“I’m 18, I’m an Adult, and I Make My Own Rules…”

Lisa Cherry —  March 6, 2014


By Lisa Cherry

I am very grateful to the sensible judge in New Jersey this week who sided with common order! He stemmed a potential tide of  18-year-olds suing their parents.

Teenager Rachel Canning had a beef with her parents' rules. She decided to move out and then sued them for further support.

The judge denied two motions, for her private high school tuition and financial support.  Another hearing is scheduled for April 22 to deal with the teen’s demand for college tuition.

I agree with the others who commented on this case saying it would have been a terrible precedent to set.

Note in this case the girl was 18 years old. I think that was very significant.

I meet so many parents who are struggling with this I-am-an-adult-I-make-my-own-rules thing when their children approach or hit 18…. and for good reason.

We, as a culture, are providing our kids many mixed messages related to this issue. Consider the following list:

1. 18 year olds have the legal right to vote and sign other legal forms

2.  The national age for drinking is 21(though that is hotly contested). 

3.  Some 18 year olds are still in high school.

4.  Our educational systems in the US encourage students to achieve post high school degrees.

5.  Few 18 year olds who are students are financially independent.

6.  College cost containment causes many students to live at home into their twenties.

7.  The latest brain imaging studies have determined 18 year old brains are still immature for many functions, especially impulse control. 

8.  Our current health care regulations say young adults stay on parental health care policies until26.

So how do we as parents manage the "18 year old thing?"

As a parent of several young adults, I have some experience with this issue. And I would agree it deserves our careful attention.

For without a vision in place before our kids hit 18, we could accidentally tempt them to their own mutiny.

Has the 18 year old birthday brought new challenges in your home?

What have you learned about guiding our "adult teens" that might help others?

I am going to share more of my thoughts on upcoming posts.

Image #1:  Tanjila Ahmed "Yep. I'm old" Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Image #2: Dave Patten "18th birthday" Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)



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Related Post:

Avoiding Parent Pitfall #1: Too Much Too Soon

Rebellious Teen Goes Home: But Will You Pray?

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Gratefully Linked to:
Modest Mondays
Making your Home Sing Monday
Faith Filled Friday
Essential Fridays
Fellowship Fridays

  • Mel Caldicott

    Interesting post - it must be a challenging time to be a parent. Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.


    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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  • http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/ Nan

    I remember when our oldest turned 18 in the middle of his senior year. He was going out with some friends and we reminded him about his curfew. He was quite surprised and said "But I'm 18 now!" and we said "Yes, and you still live at home and you're still a senior in high school!"

    When he graduated and started a local junior college we relaxed his curfew a bit, because we knew that he WAS 18 and wouldn't have a curfew if he was living on campus at a college somewhere. But we still had a curfew, although it was a generous one.

    I know some parents have their adult kids living with them and they don't like what their child is doing, but they don't seem to know what to do about it or can't act on it. We've just figured that it is our house and so they need to abide by the rules of the house that everyone lives by.

    Our kids knew that we still expected them to be respectful and responsible, and that it was just courteous (not to mention a safety factor) if we knew where they were going.

    Once my husband and I left the house without telling the kids we were leaving or where we were going and they weren't very happy to discover we had disappeared without telling them, lol! We used it as a talking point to explain about courtesy and letting people know you were leaving and where.

    The one thing we insisted on was that our children always answer their phone or texts. We don't call or text very often but our kids will always respond (unless they're in a movie or working) and even our married son will answer his texts as soon as he can. Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!