Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do Kids Get to Make Choices?

You may say, I always give my kids choices. Do you want chicken or pasta for dinner? I’m not talking about the small matters. I’m thinking bigger. Can your 14 year old decide what kind of clothing to wear? Who to be friends with? What books to read or movies to see? Researcher Larry Nucci says yes, they can. In fact, if they don’t, you’re going to have angry or even depressed kids.

I have to agree. Everyone is entitled to a personal domain. I may not always agree with my kid’s choice of friends, movies or language, but the big things are where I’m going to fight my battles. These include morality and safety.

Morality: No, it isn’t okay to lie about something important just because you won’t get caught; Yes, we give to the needy whenever we can, despite having to give up something ourselves to do it; No, soccer is not more important than school.

Safety: No, speeding is not okay even if you don’t get caught; No, it’s not okay to use your cell phone while driving.

Of course we all have our own ideas about what’s important morally and regarding safety. That means you put your personal parental mark on things and good for you. But you’ve got to consider what happens when you cross the boundary into the “personal.” And if you don’t think you’re kid has any personal privacy while they’re living in your house, consider this: When are they going to be able to make important choices while also having the safety net of parents?

Consider the current film An Education as a case in point. No Wikipedia entry here because it’s a total spoiler, but check out the film. 

No comments: