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Teens and decision making: Do I let my teen go out with friends?

Teens and decision making: Do I let my teen go out with friends?

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Teens and decision making: Do I let my teen go out with friends?

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Question: I need help with deciding whether or not to allow my 17 year old son to go out this Saturday night, as he has too much work to get done. Do I allow him to go out to an event he has planned for months, and let him reap the consequences of not having his work done? Or do I turn this into a lesson of no work no play?

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This is a tricky one! I wonder if we look at this from a few different perspectives will it help you come up with your own answer. Let's break down some of the questions and statements here.

 

1) I need help with deciding whether or not to allow my 17 year old son to go out this Saturday night, as he has too much work to get done.  

"As he has too much work to get done”- I wonder what your teen’s perspective is on his workload? Have you had a discussion with him about what needs to be done or are assumptions being made. If we can help empower the teen to better understand what needs to be done, what time frames are involved and finally why, you as a parent, are worried- the teen will have more information to make an informed decision.  Possibly your teen may come up with his own solution or compromise based on better information.
 

 

2) Do I allow him to go out to an event he has planned for months, and let him reap the consequences of not having his work done?

This makes it all a lot harder. Your teen is probably really looking forward to this but at 17 he is most likely in the midst of a serious academic workload. I am not sure that he will fully understand the consequences of his actions and this is a great time for you to both discuss and negotiate an outcome or discuss the reality that sacrifices may need to be made. As the adult you will have a better grasp of what changes could be made so that that all options are considered.  

 

3) Or do I turn this into a lesson of no work no play?

 

You do have the option of standing your ground and not letting him go. I would encourage you to consider the pros and cons to this decision. Going or not going will have significant consequences, some may be immediate relating to his not going to the event, for example, feelings of missing out on something important with his friends. Alternatively, not completing academic workloads may have longer term consequences.

 

In summary, this is not a top down situation, your son is probably aware of his workload requirements but is conflicted as he also wants to go to the event. As a parent you can give perspective and encourage negotiation and compromise, and model problem solving skills. Be true to yourself but this is also an opportunity for you to support your teen’s development into an independent adult. Show your teen you can listen to their opinions and trust them to make decisions. Spending time on your connection and communication with your teen will no doubt be a positive outcome of this dilemma, whatever decision you make!

 

James, Child and Family Professional at The Benevolent Society

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