
It is very good that you no longer feel utter hatred towards parents who vaccinate. The next step is realize that people (like myself and many others on MDC) who do chose to vaccinate their children are doing so out of love and are making child centered choices. Maybe not the choices that you would make, but that doesn't make the parents any less respectful of their chidlren's bodies.

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#14 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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I understand where the OP is coming from...and I am proud of her because it sounds like this was a discussion that they were having as friends about an issue with one of their children and like she handled it well. I think the OP discussed this issue with them in an adult manner and that was that...I don't think she lectured them or called them "bad parents" or anything like that...there was a discussion..the OP was respectful. Unless I'm reading the OP wrong?

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#15 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:45 AM
 
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#16 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 10:51 AM
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Was it the decision you would make? No. But it's really nobody's business except the family themselves.
Well, to be fair....if they didn't want to open themselves up to possible judgement, they shouldn't have shared their story with anyone.

None of my business? Fine. Don't tell me about it. KWIM?
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#17 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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Well, to be fair....if they didn't want to open themselves up to possible judgement, they shouldn't have shared their story with anyone.

None of my business? Fine. Don't tell me about it. KWIM?
Goodness gracious! So, if I don't want to be judged... even if I just want to talk about something that is troubling me... I should keep it to myself? Don't you think that's kind of harsh? Sometimes as friends, our job is to listen and keep our mouths (and opinions) to ourselves. To not judge... just listen.
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#18 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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I agree with the consensus. I don't vaccinate my daughter, so that's not where I'm coming from. But I do agree that parents have the responsibility to make medical decisions for their children until they come of age.

My 4 year old was jumping on the bed and fell off and split her scalp open on the radiator. She did not want to go to the ER, and definitely did not want the 2 staples they put into her head. For our part, as parents, we hated the whole thing, but we made the choice that we felt was best for her, to help her heal.

I won't give my kid the flu shot, but I know that another parent would make a different decision for their child - for the same reasons (wanting to keep their child healthy and safe).

As a kid, my dentist pulled 4 of my permanent teeth to make room in my very small mouth. I sure as hell didn't want that done. I can't even comment today whether it was the right choice but I know for a fact my mother made it with the sole criterion of "what is best for my child."

If my kid came to me with research that questioned whether my choice was the safest choice, I think I would be negligent to not consider it. But even so, in the end, it's my responsibility to make that choice until my kid is an adult.

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#19 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I understand where the OP is coming from...and I am proud of her because it sounds like this was a discussion that they were having as friends about an issue with one of their children and like she handled it well. I think the OP discussed this issue with them in an adult manner and that was that...I don't think she lectured them or called them "bad parents" or anything like that...there was a discussion..the OP was respectful. Unless I'm reading the OP wrong?
Oh, I agree that she handled it well and in a respectful manner. One of the things that angered Deer Hunter was the parents "small mindedness". I was just pointing out that the next step in her journey of being more open minded herself, was to accept that parents who make choices that she considers "mainstream" are still loving, caring, child-centered people. Deer Hunter has come a long way in her journey to control her anger at people who parent differently then she. I'm sure that she will make a wonderful parent one day.

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#20 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:10 AM
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Goodness gracious! So, if I don't want to be judged... even if I just want to talk about something that is troubling me... I should keep it to myself? Don't you think that's kind of harsh? Sometimes as friends, our job is to listen and keep our mouths (and opinions) to ourselves. To not judge... just listen.
If you share your stories with other people, it then becomes their business, too. And FWIW, the OP didn't say she was talking to a friend. This could have been someone she just met or had only spoken to a few times in the past.

If something is troubling you, and you talk to a friend about it, you don't want any feedback at all? I see no point in talking, then. That's like talking to a wall. All I'm saying is that you can't expect that people will always give you the responses that will make you feel better.
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#21 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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As a kid, my dentist pulled 4 of my permanent teeth to make room in my very small mouth. I sure as hell didn't want that done. I can't even comment today whether it was the right choice but I know for a fact my mother made it with the sole criterion of "what is best for my child."
My mother made the same decision, for the same reason, with the same outcome except that i had 6 adult teeth removed, AND the dentist pulled out all of my remaining milk teeth to get at my molars which were still in my jaw to do it so from age 10 to age 12 i only had 8 teeth, the front ones! AND she had it done over 8 weeks (one quarter mouth of 3milk teeth and one/two major molar removed at a time every other friday) so that i wouldn't have general anaesthetic which she felt was too risky. I didn't enjoy it, but i'd do the same thing for my DD now.
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#22 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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If you share your stories with other people, it then becomes their business, too. And FWIW, the OP didn't say she was talking to a friend. This could have been someone she just met or had only spoken to a few times in the past.

If something is troubling you, and you talk to a friend about it, you don't want any feedback at all? I see no point in talking, then. That's like talking to a wall. All I'm saying is that you can't expect that people will always give you the responses that will make you feel better.
Well, she did say that they parents were wanting to vent, not asking for advice. Don't you ever have moments when you just want to whine about stuff and have someone listen? Yesterday my children were driving me crazy so I called my mom and vented to her about them. I didn't want advice or for her to tell me I was doing it all wrong, I just wanted someone to listen. And after 20 minutes of whining, I felt better and was able to go be a better mom. I just needed to talk and to have someone listen.

Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker. - Linus
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#23 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:23 AM
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I wondered where you went, Deer Hunter!

I've had a few of those moments lately where I feel like I was able to control my temper and be civil about something I wasn't previously every able to be nice about, and it is a proud moment! Good for you!

