Just curious

Veronica - posted on 01/18/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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This was brought up in another debate - and Im just really curious. Im opening this one up for as much mud slinging as possible, without personal attack - mind you.



Children. As the parent, how much control do you have? How much control do you give to your child?

I'm writing this post because I hear this stuff all of the time, "my children are allowed to eat what they want, choose their own religion, have rights to this and that, decide if my hub and I should have more children, OR im choosing this because i dont want to hurt/disrespect my child' etc. etc. etc.



I dont necessarily agree with the old phrase: a child should be seen and not heard

But im very strong about the fact that I am the parent, the adult - and I am the one responsible for how my children will be and turn out. I know that I dont have control of what the outcome will be - but i know that i have the option to put them on the best path I can set forth for them.



What I say goes. If they dont eat supper, they will go hungry until the next meal. Im not a restaurant and when im done cooking, the kitchen is closed. I do not ask my kids what they want to eat. Its a dumb question - because Im the one who has to cook, and Im the one who decides what they should eat. I do not down other religions/nonreligions-etc., but I will teach my children what I know, and pray to my Lord that I set them on the right path. If they choose to explore other religions/nonreligions - at least I have set them on a path to either follow or fall back on - and if they still choose that this isnt what they want - that will be their choice then. I feel its important what I instill in my children now, for the benefit of their future. Another thing - i do not allow my children to interfere with or be a base on which i make decisions. My husband and I make the decisions based on what WE see fit for our family - not because it will offend our children, or upset them or whatever - it is not up to them.



I can go on and on and on and on here -- but honestly - i do not understand - please help me understand - why children are held with such high regard and put on such a pedestal? I love my children to peices - and they are just that CHILDREN. So why are so many open to letting their kids who know nothing of this world - have so many choices and decisions??



I'll have more to say later - but this really just confuses the hell out of me.

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?? - posted on 01/18/2010

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I'm a go with the flow parent. Gabriel is a person too. A very beautiful little person who has the entire world at his finger tips and it is my responsibility to make sure that he knows his confidence so that he can grasp the world and take hold of what he desires.



I am the parent, and part of my job as a parent, is to learn as much as I teach. I am a guidance in his life, I am not a tether. This little human being deserves as much respect and room for opinion, ideas and growth as I can possibly give him.



He will know that I am here to protect him, help him, teach him, and learn with him. He will learn as time goes on that my life experience is just one other avenue that he can learn from.



There will be routine and schedule, guidance and things that I would appreciate him doing from things on a daily basis to things I would like for him for the rest of his life but that's what it is, it's not an expectation of him to do anything, it's an appreciation for him doing things.



I'm not going to force him to do trivial things that he doesn't want to do. I wouldn't want anyone to try and force me to do something, his feelings deserve as much consideration as my own do.



I will make decisions for him when it comes to things I *KNOW* are things he will benefit from even though he may not want to do them ALL THE TIME - like school. He might not like it everyday, but I plan on him going to school and with that comes my responsibility to do what I can to make sure he goes to a school that he enjoys going too.



If he comes home miserable everyday because he truly doesn't enjoy going to that school - I will look into him going to another school or another class or another program.





The way I see it, I am Gabriel's mom, I am not his friend, yet. When he is an adult I want to be his friend, but right now, he needs someone he can rely on to help him be Gabriel, let him be Gabriel, guide him towards being the best Gabriel he can be and show him that being Gabriel is an amazing experience. As well as, being Gabriel means that Gabriel matters just as much as any other person on this planet. His thoughts, his ideas, his opinions, his personality - they are all things I want to learn as much as he wants to express them.



The GREAT, the weird and the unexpected. I think it's one of the best parts about being a mom, seeing all the new things this little person discovers, wants to explore and learns how to do. If I tried to control him or train him or make him do something... then he won't be himself, he'll be want I make him ... and I don't want a clone or something fabricated... I want him to be everything that he wants to be.







