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Are children ready to make decisions like adults?

I mean if they are ready to decide about their future. Are they mature enough?

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    Apr 8 2012: One has to be young and stupid before one can be old and wise
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      Apr 13 2012: And sometimes one (like myself) also has to be old and stupid before becoming old and wise.
  • Apr 1 2012: Of course they are. And sometimes they are better than adults.
    They can be cleverer and more intuitive than adults.
    • Apr 1 2012: Ok. They of course will know better where they want go to shcool for example, but what if the decision which they make will affect on other people. Are they ready to handle this?
      • Apr 2 2012: Good question!
        When they make decisions, they also consider the aftermath which will affects on other people.
        Simply put, considering the aftereffect is also part of making a decision.
        They can be lack of wisdom, and they would probably make lots of mistakes in the process of doing that. But I would say they are also ready to handle this.
        For example. I broke my mom's precious glass doll when I was 7. I knew that if I lied to her, I would be punished for it. So I just told my mom that I'd broken her glass doll and said, "I am so sorry" .
        She didn't scold me or punish me. She just told me that from then on I should be careful and praised my honesty.
        I think what I did was wise and right thing, which means it's a great decision for me.
        Moreover, if I hadn't considered the consequences, I couldn't have been honest like that--frankly speaking.
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    Apr 3 2012: I am a single Mum to 5 children; my youngest is 12. (I was married for 25 years). The key for me lies in giving each child age appropriate decisions to make - taking care to explain the consequences of their choice. Open communication promotes honesty and understanding. My job as a Mum is to model and teach while providing a safety net for mistakes.
  • Apr 6 2012: Teenagers, especially the older ones, are searching for self-identity and independency. Youth is a time when you can learn from mistakes which you made and avoid repeating them in the future. The main points of being a teenager is to learn how to be a good person (or not). The knowledge is easily acquired when you're young. Despite caring about financial problems, they have to get to know themselves and deal with their problems such as heart broken, school conflicts, or even fashion issues. I think parents should help them while going through this process even if there's a failure in community. They ought to support and teach them in every decision making, especially the teenagers between the ages 12-16, later on let them make decisions by their own.
  • Apr 2 2012: That would largely depend on the level of thinking of the child (not even his/her age).
    It is related to the way a child is brought up. If a child is made to take his small decisions since a very young age, then naturally, the child grows up to be more clear in his/her thoughts and hence has a better decision making ability.
    • Apr 2 2012: So it's better to prepare your child from the very beginning?
      • Apr 2 2012: Totally...young children are like a pegion in a hand...if you hold it tightly, it'll try to break free from the grasp and the child will become aggressive and irritative and will take his decisions in haste and in the other hand, if you hold the pegion gently, it'll stay with you in comfort and the child will become calm and will take his decisions after a proper thought...!!
        • Apr 2 2012: I agree with you.
        • Apr 3 2012: There was a study conducted on children under the age group of 7 yrs. In this study it was found out that when children were kept away from doing something or when they were specifically told not to do a certain thing, it is then, that they start finding ways to do that thing. We must be cautious before making generalisations as one can say that the findings cannot be held true for teenagers or adolescents .
          Very correct, I will not dwell into that topic as it is a matter of intense research and debate in child psychology. But the point that I'll make here is this that the parents must be much more democratic when it comes to parenting. Open Communication between kids and parents is the key.
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    Apr 1 2012: Are adults ready to make decisions like children?
    • Apr 1 2012: It's a good question. I think, adults cannot make decisions like children, because they have different way of thinking. They will always reflect on consequences, what children do not always think about it.
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    Apr 1 2012: When you say "like adults" do you mean intelligent, clear thinking adults? If yes, the answer is NO!
    • Apr 1 2012: Yes, I mean so. Why do you think that kids can't make decisions like adults?
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        Apr 1 2012: It's important to let children make decisions for themselves where these decisions are appropriate to the child’s physical, mental, emotional and social development - and where their decision can be accommodated. When I was 14, my parents agreed to support my decision to become a vegetarian. This meant my mother made two nutritionally balanced meals for the family each mealtime. At the time I took it for granted, not realizing what a pain it was for her to have to accommodate my decision.

