Parenting an 18-year-old son can be a roller coaster journey, indeed. Why? Let us tell you.
Reaching the age of 18 is seen as a milestone for male teenagers as the world opens up a little more. That should mean more independence and more letting go of their parents. The transition can be a struggle.
The utterance “I’m 18 now, I’m an adult, you can’t tell me what to do” can cause problems, especially if the son still lives at home.
Managing to maintain household rules and a level of respect becomes a challenge in itself.
In this article, we will look at managing the transition of a son reaching 18, particularly how to be loose as a parent but not too loose. We will also look at how the parent should still be recognized and how you can use your experience.
Managing The Transition
Once a male teenager hits 18, you can argue that they have progressed from adolescence to adulthood. This can be a tricky transition for both him and the parent as the situation can be manipulated. For instance, the male teenager may experience an identity crisis. He wants to remain a child and receive the benefits of less responsibility.
However, at that age, they are also likely to demand more autonomy, for instance, in decision-making, just like adults. In this case, most parents may be reluctant to let them.
The 18-year-old can also be fearful of the new world that is opening up for him and actually desires some support.
While he may want to borrow the car occasionally and be treated like an adult, he may not want to do his own laundry. If he is able to get a job, then he may relish that income yet still lack financial responsibility by asking their parents for some money.
Be Loose But Not Too Loose
Managing the transition after high school graduation is especially tough. It can prove difficult to know how to respond when a male teenager shows out-of-control behavior or breaks a house rule. They should know better, yet not long ago, he was still a child.
Try to set boundaries during the summer between graduation and college, which allows for more freedom yet maintains respect in the household as soon enough; he will have left.
With a date set for his departure from the household, the situation can leave a parent feeling powerless. But that will teach him about time management, allowing him to digest that he needs to leave soon.
At 17 years old, parents can still lay down some firm household rules and consequences. And perhaps lay down curfews, yet a year on that is hard to control. There is also the possibility of the 18-year-old son leaving on bad terms after a series of notable arguments.
It can be tricky. However, remember that teenagers are finding this a challenging time, too. So if he is leaving the nest, then it should be on good terms.
How To Set House Rules With Teens? Here Are Some Tips!
The adolescent phase is when a small child begins to transition into an adult human. They will try to explore new things that their parents might have forbidden them, such as coming home late at night, going to parties, etc. Parents also often have difficulty dealing with this shift in behavior and character. Some of them also try to be strict by applying house rules to their teens.
But here’s the thing. Most likely, they will become rebellious and will not cooperate in following the rules and boundaries you create. To prevent something like this from happening, we have tips to make house rules with consequences your teens will most likely enjoy and willingly comply with.
- Teens are most likely to follow house rules when you discuss them prior to sealing the deal. You can involve your daughter or son to make regulatory points that benefit both parties. In this case, the kids and the parents.
- After determining the points of the rules that will be made, you can further discuss the reasons behind the rules. Teens will be more receptive when logical reasons are offered to them.
- Emphasize that there are always consequences for every rule that is broken. Make sure your teens are aware and agree about it.
- As a parent, you also have to be consistent and apply the rules and consequences for all members of the family without exception.
- Avoid excessive punishment, such as adding house chores, limiting weekend screen time, or forbidding them from meeting their friends. While introducing rewards and consequences is essential, teens will not cooperate if you introduce a harsh approach.
Recognize The Adult
At 18 years old, parents should recognize that male ‘children’ are now adults. That milestone should alert both parents and teenagers to new freedoms, responsibilities, and choices.
As a parent, it may be a compromise between allowing him more freedom to make his own choices and letting him learn from bad ones and poor decisions.
There is still an element of growing up to be done. So, you can allow him to be out later. But if he gets in trouble with the law, then it may be time to let him learn from that experience too. It can teach him about self-discipline to not easily break the rules.
While some bad behavior can be excused as a child, entering the big, bad world can be a whole new learning experience. If he is allowed to drive a car, then let him learn and let him deal with the rigors of dealing with bad drivers on the road.
In case he has career planning and manages to get a job, then allow him to figure out how to manage a boss and deal with taxes. Then there is breaking the law; at 18 years old, he can expect bigger fines and even jail time as opposed to being put on probation as a juvenile.
Use Your Experience
It was probably a different time then, but he did recall that the parent was 18 once, too. In this case, a parental role is necessary. You can share some pearls of wisdom you got along the adulting journey you experienced. You can choose to either motivate your male teenager to do better or detail the consequences of their actions.
Remember that some of the same temptations remain, such as alcohol, drugs, and girls. Letting them explore while offering some advice and maintaining parent-child communication is a helpful way. It guides a male teenager’s route into the new world that is opening up before them. Thus, you can extend that curfew.
Try not to see yourself as a parent at this point, less of a manager and more of a consultant. If your 18-year-old son wants your advice, then they know where you are to find it. As male teenagers have more responsibilities, the parent can enjoy less hands-on experience and only need to check in when necessary.
Parenting an 18-year-old son can be tricky. On the other hand, it should mean allowing them more freedom. More room to explore the world, perhaps by learning how to drive or getting a job. Those life skills are necessary for him to enter a long-life journey he is about to join.
That feeling of letting go may be hard to navigate. However, by allowing them more time to learn from their own mistakes, you can manage your own transition. Instead of being a manager and dealing with their day-to-day living, the parent becomes more of a consultant.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are Parents Responsible For Their Offspring After The Age Of 18?
Parental obligations should still seem important but they typically cease when a child hits the age of 18.
This is known as the age of majority and applies in most US states.
You may want to consult various legal age laws in your state simply to check that this standard applies as it can vary from state to state.
How Do You Discipline An 18-Year-Old If They Are Not Bothered About The Consequences?
This can be difficult as an 18-year-old has more freedom as an adult.
With this in mind, you should be clear about your expectations in the household even when they have reached this milestone age.
Remind them often about what you think of their behavior and whether it meets your expectations.
However, there is also some leeway in embracing natural consequences that come with new freedoms.
If the 18-year-old needs to be punished then it needs to meet the crime and be logical as it may be harder to set a curfew.
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