I would apologize for that sounding corny but I'm not gonna apologize for being excited about this really neat person that is growing and learning and becoming his own person as we speak. He's really amazing and I am very proud of him :D

Krista - posted on 01/19/2010

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Mel, my toddler is in the 5th percentile and healthy. I know your daughter has a history of health concerns which is why you are probably concerned with her weight. What about giving her good foods with good fats such as peanut butter (if she is not allergic), avacodo, cheese, olives, pasta, and cooking her foods in olive oil? Junk is not the only way to put on weight. And to make this clear very early in the conversation, I am not putting down your parenting or judging you in any way. Just want to give some suggestions that may help.

Bananas are also supposed to be quite good for helping with that -- you could make her some smoothies to go with her meal or for between meals. The options that Sara listed are probably better choices than junk, as they don't have all those nasty chemicals and preservatives in them.

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Mel, my toddler is in the 5th percentile and healthy. I know your daughter has a history of health concerns which is why you are probably concerned with her weight. What about giving her good foods with good fats such as peanut butter (if she is not allergic), avacodo, cheese, olives, pasta, and cooking her foods in olive oil? Junk is not the only way to put on weight. And to make this clear very early in the conversation, I am not putting down your parenting or judging you in any way. Just want to give some suggestions that may help.

Charlie - posted on 01/18/2010

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I fully agree that a parent who is their CHILDS friend will end up having to parent their adult children .

A parent who acts as a parent towards their child will have a mature , responsible and lovely adult as a friend as well as a child in the future .

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Veronica, I agree with you on the issues you talked about. I'm not talking about dominating my daughter, but she will not have run of the house either.



If it is cold outside, you will wear a jacket. You don't want what I fixed for you, fine, but you won't get anything else to eat either. You want to watch your movie, but my favorite tv show is on? Nope, you'll just have to wait. You will go to church with me and your daddy.



I do let her make age appropriate choices, however. I pick out two weather/event appropriate outfits and let her choose. I let her choose what she wants for snack, between a banana, peice of toast or fruit bar. I think that those small choices help her to learn about decision making and feel a small amount of control. As she matures and learns how to make good choices, I will give her more choices.



I can see that allowing children to chose their own religion will probably be a big issue in this thread. My thoughts on that are there will be plenty of time once children are adults for them to choose. As for now, she will go to my church, which is what I feel is best for her. I won't force her into accepting Christ as her Lord and Savior, as I see that to be more dangerous than letting her choose. Many people who have religion forced on them turn against it. But she will attend church with my husband and I until she is no longer in our home. We are currently teaching her to pray. Does she understand it, no, but it is a step in helping her learn about what we believe. As she grows older, if she has questions or doubts, we will not be so closed minded as to not hear them. We will be open and honest with her. But the choice if she wants to accept Jesus will be hers to make in her own time.

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Amie - posted on 01/20/2010

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I've taken the time to think about this but I'm still not sure I can fully explain how I parent but I'll try.

From when they were/are (depending on which one I'm talking about LOL) I've always striven to set them on the right path. From basic common sense on up.

They eat healthy, it's always their first choice before they have a junk food treat. (which doesn't happen as often as they'd like I'm sure.)
They are very active, even though they have t.v.s, dvd players, computers, etc. in their rooms.
They are kind, considerate, empathetic and friendly. They love to help people and have no problem asking for help if they need it.
They know to tell the truth. That it is better and even though consequences will follow it is not nearly as bad as me finding out after the fact that they've done something against the rules.
They know that if it's cold out they have to wear a jacket, it's cold out! Its that common sense thing I was talking about.
They have chores they must do and they do them. When they were little they'd do them along side me and as they got older my role in it got smaller. Depending on which one I'm talking about there are some chores they do solely on their own now.
They know school is important but that it's also fun if you let it be. They actually get quite peeved when they are on too long of a break.
They love spending time with their friends but love spending as much time with us as well.
Our lines of communication are always open with our children. There is nothing we will hide from them but we will always answer in an age appropriate manner.
They love helping me cook and I have no issue with letting them pick out meals. They have to eat it after all. But since I've laid the foundation for good eating habits they've always picked great meals.
We haven't taught them that just one religion is the right one, we've taught them that religion is a personal matter. That if/when they choose it is something that must be in their heart. Something that we can not decide for them.
They are a part of various activities that they love doing. They foster team work, responsibility, etc. We've never pushed one on them they've always been free to choose. Which makes it better for them since they got to decide.


