One objective of a parents ‘job’ is to prepare their child for a ‘successful’ life so they can function successfully in society and be a better parent than their parents...

The challenge for a parent is to know when to allow your child to make their own decisions and when is it appropriate to mandate.  It is said that when you teach them correct principles early in life, they will have the right foundation to make their own decisions and they will make good decisions. 

However, if focus is on ‘teaching’ and not allowing them to experience the process of making their own decisions until they are out of the house, will they be prepared to make their own decisions?

On the flip side, if children are allowed to make all their own decisions while they are still too young and are shielded from the true consequences of those decisions and without receiving that ‘firm direction’, will they be ready for the future? 

Those that avoid that ‘firm direction’ appear to try to be more of a friend to their child.  What are the long term impacts of that approach?

Is it important for a child to experience the consequences of bad decisions early in life?  Is learning by other’s experiences adequate?  When is the right age for a child to experience the consequences of their decisions? 

A child to make decisions on things with short term consequences.  How do you know the difference between short and long term consequences?

Your thoughts?