        However, it’s not a child’s business if parent’s wish to divorce… remarry… try for another child… adopt a child… decide not to satisfy their child’s demand for the latest trainers / ipad… use, or not use, credit… move to a new area… attend, or not attend, a church… Children will no doubt have an opinion, but the decision is made by the parents. Blurring the boundaries between parent and child is actually very stressful for children and a dereliction of a parents duty if they do place too much responsibility for adult decision making onto their children.
        • Apr 1 2012: I have friend who decide to become a vegetarian and her mother doesn't let her, so after 1 week she stopped. This mean that whatever (mostly) we decide parents still have impact on us.
          The 2nd part of your comment is true. They haven't got influence on those decisions. However, sometimes parents do ask children for an opinion and sometimes take it into consideration.
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      Apr 2 2012: Maria,

      I'm with Edward.

      Andrea
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    Apr 13 2012: Maria, I suspect it depends entirely on the child in question, and whether they were taught to consider possible outcomes in the decision process. I think it also depends on the heart and maturity of the child in question. I know children whom I would not trust with any decision beyond "what's for breakfast", and I know kids whose decision process I respect as much as (and sometimes more than) my own decision process. I can make the same statement for many adults. Also, I don't know that the question, as framed, is even valid on it's face. Part of being human is making decisions, often before we are ready to, and often with incomplete information. Making "mistakes" is a natural and powerful part of the learning process. There is no machine, or person, in this world that will function well with only positive feedback. The negative feedback of making mistakes, then recognizing, and correcting them is incredibly valuable at ANY age. Without the opportunity to make decisions, and therefore "mistakes" we as people loose that critical negative feedback loop.
  • Apr 13 2012: I allowed my child to decide where he would like to go to school he was involved in every decision as a family because he was a part of that family and it affected him. We discussed all the things that would affect him and he learnt how the process hence today he is a very aware young man who makes a choice or decision based on his instincts about what is right for him and he owns that and is willing to choose again at any time. We are taught out of making good decisions because it is all based on what other people might thing about that choice, kids don't care thy are not worried about making a mistake.
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    Apr 8 2012: I would say it would depend on the way their parents have raised them and what age they first started to make known their intentions to their parents.Maturity and a firm sense of where they are going in life but there are limits because of emotional maturity.

    A parent slowly relaxes control as a child grows and sometimes has to let them go out and stuff things up for them to understand and begin their long track through their life.Maturity can't be downloaded and intergrated it is learned as one progresses,I've yet to come across a young male that doesn't want to stamp his mark loudly within a group regardless of knowledge or a young woman that won't stop in mid sentence to oggle a pair of shoes.
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    Apr 2 2012: yes .problem is that a lot of children grow wihtout family paarents or they have parents which are the worst example for them. for human healty and happy childhood is best garanti of sucsecful future.traumas which they take in childhood never leave them. one way is to learn how to live with them.and whats not kills you its make your stronger.
    • Apr 2 2012: Good point of view. I don't even think about this situations, so maybe you are right, environment it's also important.
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        Apr 7 2012: we only must to realize what makes you cry. think about this and you find out that everything have their roots in the past.
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    Vidya G