While our house is full of rules we're also pretty relaxed at the same time. The kids know what they are, they know what is expected of them. They don't mind any of it and neither do we. It works for us. They know that while they must follow the rules, if they do more privileges come along with it. It's rare that they do, I can't remember the last time our oldest two were grounded. Our toddler is still learning and she's a challenge but she's on the right path. Our baby I'm sure will be the same way. Most of all though they know that everything we do we do because we love them. They know there is nothing we won't do for them but they also know it will not just be handed to them.

Ez - posted on 01/20/2010

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I think I take a very 'pick your battles' approach to parenting. I will let my daughter choose her outfit if she so wishes, but not what I cook for dinner. I will let her choose which sport or activity to join, but once she's committed she will have to finish the term/season regardless of whether she likes it or not. I will let her choose whether or not she goes for a swim in the pool, but if I decide it's too cold then it's a no-go. It just seems common sense to me. Let them make decisions about age-appropriate small things and it will boost their confidence and give them a sense of security. Allow them to dictate every single little thing and they will develop a sense of entitlement that is not realistic in adult life and will only set them up for disappointment.

Isobel - posted on 01/19/2010

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I think Susan Sarandon said it best..."I raised my children to be the kind of people I would enjoy having dinner with". I like the fact that they are learning to make decisions both about their lives and what they do and do not believe.

I agree with Jenny...I am the benevolent dictator. What I say definitely goes, but I also don't go out of my way to make life difficult for everybody else. They must be active, but I don't force any particular sport...They must do their homework, but after dinner is every bit as good as after school...I don't make brussel sprouts for dinner, cause I'm the only person here who likes 'em...

I am surprised to hear how many people think the coat issue is a non-decision...they can freeze if they wanna freeze. My only rule is that they take the coat (and hat and mits) with them for WHEN they DO get cold.

Mel - posted on 01/19/2010

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Thanks Sara. I only just found out she was now in the 10th percentile yesterday exactly 10 kgs so proud. Her child nurse is very happy but her ped wants catch up growth so he's not happy with that or her weight gain. She gained about 240 grams in 3-4 weeks which is quite sufficient for a toddler but you know how peds and dieticians are. SHe has a high calorie diet. its just shes alwyas een small like me plus shes very active and burns it off. We use carb plus to add too much energy so it turns into fat and use butter cream and cheese where possible. We';re suppose to put cream in her bottles but I dont because it makes thm go yuk too quick.

For breakfast she gets put on her plate a piece of toast with butter or vegemite, a bowl of cereal, crushed pineapple, and sometimes ther bits and pieces, morning tea she has cheese, crackers, a piece pf chocolate or chocolate stick, and an apple, lunch she has somthing like spghetti on toast and a chocolate mouse dessert and fruit, then after her nap she has like a pasta with cheese and butter , fruit, and ice ceream with whipped cream, then our dinner wih desserts. I think we do a pretty good job of adding calories

Michelle - posted on 01/19/2010

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Jenny, I agree that children shouldn't be taught religion strictly when they're very young, but I also think that saying any church taking is brainwashing. I think that when our son gets old enough to ask questions, we will probably say that a lot of people believe a lot of different things and one thing that many people think is that you have to go to church every Sunday to worship God. However, we will be pretty open about the fact that we don't believe that and we don't believe that any religion is right in every way. I agree with your "benevolent dictator" idea-- there are things that his opinion doesn't change, but there are things that aren't important enough to fight over. Opinions will be taken into account if and when possible.



Alison-- I think teaching your children about your own faith until their older is ok as long as you're open about the fact that your faith isn't the only one out there and than many different people could be right, but you think you are, to simplify it a little.



I agree with Krista though that faith is in more of the gray area of this discussion. I think that when it comes down to it, we're all pretty much agreed that children should not be ignored, but also need to understand that we are the final authority on all matters. With that in mind, I intend to show him and teach him that even though it doesn't happen a lot (lol) parents are wrong sometimes and they are adult enough to own up to it and correct where they went wrong.

[deleted account]

I've got it pretty easy with my son because he doesn't really care about what clothes he wares. He's also a good eater and happy to eat most things that I put in font of him.



I'm quite laid back about what toys and games Joseph gets to play. I'm a bit stricter on how much TV he gets to watch because I think there are better ways he can spend his time.



As for the religion thing, no one can pick their childs faith because it requires belief from the individual. However, I don't think there's anything wrong with parents teaching their children about their own faith before they are mature enough to make the decision for themselves. I take my child to church because he enjoys it and I can't leave him home alone.

Jenny - posted on 01/19/2010

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I agree that our family is not democracy, I'm more of a benevolent dictator. I try to pick my battles though. My daughter has been picking her daily outfits since she was about 2 and a half but it must be weather appropriate. I'll ask for input on what to make for dinner before cooking or while at the grocery store but once it's made you eat what you get or you're done till the next meal. Big life decision such as another child would not be up for children's input but we do make those decisions with their interests in mind as well of course. I do not allow missing of school unless it's for a VERY good reason and I ensure it's not happy, fun time at home.



As far as religion goes I don't believe it's a child's decision at all. It is an adult decision and children should be left alone in the religion department until they are old enough to understand it and make the decision for themselves. Taking children to church is a form of brainwashing IMHO.

Michelle - posted on 01/19/2010

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I'm with you for the most part. What I say absolutely goes, this isn't a democracy. We will start our kids out on the religious, academic, athletic, and any other paths that we so choose, but it will be a start. We didn't get my son baptized because I think that should be up to him, for example. I also strongly believe that all of my kids should be in sports, but why shouldn't they get to choose which sport? It doesn't matter to me, they need to like it and feel good about what they're doing. However, there is no reason to assert my authority just for the sake of it. They need to learn how to make decisions, they need to know they have a voice that people will listen to, otherwise how will they know they can speak up in class? How will they know that what they say is important? Children are put under our moral and legal responsibility because they need us to help them; in my capacity as parent I have the right and responsibility to completely overrule my children if I need to, but I also have the responsibility to make sure they learn what they need to learn to make it as adults, and part of that is responsibility.

Overall, we are the parents and what we say goes, but I believe that children should absolutely be taken seriously. Children are people. As parents we have legal and moral responsibility for them and as such must make decisions that sometimes upset them because they don't understand our reasons for those decisions. However, why upset them just because "we can?" If my son doesn't want to move schools, and we have no reason that we have to, why just move for the hell of it? If, however, we as adults see a good reason to move, we will whether it upsets him or not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who gives children a full voice in decisions, but why shouldn't we pay attention to what they feel and think?? Often, it's more pure and true than what we feel and think, and for more honest reasons.

Krista - posted on 01/19/2010

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I'm going to pretty much echo Sarah on this one. You don't want to let your kids run roughshod over you, but there are also times when you want to let your kids develop their decision-making abilities. If I don't care whether they have broccoli or asparagus, or whether Sam wears his blue pants or his brown ones, then why dictate solely to assert my own authority? By the same token, however, I AM the parent, and have final say in all matters of import.

I see religion as a slightly separate animal from this. To my mind, faith is something that is incredibly personal. I could not presume to choose my son's faith for him. I plan to educate him about different faiths so that he knows what they all entail, but I refuse to try to indoctrinate him into one. That's his decision once he's older.

Sarah - posted on 01/19/2010

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It all depends on the choices.
There are some things my kids have no option in, like bedtime, or putting on a coat etc etc.
Other things like religion, that is their choice entirely. I haven't had them Christened for example. I think that being religious/spiritual is an individual choice, i also think that it's not a decision a child can make to be honest. So best to tell them ALL the options and they can decide when they are mature enough to comprehend it.

There are other times when they kind of have choices, but with boundaries.
For example, my eldest goes to gymnastics but she's decided she doesn't want to do it any more. I have told her that it's up to her if she wants to stop going, but that she WILL be finishing the term, and she WILL continue to try her best and participate until the term is over.

So i guess, (and hope) i fall in the middle. Choices and decision making is an important part of growing up, kids need to learn how to make choices and see the consequences of those choices. However, there are some things where they do not get a say! :)

Mel - posted on 01/19/2010

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yeah um making your kid miss school because they dont feel like going I cant say I would ever let my child miss school. My dad was a useless parent like that and let my brotehr even in high school just stay home every day.

Anyways in general I wouldnt make separate meals for a child if they dont eat what we eat they go hungry and eat it in the morning for breakfast. When my cousins kids come to my house they try to tell me they want something different to what IM making for lunch and my cousin and I say no you eat that or nothing. With my daughter its a different situation because of her being on th 10th percentile not that bad I know but shes under a close watch because of her history so with her now I have to make separate meals and if we are eating say salad wraps I have to go cook her some junk with it like chips and potato gems or she'd never put n weight. But with my next I intend to stick to the normal rules. Eat or go hungry.

Its definately not right to let your children run your life and have decison. You are the adult you are the parent you teach them. If you let a child make decisons they will watch tv and eat chcolate and ice cream all day. My mum always said dad let my brother have a dummy til school because "he wanted it". He was one of those parents who didnt realise kids dont know whats best thats why you have to teach them.

?? - posted on 01/18/2010

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Sorry to go off topic, Christy



If you take the . out of this and put whatever you want in the quote box in between the > & < you will get the reply with quote box :)



Copy & paste whatever you want quoted here



just remove the . . . . 's

Christy - posted on 01/18/2010

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it irks me that we no longer have the "reply with quote option" as Sarah Hopkins pretty much said everything that i want to say haha.

i believe in age-appropriate decisions and same category decisions (i.e. asparagus or broccoli for dinner). yes children are individuals whose opinions should matter but when you have a 2 year old who thinks they should go out into 20 degree F weather in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you, as the parent and protector of that child, need to draw the line. sure they might throw a tantrum but a 5 minute tantrum is much less traumatic than the cold they would likely have caught from dressing inappropriately. sometimes kids don't know what's best for them and it's our responsibility to make sure they follow the right path.

as for the religion thing, my boyfriend and i are not religious at all and i do want my daughter to have the ability to choose the religion that fits her personality, not one that i tossed her into. that being said, parents who have faith in a certain religion will most certainly bring their children up in that manner. all religions have a type of hell or other extremely bad consequences for not following the guidelines and any parent that believes in this will want to spare their children from eternal suffering at all costs, whether it offends the child's senses or not. it's not a matter of those parents loving their children any less than i love mine or simply wanting to control them, it's about them doing what they believe to be best for their child.

there is no way i would let my daughter make a huge decision for our family like whether or not there are more children or whether or not we move but her opinion will be kept in mind while making the decision. she also will not decide when her bed time is or how much tv she watches.

i think the biggest thing i believe in with kids is compromise. if it's a nice day out, i will make my daughter go outside and play but she will be allowed to take something that she plays with indoors out if she would like (i remember doing things like climbing a tree and finding a place to read or taking my Barbies out to the porch and pretending they were at the beach). if she starts an activity and realizes she doesn't like it, i will make her keep going for another month to see if her mind changes before she simply gives up.

i also think that making decisions when the child is older is a privilege that needs to be earned, not a right that is given and stays after bad decision making occurs. if my daughter grows up doing the right thing most of the time she will get to make bigger decisions that affect her future as she gets older. however if she's constantly in trouble at home or at school, i'm not going to let her (for example) choose to ride to school with her friends rather than taking the bus.

i know i went on a bit of a rant here as well but this really bugs me too! especially at my daughter's age when people let them decide when they want to start using the toilet and whether or not they want to eat their vegetables lol.

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Thanks Kylie, makes more sense now. Missing school once in a blue moon will not harm any child. And yeah, I'm not much for uniforms either, but that's a whole other discussion.

Kylie - posted on 01/18/2010

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Sorry kindy is 4 yr old kindergarten..she went to 3 year old kindy too.. it's two days a week. I'm not offended, i know school is attendance is very important and i understand if she misses a piece of the puzzle in pre primary then primary school is going to be difficult for her. I also let her wear her own clothes to kindy..i figured she has the rest of her school life to be in uniform.

