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Father, Mother, Now Children Calling the Shots

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In the 1950s, “Father Knows Best” was one of the most popular shows on television. It optimized the era when fathers were the heads of the household. They were respected and they had the final say in whatever needed to be done and when it would happen.

At the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, the “women’s liberation movement” came roaring into vogue. Women asserted themselves into decision-making at first by being included with their boyfriend or spouse and eventually becoming the primary decision-makers.

Eventually, the children in the family, left to their own devices, made their own decisions and finally, many children were given the power by their parents to decide many decisions in family matters.

Parents relinquished their power to the children to win their favor and struggled to dominate the family. The entire family lost out since children have limited general knowledge for making good decisions. The parents had to live with the children’s horrible decisions that were not thought out for everyone’s benefit. The parents deferred to the child’s immediate wishes without considering the precedent being set. For example: “I want to join this dance studio but quit in a week.” ”I want a two-wheeled bicycle and I never want to ride it.”

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Children’s lack of experience limits their knowledge base, which does not bode well for our ability to maintain our status as an economic and political powerhouse. The immature thinking process of young people at the control of power is very problematic for our future as a nation. Without wisdom guiding us, we can unfortunately wind up in a devastating economic or political crisis.

Immature individuals often jump at an opportunity to grab the golden ring without examining the possible pitfalls of their strategy. Impulsive decision-making can and often does end in disaster. This is much more likely to be found in spontaneous, immature individuals who are taught that once you are given what you want, you can change your mind.

Modern children in many families are voicing what they want to buy for the family dinners, deciding what shows to watch, what expensive and fashionable clothes to buy, which thousand-dollar concerts to attend, freaky colored hairstyles, piercings, what school to attend, planning family trips, everything that previously was the responsibility of the parents. Children are being allowed to make serious decisions without the knowledge and wisdom to do so.

Whenever there is a conflict about buying something, generally, the children are able to convince the parents that since everybody else has it or is going to get it shortly, they should get it as well. After a long, drawn-out argument, the parents grant the wishes of the child, and the parents are stuck with an expensive, unused item.

Allowing children to make these choices when they do not have the knowledge to do so gives them the false sense that they can make good decisions. Placing this responsibility in the hands of our children is short-sighted. Besides not having the knowledge and experience to make complicated decisions, it gives them the idea they are equal to an adult in making these decisions for their future. They think their knowledge is on the same level as their parents. They are wrong, but the parents pay the price in aggravation for allowing an immature child’s thinking process to negatively affect the whole family.
Children are not capable of making adult decisions. This is why, in law, a person has to be 18 to make many decisions, so parents have to sign important forms for them.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers and blogs, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. Dr. Maglio is an author of weekly newspaper articles, INVASION WITHIN and the latest book entitled, IN CHARGE PARENTING In a PC World. You can see many of Dr. Maglio’s articles at www.drmaglioblogspot.com.

Dr. Domenick Maglio
Dr. Domenick Magliohttp://www.drmaglioblogspot.com
Dr. Domenick Maglio holds a Ph.D. in Human Development with more than forty years of experience in the field of education and mental health. During his career, he has worked as a clinical psychologist in the Florida prison system. He served as the director of Hernando County Domestic Violence program for ten years. He also served as the director of Open Door for Mental Health, a program helping mentally ill patients transition from state mental hospitals to the community. He taught for a decade in higher education and served as a board member with the National Independent Private Schools Association.
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