How old is the age when a child can make decisions for thems

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How old is the age when a child can make decisions for thems

Postby HopeLions13 » July 9th, 2011, 10:28:33 pm

I was wondering what other people thought was the age when a child is old enough to decide their own path educationally wise. I feel that once a child reaches 7th grade they should start making the decisions for the classes they want to take for their own lives not major at that age but I feel to much time is wasted in classes with kids learning information they will never need so if they had their path starting to journey away from others that would help them to learn more.

what do you think?


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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby TNHawke » July 9th, 2011, 10:52:36 pm

I think it depends on the kind of decision we're talking about.
Should a toddler be allowed to choose what they want to eat for every meal? Probably not, most would only choose sweets.
I can agree to a certain extent about adolescents and young teens being allowed to choose their classes, however, adults do have a lot more experience than the kids- even if the kids DO tend to feel that adults are idiots and they already know everything they need to in order to get by in life. Sure, you get taught some stuff you'll never need again, but, maybe in taking those classes you discover you enjoy some subject or aspect of a subject you've never considered before. The same can be said of college 'core' classes. They make us take some random classes to give us a 'well rounded' education, but a lot of those cores have NOTHING to do with our chosen major.
However, in my case, I realized that I really didn't care for all the details of what I thought I wanted my major to be. So I thought about some of the core classes I'd taken to consider what I might enjoy more. One really surprised me- Microeconomics, how businesses and supply and demand work on a local level. I finally settled on Psychology, and learning all the details and ins and outs of that satisfied me where the previous majors had not.
Back to ages and the kinds of decisions... Should a 12 year old be allowed to decide he's old enough to drive safely? Probably not. Heck, I know a lot of kids under 18 who probably shouldn't be allowed to drive because they don't have the mental maturity level... heck a lot of adults too... to concentrate on driving and everything else too. For younger kids, there's also the issues of physical ability, are they tall enough to see over the steering wheel and still reach the pedals? But, the state says if you're as young as 14, you can get a learner's permit, and you can drive at night alone by 16.

The ages of decision making are going to be different for every individual. One child may have a good head for numbers and can be trusted with various financial decisions. Another child may have a strong sense of responsibility and can be trusted to babysit younger siblings or be the sole caretaker of pets. Another child shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen alone (*cough* me, until I was like... 20).
It's all part of the growing process, and the parenting process. Parents teach their children the life lessons they'll need. They offer the child some responsibility and decision making allowances, and based on how the child does, they may either be allowed further responsibility, or they may need to have some control taken away and put back in the parents' hands.
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby Spritely » July 9th, 2011, 11:26:21 pm

I think a child can make basic decisions at around eight or so. Though, parents tend to intervene a lot and influence their child(which isn't a bad thing, mostly). At around 14-16, most kids are mature enough to realize right and wrong and what they should and shouldn't do. They're beginning to mature and learn about new things, and with that experience comes the ability to make a choice for yourself.

Although, at 18-20, most people are wiser and don't have hormones influencing them. :t-:)
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby DreamingOfIslands » July 10th, 2011, 12:59:32 am

Spritely wrote:I think a child can make basic decisions at around eight or so. Though, parents tend to intervene a lot and influence their child(which isn't a bad thing, mostly). At around 14-16, most kids are mature enough to realize right and wrong and what they should and shouldn't do. They're beginning to mature and learn about new things, and with that experience comes the ability to make a choice for yourself.

Although, at 18-20, most people are wiser and don't have hormones influencing them. :t-:)

Hormones always influence people, just not through puberty ;)

I'm in agreement over most of what's been said. For the major decisions, I think the US goverment has its benchmarks right. 18 sounds right to vote, smoke, and consent, and 21 sounds right to drink. For less important decisions, parents are important. Good parents will be able to gauge when their children are ready to make certain decisions. I agree that, though gen eds may seem like bullshit sometimes, they're important for a well-rounded education and helping students discover new interests.
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby HobbitFeet » July 10th, 2011, 1:08:24 am

Hmmm.... at 12, most people are too worried about pimples and cute boys/girls to think all that clearly.

Seriously though, everyone feels as though they're wasting time in certain classes at one time or another. The point of taking said classes is to make you into a well rounded, intelligent individual. If I called the shots at that age, I would have nixed any and all mathematical classes after that point, and would have found myself screwed come college time (almost was, regardless). Whether or not you feel as though you'll use the information is irrelevant in some ways too. We may never need to write dissertations on the Civil War, or draw conclusions about diseases from listening to a teacher prattle on about the Black Plague, but knowing our (American POV, obviously) own history is still important. I'm finding that many young people dislike reading, and there's a smaller pocket of young adults out there that do enjoy it. I can bet that many 12 year olds would love nothing more than to never have to read another book for the rest of their lives. Bad decision on all fronts. A command of the language you're learning is important for so many jobs.

On a psychological standpoint, you're not done developing. Not by a long shot. You're subject to change many times before you hit your twenties (or even thirties), so although you may find one class unimportant at one point in your life, that may come back to haunt you when your career choices start flip flopping. You'll want at least a base knowledge of most things before you look at your options, so I'm thinking your choices (regarding classes) should start coming in when high school allows you to make them. The current setup is rather convenient. You make choices based on the options they give you, but they make sure you still get a certain amount of credits in each type of class (i.e.: Language Arts, Sciences, History, etc.). Informed decisions and all.

If you want to talk about other things that don't have to do with classes, then that's when I start pulling the "it's different for everyone" argument. Some people mature faster than others, some are more goal oriented, some are more serious about their futures.
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby HopeLions13 » July 10th, 2011, 1:52:42 pm

I find all of your points interesting but what do you think about having young adults who KNOW what they want to do with their lives being able to learn more specified information for their paths?


