One dilemma of parenthood is knowing when your child is the right age to enjoy new privileges and freedoms. You can compare with how you were raised, or seek guidance from other parents. The fact is, every child is different. Some are more mature and able to handle less supervision. Others may require longer to grow.
All children’s choices can feel like heavy burdens on their parents’ shoulders. They are in charge with the kids’ well-being, their health, and happiness. But, as a parent, how do you decide when is the right age to give your kid an allowance? When do you allow them to wear makeup or start dating? Some argue that the decisions should be left entirely to the parents. On the other hand, others weigh in that kids should have a say as well.
With new responsibilities come new behaviors, situations, and potential issues. Here is what psychologists think is the best course of action for each situation. Take these with a pinch of salt, however. Every child is unique, and sometimes you shouldn’t rush things whether it’s in your or their favor. And it’s not fair to hold your child back if they’re truly ready to control more of their own lives.
The issue of kids watching TV has always been up for debate. The two sides can come up with pros and cons, both for allowing kids to watch a couple hours of cartoons a day or forbidding TV completely. While parents have the final word on this, they should take into account the warnings of psychologists: Children under 2 years old shouldn’t watch television
According to recent studies, leaving a toddler in front of the TV all day long will create a dependency that will be difficult to overcome later on. What is more, kids are extremely impressionable from an early age. This means they can pick up rude behaviors and exercise them on you and on other children. You don’t want your kid to learn about smoking, drinking, and violence from an early age. Pay close attention to what is running in the background, even when the children are engaged in an activity other than watching TV.
Exposing children to vulgar content, inappropriate jokes, and bad language could shape their personalities for the worst. Even if they are the right age to watch TV. Children mimic everything they see, which is why parents who allow their kids to watch TV should monitor the programs they tune into.
Earning an Allowance
All parents come across this dilemma: Should they pay their children for the chores they do around the house? An allowance will give children a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Most parents agree that the right age for starting an allowance is around 6 years old.
Parents are advised to start small. Rather than paying your kid per chore, you can try implementing a weekly reward. A 6-year-old will appreciate receiving $6 per week as a reward for completing all their tasks. Parents are also advised to encourage and reward their kids by other means than money.
Choosing Their Clothes
Kids are bound to put fun and games above practicality and comfort. How should parents act when children insist on having their own unique style by sporting their ski gear in August? Experts agree that the suitable age to start entrusting your child with dressing themselves is around 5 years old.
By this age, they can choose a sweater that will keep them warm or a pair of shorts that are comfy. However, allowing them to be the master of their wardrobe means being prepared to see them rocking kitten heels with plush onesies or overalls at a wedding. If you are willing to let them get creative, the right age for kids choosing their own clothes can drop to 3 or 4 years old.
The ability to choose their own clothes stands for more than allowing kids to make a fashion statement. It sends the message that they are now in charge of selecting clothes appropriate to the weather and occasion. This small chore can be one of the first responsibilities a parent decides to pass on. It can be carried out under the parent’s supervision at first, followed by complete independence.
Deciding on Hairstyle
Despite their age, children will want to assert their personal style, which may lead to power struggles. Parents should be prepared to receive requests for bangs and choppy hairstyle early on. However, experts say the appropriate age for saying “yes” to these requests is around 10 years old.
If you allow your children to choose the hairstyle of their liking, make sure they don’t implement it on their own. Parents should always accompany kids to the hairdresser. This will avoid unpleasant surprises, and you’ll rest assured your child has a pleasant experience.
Still, what is there to be done when the child’s desires clash with the parents’? Experts weigh in and say the right age for trusting kids with more responsibilities and decision making is 10 years old. This includes choosing their coif and clothes. Imposing your own style on your children can result in repressed anger and frustration. All parents should understand early on that their children are entitled to have different likes and dislikes than themselves. More importantly, parents should learn to agree to disagree with their kids.
Another controversial and much-debated topic, makeup can be a touchy subject for some parents. In an attempt to insist that little girls to hold on to their innocence, some parents will strictly forbid them to wear any makeup.
Most parents voted that the age they allowed or are planning to allow their little girls to start playing with mascara and blush is 12 to 13 years old. Depending on beliefs and personal preferences, the agreed age for starting wearing makeup can, in some cases, reach 16 years old.
Things are clear from parents’ perspective. Their child is beautiful with a bare face, and false eyelashes or a red lip will only look vulgar. But peer pressure and social media take their toll on little girls, whether parents like it or not. Children are urged to pick up eye liners from an early age and encouraged to perfect a smokey eye by their 13th birthday.
And there’s reasonable pushback to this concept that girls should bow to this ridiculous expectation. It really depends on how the girl feels about makeup and how she wants to present herself. Experimenting with makeup can be fun, but the pressure to wear it every day after a certain age can distract from the real business of growing up.
Parents and daughters can reach a compromise when it comes to the sensitive subject of makeup. If parents are not keen for their daughter to wear makeup, allowing her free reign to experiment at home should satisfy her curiosity until she’s older. And under no circumstances should she be required to wear makeup if it doesn’t interest her.