At what age are children allowed to make their own decisions? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-15-2013, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:28 AM
 
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At almost 12, I let my son control various things... like how he spends his weekends.  He can call his friends, plan his own "playdates" (whatever the preteen word for them is. heehee) provided he can get transportation.  He has to check with me before he plans a sleepover.  He does odd jobs for people- mother's helper, etc.  He plans those.  He picked his classes for middle school with some guidance from me- ie: I required him to take a language but he could choose the language.  He also has his own opinions about things and I'm fine with that.  He also chooses how to dress, I only require that his clothes are reasonably clean and they fit.  He also has a lot of privacy, but I have talked to him about how we all live in the same house and no one ever gets 100% privacy.  No closed doors and if they are closed, I am allowed to check on anyone without warning.  He also has privacy on his ipod with the understanding that I may, at any moment, request it and check it (I actually haven't done that yet since he's been very straightforward with what is on his ipod).  All my kids will go to the convenient store and buy candy and slurpees occasionally.  I don't love this, but it's not really a battle worth fighting to me.  Basically, they are allowed to control how they spend their day as long as it isn't interferring with a family activity or anything they are signed up to do.

 

Things I control- I have tightened up on homework.  I was allowing him to choose when he did his homework.  But it turned out he was NOT doing it and his teacher was regularly reporting to me that assignments were late.  So I buckled down on that and I do micromanage his school work in a way he finds completely annoying.  I have also tightened up on housework and helping me keep things tidy.  We have a chore chart and timer for all three kids.  It works and it's really minimal work from me. 

 

The biggest issue for me has been follow through with signing up for a sport/activity.  We signed my son up for football when he was 9.  He decided a couple weeks into the season (this was his second season and he loved the first season) that he didn't want to go anymore.  My husband and I feel very strongly that if you commit to a team sport (or any activity), you have to follow through.  After much discussion with him, he finished out the season and then decided to switch to lacrosse.  He loves lacrosse but we make him think about his choice each season because he will be required to finish it.  I would require that of all my kids, though, even my 8 year old.  You also may not miss a practice or a game because you simply don't feel like going, it's too cold... or rainy, etc. 

 

This is something I never really thought about before.  My job has never been to micromanage them.  It's been to guide and scaffold them so they can be prepared to make their own decisions.  Their ability to do this has been mostly based on personality... and perhaps birth order.  My youngest is much more mature at 8 than my oldest was at the same age.  I feel my son is fairly mature for his age, too.  That doesn't mean any of them can drive yet, though, and sometimes I still feel like a taxi service!  ;)


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Old 05-15-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is something I never really thought about before.  My job has never been to micromanage them.  It's been to guide and scaffold them so they can be prepared to make their own decisions.  

 

Micromanage might not be the best term but it's all I can think of at the moment. If it cause conflict then I apologize. It's just what my sister says that she "micromanages" her kids or "keeps them on a short lease" so that's all I'm really familiar with when it comes to verbage shrug.gif

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Old 05-15-2013, 02:12 PM
 
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We've tried to raise our kids to make their own decisions from the very beginning. There were big decisions we made in the beginning obviously like being vegetarian, what belief system they were being raised in, ect. However, they were packing their lunches, picking their clothes, managing all their homework and such from kindergarten. We're always around for the research stage and we continue to help them narrow their choices to good ones. At 12 and 16, they still seem to welcome this (which is good because we are hunting universities for DD now!) They've each made big choices in regards to where they attend school, what activities to continue and which ones to let go, ect. It's not always the direction WE would like them to go and there have been some failures but we try not to swoop in until it's really necessary. I can really only think of one situation where we totally over-road them. 

 

It's not easy but I'm grateful they've developed enough confidence in this area now.


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Old 05-16-2013, 07:13 AM
 
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I see parenting as a continual process of teaching kids to do things on their own, allowing them to do those things under supervision, and giving them more and more freedom until they're ready to do everything on their own, all the time. I couldn't even give specific ages, because I am constantly looking for ability and responsibility to let them do all sorts of things.

