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Is a four year old wise enough to make life changing decisions?

  1. LoliHey profile image57
    LoliHeyposted 22 months ago

    Is a four year old wise enough to make life changing decisions?

    Hypothetical: You have a four year old girl who has a chronic respiratory illness and has to go to the hospital for a routine check-up/shot.  She cries and says she does not want to go.  Do you keep her home, respecting her wishes, knowing that she will surely die?  This scenario actually did happen.  The mother is set on assisting the child in suicide so she wouldn't suffer.  Thoughts?

  2. gmwilliams profile image85
    gmwilliamsposted 22 months ago


    This world has really gone bat***** crazy.  No 4 year old even if h/she is prodigious, even a genius &/or gifted in other ways can make a life-changing decision.  That is the duty of the parent to make intelligent & caring life decisions for the child.  What is wrong w/this "mother"?  I hope this "mother" will be charged w/murder.

  3. Austinstar profile image87
    Austinstarposted 22 months ago

    I hate to even read this question. Parent's are responsible for making decisions for children until they are legally considered to be "adults". It's obscene to think a child can make informed consent.
    But with that in mind. the parent has a duty to stop torturing a child that has no hope of recovery. If their daily life is not free of constant pain and yes, torture, the parents can and should opt for terminal medical care.
    If the child is going to die anyway, why should they not die in peace instead of agony?
    There are plenty of religious groups that would stop taking this child to a doctor and let her die naturally.

    1. aguasilver profile image80
      aguasilverposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      Yikes we seem to agree!

      Personally, I have always said that I want to die exactly when I should, not a second earlier, not a second later!

    2. Austinstar profile image87
      Austinstarposted 22 months agoin reply to this

      That's a fact, Jack! I want to live until I die! LOL

  4. Michaela Osiecki profile image78
    Michaela Osieckiposted 22 months ago

    I think this question depends highly on the life-changing decision. Does this child have the capacity to understand mortality? Does this child understand what's happening to their body versus what can be done about it?

    At 4 years old, the average child is not capable of understanding that a routine check up or vaccination can be life-saving and it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that their child does not become sick. A small moment of discomfort does not outweigh the potential for death or serious illness.

  5. Link10103 profile image75
    Link10103posted 22 months ago

    Short answer, no, but it truly depends on the situation. Also, you didn't structure this question properly at all to the point where it doesn't quite make a whole lot of sense.

    You start off will a hypothetical to then say it's an actual situation... So why call it hypothetical? Just give the whole situation and ask our thoughts.

    You equate a child not wanting to go get a shot to making an informed decision of essentially killing herself. Wtf? I have asthma which is annoying in its own right, I'm assuming the mentioned illness is worse than that. Even so, I would rather get a shot than freaking asphyxiate...hard to imagine a child wouldn't think the same.

    It kinda seems you tapped dance around to avoid asking a specific question.

  6. Annsalo profile image85
    Annsaloposted 22 months ago

    I am all for children being able to make their own decisions and learn through the consequences of those decisions.
    However making life altering decisions at 4 is not ok. I would not allow my 5 year old to make a decision regarding her health, or a sex change, or any other serious life altering decision.
    If an adult allows a child to make a decision like that they should not be a parent. Part of being a parent is knowing when we know best and stepping up as parents. Parenting isn't always easy. Sometimes you have to hurt a child's feelings for the sake of protecting them. I do it every time I take my youngest to the dentist.
    I prefer sticking to letting my younger child make decisions about her hair or clothes. Things that won't actually hurt her!

  7. Aime F profile image85
    Aime Fposted 22 months ago

    I don't know if it's the same story you're talking about but I believe it was a 4 year old girl as well, who had a disease that required very painful and extensive treatments and was never going to get better and the disease was going to end up killing her months down the road anyway (and most of that time would be spent in hospital getting the treatments).  Her parents let her make the decision to just die at home.  It was very controversial but I had no issue with it in theory.  The one thing that did bother me was that the parents were telling the daughter all about heaven and how happy she would be there... imo it's too young for that little girl to grasp that heaven is a religious concept and not a fact, because her parents are telling her that it is, essentially.  That didn't sit right with me at all.  It almost seemed like misleading/tricking her, and not being objective and telling her that hey, being dead might actually mean just being dead.  In the video I watched she was so excited about heaven and seeing her parents again, she was looking forward to it.  On one hand I can understand wanting to make her inevitable death a little less scary for her, but I also think she deserved to hear it both ways in order to make the decision.  I know religious folk will disagree with me, but oh well.

    I have a four year old and this would be an incredibly hard decision in a situation where she had a severe illness that was going to take her life, but if she was guaranteed to die in the near future regardless of painful treatments then I would let her stop.  Ultimately I wouldn't want her to suffer more than she had to.  But if there was even a small chance she would survive with a decent quality of life then I would make her get the treatments, because then it goes from letting her choose whether to die comfortably a little sooner or painfully a little later, to potentially IF she dies, and the latter isn't a decision I could let a young child make.

  8. cfin profile image81
    cfinposted 22 months ago

    NO! Is this even a question? That's why they have guardians.

    Source: I have a 5 year old.

  9. tamarawilhite profile image92
    tamarawilhiteposted 22 months ago

    That's why adults have authority over their children. Because children are not allowed or considered able to make such decisions.
    We don't let 16 year olds take out loans for cars, and that's not even life threatening (though a teenaged driver might be).

  10. GinaVanEpps profile image60
    GinaVanEppsposted 17 months ago

    I used to work for a children's cancer foundation. I saw a lot of children suffer and eventually die. I believe parents the right to consider their child's wishes when making medical decisions in regard to terminal illnesses and as long as they are in agreement, other people should not be allowed to interfere. I've seen teenagers terminate treatment and ask to be taken home to die. I've seen terminally ill children suffer long beyond reason because current laws would not give them the option to choose assisted suicide. I have a friend who has what will become a terminal illness and I have already given her my support to seek an assisted suicide in California, where is has become legal, whenever she is ready. I believe our society interferes too much in other peoples life decisions. You don't have the right to interfere in someone else's life choices in my opinion. It's not your life, it is theirs. Mind your own business. You are entitled to have your own opinion but you don't have the right to force your views on someone else. I believe you are not just a body but you are a soul and your soul is eternal, you will live on regardless of what happens in this life. Death is not the end, it's just a chapter.