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    Apr 2 2012: No children are not ready. I believe experience brings in GOOD decision capability. Its not that all kids cannot make decisions, those kids who have been exposed to the outside world may be ready to make some decisions. But nothing can replace the value of experiences shared by parents,friends and family, community. And nothing can replace the journey of learning through ones personal experiences.
    • Apr 2 2012: So it's important to have people close to you from which you can learn
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    Apr 2 2012: I would say some certainly can. From the age of 11 I don't think my decision making has changed very much. In fact I would trust my young self with most all of my adult decisions.
    I would venture that given responsibility, people will rise to the occasion.
    • Apr 2 2012: I think that with age we look at things differently, so our decisions are changing.
    • Apr 2 2012: Do you think that the decisions thaty we 'offer' children are mostly 'over-simplified',and that the same issues are over-complicated in the 'adult world' by consequences?
      Ask a child about recycling or the environment, and they'll likely give you the simpest, best answer to reach those ends, (saving the planet).
      Ask an adult the same, and the will most likely complain about how it (the proposed solition) will change and complicate their lives, and how, in GREAT detail, it would never work.
      This does NOT make their decision-making skills inadequate, nor their answers wrong.
      • Apr 2 2012: I think that decision which we suggest to children not always are "over-simplified" we just helping them on decision-making, but sometimes parents decide for their children. It depends on situation and family.
        • Apr 3 2012: I feel that the parents must act as a mentor and a guide for their kids but at the same time they must be cautious while making decisions concerning their child. Independence must be encouraged but since kids lack experience, they need to have proper guidance. THOUGHTFUL OBSERVATION and FRANK CONVERSATION is the answer.
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        Apr 2 2012: That's a good point. Sometimes I think kids are more apt to make up their own answers perhaps seeing the situation more simply than adults do.
        • Apr 3 2012: I find thet adults only want to see the answers that are covenient for them to apply, and when a child gives their answer, they are told, "life's not like that, you'll understand when you get older". Most problems in life are simple enough for children to understand and make totally logical decisions about. A child's answer, if not agreed upon by the adult world is sumarily veto-ed.
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    Apr 1 2012: No, children's brains are still developing complex analytical, perception and motor skills right up to their late teens. They also lack the life experience and knowledge to make informed decisions. Of course, growing up is a process and caring parents allow their children to make decisions for themselves at appropriate phases - often being aware a decision is not always the best - but making mistakes in a safe environment is the best a parent can do for their child. Of course all teenagers think they know best - but when they grow up, they soon consider children to be too young to make decisions.

    N.B. I haven't watched the TED video. "What adults can learn from kids" - I don't doubt that parents learn a great deal from thier kids - but the parent is still the boss!
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    Apr 13 2012: Decisions on what ?
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    Apr 13 2012: i think the decision making should be introduced to the children at an early age, but gradually so that when it's time to make decisions on their own, or "as adults" it won't be suck a big task or a new idea altogether.

    at one point in my life, i was left to make a big decision on my own, after a life time of not having to decide anything else besides what to eat or not eat.
  • Apr 12 2012: I think in some cases yes. Children do not have the luxury as American Children have, their first 8 years as a child. In A lot of area's of this great planet children after around 2 already know the realities of their family and own lives. For them doing chores are not an obligation to a parent but a necessity to survive. The Children are often taught by poor parents to work and help support their family before age 6. Her in America some children have shown extraordinary knowledge and maturity to save adult lives. But it is unrealistic to assume an American childs is ready for decision making.I do think children should be children but have the capacity to learn earlier and so the age of maturity lowers almost every generation. But there are different biological works going on in a teen than an adult.
    But if raised right and they see the need through poverty or adversity yes children can be taught to know right from wrong and when to get aid and how working together they can get out of a dangerous situation.
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    Apr 8 2012: if the parents rasie their childre and treat them like aduls that would make them take some discissions like adults, but they still need more time to do this. The environment affects children. I think we should make children awear of like and make them able to encounter it. They can not take all disissions like adults, but they can take some discissons according to their ecperience and encouter in life. I do belive that parents play huge role in that.
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    Apr 7 2012: Firstly a child to me is someone under the age of say 15. All people regardless of age must be able to make decisions. I believe this starts at an early age by giving children choices. Should children be given reasonable choices from the early years they will be better able to make more complicated choices.......hence decisions at a later age..

    We must also teach children that at times decisions will not be good choices. Therefore it is imperative that we arm them with good solid values and ethics to assist them to make informed decisions.. Practice makes perfect! Not that we are into perfection.
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    Apr 7 2012: hi sasa;obviously,nottttttttttttttttt....cos;they are just kids..they have no idea about life.you are telling they are no nonsense.they can't be.ı wanna give an emaple about my life.ı am 21 years old.but;ı wish ı was a child ...childhood is so different.there are not two-faced people in your life,dishonet people and liars..you are innocent and naive...willam blake says that: when a child was born;it is innocence;but it got older;it will be a bad one...ı looked at this subject in terms of anather way.but they cannot be ready to make a decision like adults...they have to a raising mind..
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    Apr 7 2012: Kids are better in making decisions and solving problems than adults are. Children are strait forward, no nonsense. If you don't feed them, change diaper or simply give attention, they'll let you know it. the basic needs are to be provided for. it is that simple. At pretty much same age they are trying to solve very first puzzles and build towers. and kids are absolutely doing it their own creative way.

    all of this happens with trial and error. as trying to walk. the persistence to success at something despite the physical pain is amazing. as any adult would repeatedly fail at his job / task and would be (painfully) punished for a week we would probably quit.