For example, a kid can start physically putting on their own clothes around maybe 2 years old. So I would start then by providing appropriate clothes, and letting him choose whatever they want to wear around the house. Even a toddler really can't go wrong with a drawer full of shirts and pants that fit and look reasonably decent. If we're going out, I will choose an outfit to make sure he looks the way I want him to look in public. A school-aged child is old enough to decide what to wear even going out, within set parameters. I might say, "We're going to church. You need to choose a nice dress that fits, but not a holiday dress." or "You need to wear closed-toed shoes, because it's wet outside. No sandals." At some point you're going to realize that your child is capable of choosing appropriate clothing without being reminded. Then it becomes a matter of trusting them to live up to what you've taught them. Trusting them to evaluate what's socially acceptable for a particular venue ("Kids my age don't really dress up for church anymore, but I still need to look nice, so I'll pick these nice jeans and a sweater.") or what's suited for the weather ("It's getting warm out, but I know I get cold easily, so I'll wear a t-shirt and carry a light jacket just in case.") What age is that? I don't know. I never have to tell my 8yo DD to go change her clothes, but my 14yo DS wouldn't know a clean shirt if it bit him on the butt!

That's how it goes for most things, IMO. You teach, you guide, but you have to give them as much freedom as they are capable of, when they are ready for it.

Michelle, wife to DH, and momma to DD16, DS15, DS12, DS10, DD9, DD7, DS5, and baby girl born Christmas Eve 2013!
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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LOL!  Not offended.  I was trying to come up with ways I micromanaged my kids and couldn't think of any (beyond homework and it's only because he was simply not doing it).  I did, occasionally, micromanage employees when I worked in management... but my kids?  No.  heh
 


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Old 05-16-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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My daughter is 13 and we have recently been working towards giving her more autonomy.  I was tired of the constant battling and really just felt she is old enough to make a lot of these decisions for herself now.  There have been times where we had to step in and re-take control of certain things (like her eating breakfast and lunch), because the consequences of her actions were spilling out onto other people.  She is old enough and mature enough to realize that when that happens she had it coming, and almost seems relieved to give back some control to us.  

 

I do make sure that she knows the consequences and potential outcomes of her decision making beforehand so a) she will hopefully make better choices with these things in mind, and b) there can be no protest of unfairness when these consequences come to fruition.

 

She enjoys quite a bit of privacy (something I do think is essential to everyone, regardless of age), and yes, she has failed that test a few times, and the consequences were swift and exactly what we told her would happen.  She knows she screwed up, and learned some valuable lessons through it all.  I was disappointed in her lack of judgement in these instances, and complete disregard of our warnings and advice, but also kind of grateful that they happened because it kind of validated us and hopefully made her realize we are worth listening to and actually do know what we are talking about most of the time!

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Old 05-16-2013, 09:19 PM
 
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Different children have different needs as they grow.

 

DD when she was about 10 needed almost no input of management of her homework. DS still needed it until he was almost 14, and I still keep an eye out (just turned 15).

 

From 11 (start of secondary school) they could decide how to get to school - 2 buses (transfer) or 1 bus + share a taxi.  We gave them aset amount of pocket money to pay for transport & sundries and they could decide how to spend it.

 

Food - not much choice at home - DH or I cook most of the time & that's what for dinner, although they have input. On school vacations when we're at work, the kids make their own breakfasts and lunch & that's their choice (when, what, how). There's no choice as to doing washing up afterwards. :)

 

They have the choice to refuse some foods - but within the nutritional guidelines I found and posted at one point (mostly to forestall arguments on the necessity and amount of leafy greens to be consumed on a daily basis).

 

They had some choice in what subjects to do for IGCSE, but Mandarin was non-negotiable. DD chose what she wanted to do for the IB, within the constraints of the school and the program.

 

Some people (relatives included) may think we are strict - but in HK I'd say we're middle-of-the-road.

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Old 05-17-2013, 08:43 AM
 
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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.

 

What kinds of decisions are you actually talking about? 

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Old 05-17-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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What kinds of decisions are you actually talking about? 

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Obviously, when ds was very small I made some decisions for him. But I stopped for most things as soon as he was able to make them on his own. He is 11 now. He wasn't cool with the pediatrician checking out his privates and I backed him up on that. He didn't mind when he was 3 or so, but I would have backed him up then as well. Ds was able to figure out that his testes descended on his own, lol. Occasionally things need to happen that he isn't thrilled about but he's a trooper if it's necessary (like going to the dentist, taking dh to physical therapy, or driving grandma on an errand). But our life is pretty unconventional.

