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.
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 #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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