That said, I think the parents were probably making the decision they felt was best and I don't think I would have gone into a lengthy discussion about it. I might respectfull disagree, but that's about as far as I would go. There are a lot of loving parents who give vaccines to their kids.

I don't know about my parents choice to have my vaxed (how I feel about it, I mean), but I am a needle phobe, and cannot be trusted to make decisions about my medical care when needles are involved. Once when I was severely dehydrated, I really struggled with forcing myself to go to the hospital for IV fluids. I'm glad that my husband gently pressured me to go. I would have no problem doing the same for a child.
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#24 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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OP, I actually agree with you. We had swim lessons 2 years ago and they decided to hold a flu shot clinic AT the swim place. It was indoors and echoey and the lessons were very expensive. So for 2 weeks (2 lessons a week) we had to sit through watching many people forced into vaccinations against their will. There were children being held down by 4+ people-and we're not talking toddlers. There were old people in wheelchairs being forced. It was a total nightmare.

I find it disgusting that we don't respect other peoples' bodies. Forcing a chemical cocktail that has been proven to be dangerous into someone is a far cry from a freaking tattoo. And in most states, that's not even legal until a certain age, anyhow.

I didn't talk with the people about their flu shot decisions. But I did round up a bunch of product inserts, highlight, and scatter them around the swim waiting room.

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#25 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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It is important with friends to know the difference between when they just want to vent and when theyare asking for your opinion. There are things I would force my child to do, even medically, because while it is her body it effects all of us. When my children got the flew last month (we got H1N1 as well as regular flu) none of us slept for a month. we all suffered with t he sick one. I missed work, had medical bills, got sick!. granted I still would not have chosen to get the vaccine but part of refusing vaccines (or any other choice) is being willing to deal with the consequences. When these decisions are made, if they effect the whole family, they are family descisions.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#26 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Deer Hunter View Post
I told them that if they ever wanted to vent again, they can certainly do that.
Do you really think they will? I mean you basically told them they disrespected their child and made a foolish medical decision. I don't think I'd be very likely to bring up the subject again with anyone who did that to me.

Also, you said you were "calm" but that you were "very angry at their small mindedness and refusal to respect their daughter’s decisions." I'm sure on some level that had to come through.

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#27 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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What if this was another medical treatment?

You have lice you will be combed? Not to respectful but there is a reason behind it.

Pinworms?

Hearing test?

Kidney Ultrasounds?

Echocardiogram?

Meds for cronic constipation?

Athlete's foot?

Jock itch?

You have no clue if there is a medical reason that child should take a vacination against the flu.

Yes, I have not respected my child's body and wishes. I don't like it but at the same time I am the parent. I have to make the judgement call. Even though I would give my teen a lot more room I would put my foot down.
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#28 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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I agree that a child of that age should definitely have a say in medical decisions involving her body. I do agree the ultimate decision rests with the parents, but if they had to resort to force to get this shot in her you can most assuredly count on it having done more harm than good. My guess is at 18 there will be no more flu shots for her.
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#29 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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In my experience, when kids don't want to get shots, it's because they are afraid of the shot itself, not that they have done extensive research about the effects of a vaccine.

There are lots of medical things I make my kids do, because I am looking out for their overall well-being. My five-year-old daughter has had four major surgeries already for a facial birthmark. This summer she had one surgery, then for the twelve weeks after the surgery had an injection every week. Then another surgery at the end of the twelve weeks. Was she overly thrilled with this situation? No. I still made her do it. Next summer she'll have at least one skin graft. Also not her decision.

Sometimes parents have to make kids do things that kids don't like, which is a bummer for everyone involved. It doesn't make the parents wrong or bad parents, though.
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#30 of 91 Old 11-05-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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That struck a nerve very bad with me because I feel that it is her body, and though they are the parents, it is not their duty to force their child to do things to her body against her will.
I think it's a grey area. My 13 year old is involved in decisions about her medical care. I speak very openly and honestly with her about things, try to get her to look at things critically, and listen to her. Ultimately I'm responsible for her right now, but I feel like this is the period of her life when I get to train her HOW to make these kinds of decisions. If I just make them for her she misses out, but if I just let her make them without teaching her to think criticially, she also misses out.

I wouldn't, BTW, force my DD to do something to her body against her will. One thing about teens is that they have plenty of ways of taking control of their bodies in destructive, rebellous ways. I think that parents who get into power struggles over this are misguided.

Once kids are old enough to drink, smoke, use illegal drugs, have sex, cut themselves with knives, etc., parents really need to pick their battles and think about how they are teaching kids to make choices rather than forcing kids to make exactly the choice the parent wants on those few things that parents actually can control. There is so much more that we really and truly don't have control over. I believe that the more we respect a teens right to control their body, the less likely they are to do something stupid just to prove us wrong.

Quote:
Not to mention, I’m one hundred percent antovaccination, so I supported her daughter.
I suspect that this is more the issue than whether or not teens should get to make their own choices regarding their bodies. I suspect that your response would have been different if the teen had wanted vaccines and the parents were against them.

I really see it the same way either way, and I believe that teens are old enough to be part of the decision. However, that only works if the parents truly are OK with the teen making either choice.


Quote:
I also explained that they should be patient with their daughter, since she is going through a very confusing period in her life, and she is only trying to find herself. I also let them know how tough it is to be a teenager, as that time of my life is one I never want to live.
But would you be OK with your teen deciding to get the MMR? Would you be able to talk calmly to your own child? Respect her choice?

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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