Parenting An 18-Year-Old Son

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 from their parents which 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.

Parenting An 18-Year-Old Son

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 can want to remain a child and receive the benefits of less responsibility.

However, at that age, they are also likely to demand more autonomy and the chance to make adult decisions which a parent may be reluctant to give them.

The 18-year-old can also be fearful of the new world that is opening up for him and actually desire 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 request financial support from his parents.

Be Loose But Not Too Loose

Managing the transition after high school graduation is especially tough.

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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 allow for more freedom yet maintain 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.

At 17 years old, parents can still lay down some firm household rules 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 yet remember that teenagers are finding this a challenging time too so if he is leaving the nest then it should be on good terms.

Recognize The Adult

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 yet 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 yet if he gets in trouble with the law then it may be time to let him learn from that experience too.

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.

If he can 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.

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Use Your Experience

It was probably a different time then but do recall that the parent was 18 once too so you can share some pearls of wisdom.

You can choose to either motivate your male teenager to do better or detail the consequences of their actions.

Try to remember that some of the same temptations remain such as alcohol, drugs, and girls.

Letting them explore while offering some advice is a helpful way to aid a male teenager’s route into the new world that is opening up before them so 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 a less hands-on experience and only need to check in when necessary.

Final Thoughts

Parenting an 18-year-old son can be tricky yet it should mean allowing them more freedom.

More room to explore the world, perhaps by learning how to drive or getting a job.

That feeling of letting go may be hard to navigate yet 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.

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.

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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.

Suzy Prichard