    It is all connected to "short-cuts" as Dr. R. Cialdini describes. Adults develop shortcuts (trusting a person in uniform, or a white lab-coat) as a way of coping with amount of information we are fed on daily basis. these short-cuts make more than the half of our decisions and are often useful. Also often misused by sales-people. Kids do not have these short-cuts and they are more or less making them fresh and they do think about it. "good" kids throw a look at parent and do as instructed, while "naughty" child might do the opposite just to see what happens next.
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    Apr 7 2012: Are adults themselves ready?

    It is not like the magical age of 18 or 21 changes anything. There are kids who are like adults and adults who act like kids.
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    Apr 7 2012: i think most of them cannot make wise decisions for themselves due to lack of rich experiences .
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    Apr 7 2012: and many people dont realize that their childhood give shape to them in their future life. if we try to read people we find out a lot of traumas of diffirent kinds.
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    Apr 7 2012: Considering I have known several children with life goals like "when I grow up, I want to be a dump truck" or "I can't wait to grow up so I can be a stegosaurus," I would say that they are probably not yet ready to make considerable decisions about their future in terms of life-long decisions. That said, I also think that children are underestimated far too often and that they are capable of so much more than many people give them credit for, especially in the right situation. I have seen this in many of the children that my fiance teaches. Overall, my answer would be "kind of" and it depends mostly on the decision being made.
  • Apr 6 2012: hmm! interesting question. But what is a good decision? By whose standard do you consider what is a good decision? personally decisions are just a different fork in the road with many to follow. I'm not sure if most adults do make good decisions, because they have over the years absorbed all the limitations and attitudes of the mediocre, which lets face it means most of the population.

    Young people still have that wonderment, they have not yet had mediocrity of society installed.

    So i believe Young people can make better decisions than "adults"

    But of course does depend on what you consider a good decision :)
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    Apr 4 2012: Some kids make great decisions and some adults are not capable of making even small decisions. I do not think age is the factor ... perhaps life experiences are a major influence. Allowing kids to make decisions is a good thing as long as the consequences are limited. I allow decision making and failure when not destructive. We learn fastest from failure. We often discuss what went wrong and how to correct, learn and grow from the experience. I try to hold the kids with a tender hand to keep things in control but not so tight to stiffle their growth. All the best. Bob.
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    Apr 4 2012: Hi Maria, an interesting question. I see that the focus has shifted from children to teenagers. In either case I do have a comment.
    The ability of a person to make decisions, either important or casual is formed by their extrusion through the dies of nature and nurture. As a teacher of both children and adults in very different societies, it is clear to me that some kids can make better decisions than some adults. But those are the extremes of the possibilities.
    There are both good and bad points of living longer with regards to the ability to make decisions. Given experiences we are more able to use them to shape our future decisions. But experiences can be both positive or negative, so two people who have opposite experiences will tend to make different decisions when an opportunity arises which echos previous experiences. So living biases a person to believe that life is the way it has been experienced. Reflecting that, children can often make unbiased decisions that result in positive outcomes. But it is not always true that they learn from their mistakes.
    At the core of a person's decision making process is their personal view of their 'self' and how it relates to the world at large. If a child was raised in a thoughtful, loving environment, with enough nutrition and experiences to create a positive image of 'reality,' they are more likely to be generous, thoughtful people, who make decision which reflect that upbringing. Conversely, an abused, malnourished child who has lacked positive interactions with their environment is likely to make more selfish decisions, and treat others with less love and respect than the first child.
    So the bottom line is that people learn to make decisions at early ages. By 10 years of age, the mind is nearly completely formed and the little person has become the person who will live in his life for the rest of his life. There are still many important events to come, but the little person is well on his way to an adult mind.
    • Apr 4 2012: I'm from the young generation and I think there are many factors on making decisions. For example, when I have to come to make a decision, mostly I don't know what I have to do, it depends on a situation, people, what is about and so on. Sometimes I have to and I want to ask my parents about their opinion and I want help from them. However, when it comes to decide by myself and I am confident and sure about it, I feel that I'm mature, that whatever I decide will be only my business and I am responsible for the consequances.
  • Apr 4 2012: For me, this question implies that adults have an advantage when it comes to decision making. Have you considered the reciprocal? Are adults able to make decisions like children? I have come to a point in my life where nearly every decision I make serves some future purpose. While adults may have the advantage of being able to draw on previous experience as well as critically analyze the consequences of their actions, both of these resources have drawbacks. The past is not always an indicator of the future. Furthermore, overanalysis can be paralyzing. Children don't have these resources and so they don't have the drawbacks that are bundled with these skills. As a result, they are free from biased decisions and are capable of making decisions in terms of the present as opposed to past experiences or future consequences. I think there is something to be said about the freedom one gains when released from the grasp of personal experience as well as the ability to live in the present. I think both parties (adults and children) can teach one another a thing or two about decision making.
    • Apr 4 2012: I didn't think about reciprocal. If adults are able to make a decisions like children how world would be look like?Maybe everything will be so easy and carefree. People will look different on some issues. This will be good? We are saying that adults are making decision with thinking about consequances and considering everything.Is it wrong?Maybe their approach is good. So I think if adults will able to make decisions like children maybe works at some situations but only some.
  • Apr 4 2012: If teenager is not ready to take their own decision, check the parenting again; something is missing there.