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Jo, you did not sound corny and no need to apologize. You obviously love your son very much and that is wonderful. =)

[deleted account]

Kylie, just curious, what is Kindy? Kindergarten? If its kindergarten you really let her decide to stay home from school? That's not very practical. Sorry don't mean to offend, just want some clarification.

And I *mostly* agree with the other things you say. Children need boundaries and limitations but also need an avenue to make small choices and express their personalities.

Kylie - posted on 01/18/2010

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I'm one of those people that believe children are precious and deserve to be treated with even more respect than adults who can care for and express themselves. Children have valid feelings and their own personalities, every one of them is different and you cant possible treat them all the same. I have the same feelings of confusion when i think of parents who expect kids to be perfectly well mannered, well behaved, eat when they are told, sleep when they are put down etc etc. I think the best way children learn to confidently express themselves is by allowing them to have a voice and experience things for themselves at their own pace. An example is my son wanting to feed himself with a fork . My sister freaks out and goes on about him poking himself in the eye..that he's the baby i should feed him to minimize mess. But he does not want me to feed him.....I'm not going to force my will on him. I never forced my 4 yr old to go to kindy..i encourage her to go but if she really doesn't want to that day i respect that.

I've always listened to my children opinions and given them choices..age appropriate of course..if my son doesn't want to be put on the floor i wont force him. I ask my daughter what she feels like for dinner and she helps me get out the ingredients.. i let her choose the cereals...she can choose between the healthy cereals or the ones on special.

Why do some people think children are a problem to be managed, controlled and trained. I think children need boundaries and rhythm in the home because it feels good to know mum and dad are in charge. but they still need that room to be themselves. If my daughter wants to sit at the head of the table for dinner she can but she still has to let us know she wants to leave the table.

I lived in a household where it was pretty much Mums way or the highway..it negatively affected my confidence in myself ..so that why i choose not to do that with my kids.

[deleted account]

I think it depends on the choices in question. There is a big difference between allowing a child to eat anything and everything they want versus asking a child if they'd rather have broccoli or asparagus as a side dish at dinner. There is a difference between allowing a child to be disrespectful and allowing them to voice their thoughts and opinions. In some respects, children SHOULD be considered during decision making, and they SHOULD be allowed to make age appropriate choices.



They are children-but children grow into adults who must think for themselves and make decisions and support themselves. They are not an extension of us-they are people, too. I agree that they shouldn't have total control over such decisions as how many children Mom and Dad will have or whether or not the family will move. However, if a child really doesn't want a sibling or really doesn't want to move, the then the parents should spend as much time helping the child to understand their decision and come to terms with it as possible.



They should also make decisions such as how many children to have and where to live with their children in mind. If having another child could put the mother at great risk, then those risks have to be weighed-and the child(ren) the couple already has should be taken into consideration. If another child would overburden the family financially and render them unable to provide for all adults and children, they should re-think it. If the decision to move will place the child in an unsafe environment or make a good education unavailable, the parents should re-think.



But if we're talking decisions like how much TV to watch, whether a child eats healthy or consumes massive amounts of junk food, if the child is going to party and do drugs...Then sure, the parents get the veto. I just think there has to be a balance and an acknolwedgment that, while a child doesn't have ultimate decision making powers, the child should be considered in family decisions and should get to make some age appropriate decisions.

Charlie - posted on 01/18/2010

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I am a parent first and foremost having said that a child should be allowed to make decisions APPROPRIATE for their age , i believe it is my job to guide my child through life as a parent and educator and that children are strong , intelligent human beings capable of making decisions , learning responsibilities and taking consequences .



Having said that NO what i cook is whats for dinner , i think letting a child decide whether you have another child is ridiculous and far beyond their comprehension of what another child means , religions i believe are a very personal choice im all for teaching your own religion but am against parents making it the only avenue available .



I think there are two camps , those who want to be their child's friend and those who take their role as a parent seriously .

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