Educational Consulting Blog

Real Life Begins at 18

Posted by Joshua C. Doyle, M.Ed. on Thu, Nov 03, 2016

Real life begins at 18...

Of all the ages I find the most difficult but endearing to work with it has to be the teens who are between 17 1/2 and 19. That turbulent time in-between tends to be the most stressful for families who are worried about their child being a "grown-up".  Several times a year I get rather panicked phone calls from parents whose children need some type of help or intervention . The concern they have is that once their child turns 18 s/he will be able to "do whatever s/he wants" and that they have no authority or control over their child. More often than not their soon-to-be-legal adult child has been repeating the  mantra "I'll do what I want once I turn 18."

While I greatly appreciate the predicament the parents feel they are in I have to ask them what does "I can do what I want" actually mean?

The simple truth of the matter is that turning 18 is not as big a deal as it sounds. Yes, you are legally an adult but what does that mean, really?

It doesn't mean that you're immediately capable or even willing  to pay rent, make car payments (don't forget insurance) , grocery bills/take out and most importantly, without question unequivocally, your cell phone with an unlimited data plan. When you look at it from this perspective, parents have a lot more influence and control over their children after they turn 18 years of age than before. If parents can look at it through a different lens they often find that when a child turns 18 it can be an enormous gift and a prime opportunity to have them understand the importance of accountability, integrity and humility.  If your legally "adult" child demands  to be treated like an adult it is important to remind them that they first need to act like an adult!

Tags: parenting