 

Ds decided to be homeschooled so I don't need to enforce anything on the school's behalf. I would totally let him quit an activity if he tried it and didn't like it. Or if he just changed his mind. He decides how he wears his hair, what he wears, when he goes to bed, when he eats. He decides what he eats but I remind him of what sorts of food he has already eaten and make suggestions as to what would round that out so he isn't going from one wheat and cheese product to another version of wheat and cheese and back again. We take regular family walks because none of us gets enough exercise. Ds agrees it's a good idea but doesn't necessarily want to do it every time. We encourage him to go but if he makes a serious protest, we assume he isn't feeling well and don't push it.


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Old 05-24-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Hm... I never felt like I should "micromanage" my children.  From toddlerhood they have been able to eat/not eat, dress in whatever, wear/not wear a coat -- that sort of thing.  Over the years (they are now 13 and 10) they have had an ever increasing voice in things that impact them and/or the family.  There are things that we do as a family that are non-negotiable such as sitting down at the dinner table (they don't have to eat if they aren't hungry but they have to sit with us for grace and a small amount of conversation) but I suppose even those I would be open to a conversation and some negotiation on if they asked.  They have decided on the activities they want to try.  I agree that a commitment to a team means you keep that until the end, so I guess they wouldn't have the option to quit on their own.  They arrange their own social calendars.

 

I have always insisted on basic manners and appropriate language, so I guess I do control those aspects a bit.
 

I think my general approach has always been to try to balance everyone's needs and desires and talk most decisions through.  When they have made decisions that didn't work, they lived with the natural consequences.  For things that they wanted but truly couldn't happen, I've always explained why.

 

The only thing I feel like I'm "controlling" on at this point is DS's homework.  Not doing homework just isn't an option and he can't see the consequences for not doing it because they are way far in the future and 13 YOs aren't very good a forecasting that far ahead. Or at least mine isn't!  I hate that I micromanage it but feel like its important enough to do it anyway.  I guess going to school is non-negotiable.

 

One of the asst. leaders for DD's girl scout troop is one of those "I'm cold so you have to put a coat on" types.  It drives me batty that she seems to believe that she needs to tell her child, and everyone else, what to do every second.  When to go to the bathroom, what to wear, what to eat...  At 10, these are all things I think the girls should be old enough to understand and I have asked her not to boss my daughter so much.  I've also told DD that she can, politely, tell Mrs. X that she is fine thank you and she'll eat/pee/dress when she needs to.

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Old 05-24-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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I'm not much of a micromanager, I do a lot of suggesting, but that's about it.  For example in elementary school ds decided he didn't want to wear a winter coat anymore.  He wore a hoodie every day since 4th grade.  He owns a coat (two in fact) but doesn't want to wear them. (I hate winter coats, it has to be below zero for me to put one on, they make ma claustrophobic.) There was a teacher that was on him, CONSTANTLY about it.  Every day.  Finally one day he said "Mrs. N, my mom doesn't care if I'm cold, so you shouldn't."  All I have to do is provide the proper things for them to wear, if they choose not to wear it, well, be cold, not my problem.  

 

Ds will stay up late a few nights and I will mention that he should probably get his butt in bed by 9 on the third night.  If he chooses not to, well he better not be grumpy the next day.  

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Old 05-25-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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I'm not much of a micromanager, I do a lot of suggesting, but that's about it.  For example in elementary school ds decided he didn't want to wear a winter coat anymore.  He wore a hoodie every day since 4th grade.  He owns a coat (two in fact) but doesn't want to wear them. (I hate winter coats, it has to be below zero for me to put one on, they make ma claustrophobic.) There was a teacher that was on him, CONSTANTLY about it.  Every day.  Finally one day he said "Mrs. N, my mom doesn't care if I'm cold, so you shouldn't."  All I have to do is provide the proper things for them to wear, if they choose not to wear it, well, be cold, not my problem.  

 

Ds will stay up late a few nights and I will mention that he should probably get his butt in bed by 9 on the third night.  If he chooses not to, well he better not be grumpy the next day.  


AHAHAHA!  I love your last line!  I have told my son that, too.. 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.  Sometimes, I will remind him to eat lunch before we leave because I'm not buying lunch or snacks out (and he rarely wants to spend his own money on lunch).  Then he won't eat or bring anything because he would rather mix music or play a video game... and he's hungry the minute we get somewhere.  I've had to explain that I gave him time to eat, I reminded him to eat (usually more than once and sometimes I offer to make him something!) and I reminded him we weren't purchasing lunch out.  So since he didn't make the choice to eat at home, he may not take it out on us by making our excursion miserable.  He usually grumps on his own until he feels like rejoining us.    I guess we parent the same way.  I do a lot of suggesting (we have a similar issue with the coat and, as a substitute teacher, I have witnessed my non coat wearing son stand outside at recess with no coat and look freezing.  His choice!) but only enforce it if I feel strongly about it. 

