Should parents or other adults make important decisions for their older (15-18) teenage children?   Would you agree or disagree with this statement? Please use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

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This conversation would be better served if the author was more specific with regard to what s/he meant by "important" decision. Several people make very good points. 15 year olds are not as a general rule as mature emotionally or cognitively as 18 year olds are. However, if parents do...

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This conversation would be better served if the author was more specific with regard to what s/he meant by "important" decision. Several people make very good points. 15 year olds are not as a general rule as mature emotionally or cognitively as 18 year olds are. However, if parents do not allow their children some latitude in the decision making process, when will these children ever learn. So what decisions should this age group be allowed to make? Whether to attend school or not? Whether to drive? What time they should be home? What they should be allowed to do in or outside of the home? I guess what it might finally come down to is the fact that with regard to law, parents might legally be responsible for their children until they do turn 18. Therefore they might legally be required to make many of those important decisions as a matter of law.

 

 

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Absolutely. Certainly some decision-making should be made by the teens, but all parents have a legal obligation to take care of their children. Many people forget that biologically, the human brain of teens of this age isNOT fully developed, which explains many of the confounding and unexplainable actions of teens. Parents should never use the excuse that their own love or popularity will be compromised if they give in to something they know is not in the best interest of their children. Seeing that their children make it safely to the age of 21 is enough of a challenge; from that point on, they will have plenty of time to realize the consequences of their actions and, hopefully, will have learned from the good advice of their parents.

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I concur with mshurn on every point, especially about the difference between a 15 year old and an 18 year old.  An enormous amount of growing up and maturity occurs (or should) in those three years; indeed, many 15 year olds are still functionally adolescent, although they are most likely approaching the end of that particular phase.  A 15 year old can't drive and isn't even old enough to work in most places of business; an 18 year old, however, is old enough to enlist in the military, and is certainly to the point where he or she should be able to select a college, and ascertain some sort of direction for a career path.  The challenge for parents, of course, is where to hang on, and where to let go in those three interim years, years in which the child/teen/young adult in question is probably chomping at the bit to be independent in every aspect of his or her life. 

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First of all, there are important developmental differences between a fifteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old, as well as differences in their legal rights. An eighteen-year-old, for example, can drop out of school, vote, and join military service, whereas younger teens by law cannot make these choices for themselves. The issue raised in the question is far too broad and complex for a simple yes or no assessment.

What constitutes an important decision? Dropping out of school and getting married are important decisions, but choosing which college to attend and which career to pursue are also important decisions. A fifteen-year-old should not be making those first two decisions independently, but eighteen-year-olds should be able to decide the last two for themselves.

The hardest part of parenting is deciding when to hold on and when to let go. Doing one or the other in every instance is not good parenting. The older children become, the more parents have to let go and give them the freedom to grow and to learn to handle responsibility. There is no magic age, and certainly not 15, when parents can abdicate their own responsibility to guide, and when necessary, to draw the line and hold it.

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The two positions on this statement feature a great deal of justification.  On one hand, the argument for parents to make decisions for their teens is a powerful one.  It rests in the idea that there are so many avenues and areas for teens to end up in difficult positions and challenging predicaments.  These areas can have life altering consequences.  To be able to sacrifice one's children to the downside and potential harmful aspects of freedom is an abdication of one's responsibilities as parent.  It is the job of any caregiver to help one's children through difficult times by ensuring that decisions made are in the best interests of the child.  The converse of this notion would be in the idea that children are best served when they understand the complex and intricate nature of freedom.  This argument suggests that parents will not outlive their children and, at some point and level, children must understand how to make critical choices.  It is a variation of the notion that children must "fly from the nest."  In order for this flight to be a successful one, parents must guide their children in decision making, but in the final analysis, teens, in order to be effective adults, must learn how to make and live with critical decisions, understanding that their lives and their choices are their own.

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