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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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ask996 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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Lee Campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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ik9744 | Student

I would have to strongly disagree with adults making decisions for an older 15 - 18 year old. Especially an eighteen year old needs to start making their own decision on how their future will be. Imagine if an adult still make decisions for yo when you are eighteen then that'd would be hard for you in the future. When you grow up you would need to make some hard decisions about your future or your career. One bad mistake would lead you from the top to the bottom. So I would recommend that a teenage children from or before fifteen should be able to make decision because, the more you fail or make a mistake the more you learn [That's the one phrase that all my teacher or almost all of them say]. When you grow up you wouldn't be able to let your parents make decision for you everyday, you would need to know how to grow up all by yourself with helps from your parents, friends, and other adults. The more you make decision the wiser you will get, the more wiser you get the more lesson you'll learn. Meaning you could start a company that can be as famous as Google or Apple, both the company started from a genius. So my life lesson to you would be, if you make your own decision it would get you farther then letting someone pick your career or future. If you do in fact want your parents to make every single decision that you can make, maybe you would disagree of it in the future. What if your parents picked the decision of you being a doctor or lawyer, but you hated it and never want to think of it again? Well it would be your fault for not speaking up for yourself. So I would recommend parents let their children or child start making important decisions prior or at age of fifteen, for the save of their careers.

Short answer: 

I think that you should let them make decision prior or at age of fifteen to help their future because it would let them get more options. The more options they will get the more wiser/smarter they'll be! 

atyourservice | Student

They shoud be able to give guidance but i don't think they should make choices for their kids. Teenagers need to learn for their mistakes so that they won't make the same mistake later in life at a more critical time. A parent should be able to let their kids, make mistakes and learn.

crystaltu001 | Student

I don't think parents should make decisions for their teen child because even if they think something is good for they kid it might not be. Parents can guide and teach their kids but they shouldn't be making decisions for them without their child's permission. A teenager should be able to choose for themselves. 

maria-vivanco | Student

I feel like parents should give guidance but not make the actual deacon for teenagers because they have a scene of how life is. they shouldn't' make the decision   because it's the teenagers responsibility  because it is their life but they also need guidance.  

zumba96 | Student

Yes because even if they are older they are not an adult yet and this requires their specific attention. Parents need to guide their kids and help them understand when important decisions pop up as well as supporting them. Parent shouldn't stop a child from making their own decisions but they should make sure it is the right decision. 

melani | Student

The teenagers have not enough experience in life.They cannot take important decisions only by themselves.Parents can guide their children to avoid them from taking a wrong path and to permit them from succeeding .I'm a teenager of 18 yrs old and my parents were there to guide me to succeed in life ang without them i would have certainly been influenced by others.Parents should not impose on their child's decision but give them advice so that they take the right decision.It's better to have an elder's opinion before taking an important decision as this can change a teen's life.

wolfy76484 | Student

Read Growing Up Again By Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson

rosemaya | Student

Agree, because the teen would be at the stage of setting free but not knowing how they are going to. the teen wouldnt be ready to have their own house and open life. the parent should be with them to help them guide them for the future. at their stage , thats when they start having the opportunity to smoke, drink alcohol and have boyfriend that have the chance to stay with them for long (mature relationship). though at then end, when they are 19+, they will be set free knowing how to deal with their life. besides the parent would be teaching them about their early mistakes as a teen.

sfg13165 | Student

I think that by the time your teen is 18 they should be working, or planning to go to college. So they should have the option of making their own decision at that age. But 15-17,you should always have the say so in any decision your teen is making. If your 18 yr.old is still living with you, and no plans of college or getting a job, they should abide by your rules until they have their own place, then they should be able to do what they want,but until then they follow your rules. This is coming from a 15 yr.old in 10th grade, and I know that while im under my parents roof I do what they say until I have my own place.

hudsonmom31 | Student
Should parents or other adults make important decisions for their older (15-18) teenage children?  

Do you agree or disagree with this statement.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

If they are living under their parents rule or (2) being funded in anyway for the basic necessities of life, then yes, they  should listen to wise counsel.

At 18 I had a government job and was living in my own apartment; I doubt there are many dependable teens like that today - very few if any.

18 yr olds should be working and preparing for their own life, so parents can advise - unless, of course, the 18 year old is still in high school and living in the parents home.

MY RULE OF THUMB - If you don't like the rules, get your own job, your own place and pay your own bills.  Otherwise, I made the way and this is my turf.  A wise child will learn from the parents error as well as advice.  It won't kill them and it will make them well rounded and patient; especially since they learn the world doesn't owe them anything.

kc4u | Student

A boy or a girl in his/her late teens is just at the threshold of maturity, and there is no reason why he/she should not be given ample scope for taking an important decision. But, at the same time, this late adolescence is a complex and fast-changing state of transition when a small mistake may result in very serious difficulties or disasters.

Parents or guardians are protectors and care-givers. Except under some aberrational circumstances, they are responsible and well-wishing, and there is no reason why every parental move in decision-making should be doubted or challenged. Unless parents/guardians are unnecessarily interfering or bullying, parental advice and support may be quite useful for older teenage boys and girls.

It is better if we consider these issues not within a rigid yes-no frame. Parents should respect the teenage children, should listen to their problems with sympathy, and should help them take sound decisions. Older teenage boys and girls should also be cautious, and should not look upon parental advice as nothing but an encroachment.

krishna-agrawala | Student

As long as parents or other adults provide some assistance to their children or other younger people they cant help avoiding taking one important decision affecting the younger people. One who is providing the help has to take decision on what help and support to provide and in what form. If we don't accept this position, the only alternative is children will have to give the right to demand and get from adults, whatever they want. Clearly this is not a practical proposition.

There are many other areas where it may be appropriate, and in the interest of the children in the age group of 15 to 18, to let more knowledgeable and experienced people to take some decision on their behalf. I am not saying that the adults should be able to dictate term to younger people. But when adults who love and care for their children, give some advice, the younger people would benefit by paying attention to it.

Also when it is possible for children to take decisions and implement them independently, they will be justified in asking for autonomy. But there are many situations which affect many people in the family, in such cases if a joint decision cannot be arrived between adults and children, I believe it will be in the general interest of all to give veto power to adults.

There are some arguments in favour of letting children take decisions also. First of all adults cannot always understand the needs and feelings of children. Second, a major part of growth of children is learning to be independent. A very important part of this growth is to progressively take more and more important decisions independently. Children should be allowed to do this even if means making some mistakes (only mistakes - no blunders). Therefore, adults must voluntarily refrain from taking more and more important on behalf of their children.

In sum, I will that there is no age limit when adults should suddenly stop taking decisions on behalf of children. There is a need for the children to take more and more decisions independently. On the other hand, if there are some critical decisions which the children are unable to take for themselves, they should not hesitate in taking help of elders. Similarly elders will be justified in exercising their veto power when situation demands.