    If as a parent I am not assure or confident to let them decide, than who else...be always with them...

    People shift their jobs, shuffle their careers and start new at different ages, even after sixties, they all are adults and matured.

    Decisions are taken at one time and results came on another. The experience of all results differentiate an amateur and professional.

    Doing is decision.

    To summed up all now, we must give the right to decide at earliest possible and let them have the responsibility of the result. To let them have their own decisions and confidence on doing so, one must allow them to choose their toys, clothes, school activities and so on.. And all this at an age even earlier than teenage.

    Be sure to be with them when the fall or rise, they results are as expected or different; or even when they change their priorities and purpose behind the decision.

    You must be there...

    Let them empowered to decide and their decisions empower them...

    The Mindfood Chef
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    Apr 3 2012: Making decisions as an teenager is of course in another situation of an adult - this is common sense. Both persons are of course also making decisions about the future - it can not be avoided; it is everyday that you decide on your future - step by step.
    Unfortunately it is also common sense that the younger are less prepared to make "big" decision on the future - because they have less experience, f.e. ... However the adults should be so fair to acknowledge that experience does not prevent one from mistakes and wrong decision. It is a myth that one is getting wiser with age....you only get careful because the elder is weaker.

    So what is making decisions on the future about? It is a special decision - it is at the edge of our competences, of our safety and of our reality. For these decision one is never prepared - no matter what age. But is this a problem? I hope not!
  • Apr 3 2012: 15 is just the right age, some children simply most have a level of maturity, and understanding. Once that is reached a child can make adequate decisions.
  • Apr 2 2012: Many people in this conversation have been mentioning experience and how this would effect a child's decision making potential but what we seem to be forgetting is that by letting these children make these choices, we are giving them experience on which they will be able to build a better decision making future as true adults. Well in return you may say that the consequences of allowing mature decisions to be made by a child may have very serious side effects on the child's future but we need not forget that when a person is young his/her future is much more flexible and potentially reparable then as a full adult and therefore would we not want the people to make their 'stupid' choices whilst they are young so they can still be fixed and will in turn receive this precious experience with minimal damage made.


    While I say the above I still think it is very important to mention that I know for a fact that this matter of allowing children true freedom of choice is very personality dependent. For example I have many friends who I would certainly not have trusted with important decisions at a young age while I can think of a few which I would have. This may be placed as generalization but generally I found that I would not have trusted 'party animals' while I found that I would have trusted some more academically and more importantly free-thinking children with adult decisions. This of course begs the question of who gets these rights and who does not.