I feel strongly about homework, following through with feeding our pets (their jobs), and eating dinner as a family.  And not whining to me about the natural consequence of your poor choice, especially if I have reminded you and strongly suggested a better choice.


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Old 10-08-2013, 07:57 PM
 
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I don't think there is a magic age. It is more like a process. It starts when they are tots and well I have 23 y/o and I still offer advice. Eventually I will die and it will end.

 

One of my favorite line is "you can always choose your actions but you can't always choose your consequences"

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Old 10-09-2013, 12:16 AM
 
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I basically try to offer them as much control as I think they can handle. How's that for a specific answer? lol...

 

When it comes to safety, I'm the bottom line (car seats, etc). 

 

Also, there are some things where having too many choices is overwhelming to the kids, so I try to make it easier by limiting their choices (this is usually for minor things). 

 

If it's not life threatening, and if their choices don't negatively impact the rest of the family, then I generally leave it up to them. 

 

It really is a balancing act, and knowing your children. But I always try to err on the side of letting them choose.


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Old 10-10-2013, 02:53 AM
 
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With mine, my rules are safety, respect, and honesty.  As they have gotten older as long as they follow those guidelines I gradually have given them more freedom in their choices and decsion making.  I never set specific ages since I think all kids grow and mature differently but I give both my 13 and 16 year olds quite a bit of freedom now since they have both shown they can handle it...most of the time lol.  I'm also more into natural consequences...if they stay up too late then they find out how tired they are at school the next day.  I tell them that the reason they do have curfews is not for them but for me so I don't worry. My kids are far from perfect but they are both very open and honest with me.  The more honest they are the more responsibity they get.

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Old 10-10-2013, 10:53 AM
 
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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.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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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.


Like you said, it's sliding scale.  I start small.  "Do you want to wear the red shorts or the blue ones?" "Do you want to read first or take a bath first?"  "Pb&j sandwich or tuna?"  "Apple or banana?"  As they get older and begin to have an understanding on the consequences of choices (choosing one options means letting go of other options), the choices get more advanced.  "Do homework before dinner or after."  Choosing between chores and negotiating with siblings over who does what.  How to spend their own money.  Choosing between getting paid or volunteering.  Deciding on when to go to bed based on when they have to get up in the morning.  Going to an art class taught by a local artist friend of the family or go to neice's 3rd birthday party (he chose the birthday party even though his sister would have accepted either decision).  And so on until they are adults making adult decisions like sex, drinking, working, where to go to college or not go at all.


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Old 10-12-2013, 08:37 PM
 
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i dont quite know how to answer this question.

 

dd has been making her own decisions from age 1. she is super independent. and i allowed her age appropriate ones.

 

i am a little more lax than other parents. but i feel its coz dd has wanted it and i didnt feel anything about holding her back.

 

i mean in retrospect dd was ready to use a knife at 4. i was too freaked out to allow her. till i did when she was 5. by 6 she was making full dinners. she LOVED it. 

 

today dd wears makeup and drinks coffee. 


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Old 10-17-2013, 06:57 PM
 
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Control and responsibility should go hand-in-hand.  

 

A kid should get to decide when to do his homework at whatever age he consistently completes it, without a parent having to check and remind him what to do.  For one of my teens, that happened his sophomore year of high school.  For the other two, I'm not sure it ever will!

 

A kid should decide how to spend his own money as soon as he's willing to earn some - and for as long as he spends it in a generally responsible way.  (He should be able to buy things his parents wouldn't choose, but not things they forbid him to have.)

 

A kid should have the option of staying home sometimes, when his parents go out, at whatever age he seems responsible enough to be safe alone; and for as long as he doesn't abuse the privilege (doesn't get into trouble while he's alone, or cut himself off from too many family events).

 

Etc.


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Old 10-17-2013, 07:38 PM
 
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...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?


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Old 10-18-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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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.


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:23 PM
 
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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
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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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.


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Old 10-20-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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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.


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Old 10-20-2013, 12:39 PM
 
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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.


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Old 10-21-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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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.

 
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:28 AM
 
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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.


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:36 AM
 
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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. 


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:51 PM
 
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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.


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