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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby DreamingOfIslands » July 10th, 2011, 3:46:27 pm

Rueflowers wrote:I find all of your points interesting but what do you think about having young adults who KNOW what they want to do with their lives being able to learn more specified information for their paths?

Thing is, you may not really "know", even if you think you do. I wanted to be a paleontologist since I was in kindergarten. But look at me now- I'm in college, and I'm not even majoring in a science. Whoops. You know when I changed my mind? The summer before I started college. I'm an art major, and I'm /still/ not even really sure I want to do that. I keep wavering between art, science, and English. And I was absolutely /sure/ I was going to be a paleontologist for YEARS. Plus, even if you know what you want to do, it may not be what you get to do. The economy is shit in the U.S., and you may have to take a job that you find undesirable in order to support yourself and pay the bills. What if you need to take a temporary job as a cashier, but you quit taking math in grade school because you hated it? Learning the information you need to do your dream job is fine and all, but nothing guarantees that that's what you'll be doing. You'll probably need the general skills you learn in school in ways you wouldn't realize.
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby Raneth » July 11th, 2011, 8:24:45 am

Another thing to consider is that flexibility makes you a much more valuable job candidate. If I was a manager hiring programmers, who would I want-someone with an associate's degree in programming who knows nothing else, or a B.A. or B.S. who knows all of that programming knowledge along with knowledge of how to present that programming information in layman's terms, who can work with a team of programmers and correctly comment his code, and who has the general sense of the financial value of what he's working on? You learn those things by taking classes outside your major (or in high school, by taking classes you may not really want to take). Everyone should have basic knowledge of how to present ideas (English classes), how to think analytically and problem solve (mathematics and the sciences), how their country operates (history and politics) and the basics of balancing a checkbook and accounting (economics). Without those things, you're going to have a harder time in everyday life as well as being less valuable in the workforce.

Also keep in that mind that if someone doesn't show willingness to learn (as evidenced by not taking classes outside their primary interest/major) managers may read that as laziness and rigidity-not something they generally want in an employee.
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby CasinWolfe » July 16th, 2011, 7:33:14 pm

I knew in sixth grade what major I wanted, but my school didn't offer anything business related at all, so it didn't much matter. I think it depends on the student, but I also think that students should be sorted based on their intellect, not their age, seeing as I could've finished many of my classes in a third of the time. (and did in geometry, ended up fixing the mistakes in the textbook and the test keys the rest of the time) I don't know if this is a good example for the major population, but I think starting in middle school a kid should be able to take whatever classes they are capable of passing and are relevant to what they plan to do, with the default academics we have now for those who haven't decided yet.

p.s. they made me take agriculture through eighth grade, I am not a farmer, what I will ever do with the knowledge of how to ride a tractor and castrate a cow I will never know. so yes, I do think schools are much too inflexible, they make special allowances for below average students, but know one else.
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Re: How old is the age when a child can make decisions for t

Postby DreamingOfIslands » July 16th, 2011, 8:57:11 pm

CasinWolfe wrote:I knew in sixth grade what major I wanted, but my school didn't offer anything business related at all, so it didn't much matter. I think it depends on the student, but I also think that students should be sorted based on their intellect, not their age, seeing as I could've finished many of my classes in a third of the time. (and did in geometry, ended up fixing the mistakes in the textbook and the test keys the rest of the time) I don't know if this is a good example for the major population, but I think starting in middle school a kid should be able to take whatever classes they are capable of passing and are relevant to what they plan to do, with the default academics we have now for those who haven't decided yet.

p.s. they made me take agriculture through eighth grade, I am not a farmer, what I will ever do with the knowledge of how to ride a tractor and castrate a cow I will never know. so yes, I do think schools are much too inflexible, they make special allowances for below average students, but know one else.

And you're still only 15. That puts you.... Still in high school, am I right? As demonstrated by my personal story, your mind can still change. Students are, to an extent, sorted based on ability. Many schools have "gifted", "honors", or AP and DC classes that are harder and require more work. I peronally was honors and AP track through all of high school and part of middle school (I was initally placed below where I should be, due to some ignorance about "learning disabilities" and the nature of my Aspergers). It is possible to skip grades- However, I think you're overlooking the value of social skills learned interacting with your peers. I think middle school is much, much too young- With people living longer and longer, and more schooling changing the way minds work and develop, things are right about where they are. (Though, I would like to say, I mean this for decent high schools with a decent choice of electives and classes. Unfortunately, some schools are too underfunded or just too small to be able to offer students the kinds of class choices that benefit them).

About your agriculture class- Do you live in a rural area where many students /are/ farmers, are in farming families, or can easily find work as farmers? If so, this gen ed makes perfect sense. If it's likely that you'll grow up to be a farmer and can be successful doing it, it's perfectly logical to make students take a general agriculture class. I have seen about equal exceptions for below average students as above average students. As one who could be considered above average, I was allowed to take geometry before algebra I (The norm in my high school being the opposite) due to a scheduling conflict, allowed to take an extra "early bird" class, and allowed to have a study hall should I choose it (with some restrictions). My high school had a night school program that could be considered for below average students or underachievers, and some pregnant students got special perks (Which could be a huge rant from me on its own).

We've already discussed why general education classes are important, especially in this economy. The main points were that it was important for a well rounded education (To make YOU a well-rounded person) and allowed one more flexibility in future career paths (Because even if you think you know what you want to do now, you may change your mind or need to take a job in a different field due to necessity).
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