    In conclusion I still believe despite of the latter trust argument that children should certainly be given more freedom of choice then they are given at the moment because even the children who would not be ready to make serious decisions without some experience will gain this experience that they require with less damage done to their lives then if this were done at an older age. For the children which I know exist that can naturally handle tricky choices this will give them an early opportunity to build their lives.
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    Apr 2 2012: Depends on the kid. A kid by definition is not able to make adult decisions. IMO the main thing is to let kids help you as they want to.
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    Apr 2 2012: i think it is one big problem because many of adults dont know what they want. so it will be difficult for them.some will find their way some lose .so we must help them make right desicion.
  • Apr 2 2012: It's my belief that children should be able to vote, until they reach the age of 25.
    The issues are spelled out easy enough for them to understand, (they're dumbed-down enough for the rest of us),
    and ITS THEIR FUTURE that's being decided.
    • Apr 2 2012: Judging from your expression is the awareness and maturity of decision making depends on the age. That how I understand you.
  • Apr 1 2012: Children of what age?

    I find this question too vague.
    • Apr 2 2012: I mean teenagers.
      • Apr 3 2012: There are wonderful books aimed at teenagers that have a balanced view of decision making, and offer up alot of self-examination techniques to see why as teenagers we want to go opposite what our parents tell us.

        The name of one such work is:
        Questions Young People Ask, Answers that Work (Volumes I and II)

        I have found that this series sheds light into the wonderful opportunities young people have to make good decisions.

        Rishabh has brought out some very good points. Parents can do alot while children are young to instill in them the quality of "good decision making"............it can be done. Open communication with our children, and positive feedback when they make good decisions helps them grow up with a desire to be decisive.

        As an educator I have seen parents all too often make all decisions for their kids. Then when the child reaches young adulthood, they are burdened with a wishy washy teenager who is a follower and not a leader.

        This conversation can go in many directions. I hope I have shed some light into your question Maria.
        • Apr 3 2012: Thank you for your comment and thanks to all of you.
          Mary, your opinion and others help me to understand better that issue about decision making by children.
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    Apr 1 2012: children should be given the opportunity to make some decisions for there life , in order for them to learn some independence ,children change there mind a lot so they think of many thing that they want to do with there life or what they want to be
    don't question them and let them be what they want to be at the time
    and when they grow up they will figure out what they really want to do
    • Apr 2 2012: So it's better to let them make decisions and learn from mistakes? I think it's a good way to show them what consequences there might be by making a decision.
  • Apr 1 2012: In order to develop the right decision making process they must make decisions. That said they should practice make decisions in situations where they can get instant feedback on their decisions. But even if they haven't gotten to do this, you have to let kids make their own decisions. Otherwise there is the risk that they will live their life either angry at the person that made the decision for them, or they will become dependent on others to make their decisions. Besides who knows more about you, then you, so anyone else making the decisions will have less information and therefore it will be a less than perfect decision.
    • Apr 1 2012: So, do you think that by making decisions by them, they will learn from their mistakes?
      • Apr 1 2012: Yes, if they get feedback on those decisions
      • Apr 2 2012: What do you think?
        • Apr 2 2012: I think that they should make decisions if they are sure about it and they talk with their parents about the decision,because even if they think that they are doing right they might be wrong, so maybe the discussion with parents may help, but not in all cases. Sometimes they could make a decision by themselves to learn from their mistakes.
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    Apr 1 2012: There are no seeing-eye puppies. Training and experience are essential to clear thinking.
    "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (I Corinthians 13:11 KJV).
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    Apr 1 2012: No - but they should be making the decisions that we as adults sometime struggle to take - the ones that are right for us!
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    Apr 1 2012: thats all up to the parents, depends on a variety of factors, is that kids parent not too good of an adult so that the child has to be one? kids face daily decisions everday on what and what not to do, giving them oppurtunity is all they need and in many cases this can be bad and in some cases it can be good.
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    Mar 31 2012: I think that they can, they also can take their some of their own decisions better that their parents can do because I think that maturity isn't conditioned at the age, and this relies on the childs environment and personnality.
    • Apr 1 2012: I agree with you about making their own decisions in some cases, but mostly kids think that they are mature enough and decisions which they're making are right, but the truth is that they are not, so "maturity isn't conditioned at the age" sometimes is true and sometimes not. That's my opinion.