- Family and Parenting»
When Teenagers Turn Eighteen Early Adolescence
In America, when a child turns eighteen they are legally an adult but over the years we’ve pushed back the time of maturity so that even though they are old enough, most aren’t really capable of living on their own but they don't realize this.
These young people are just getting out of high school and can’t make enough money to support themselves, although they don’t realize this. They have had a steady supply of allowance money, sometimes a car and their basic needs met their whole life (Some much more than their basic needs). They have no idea what the real world is like. Mom and Dad have always taken care of things and kids have the idea that it’s easy to be an adult and can’t wait to get out of the house so they can “do whatever they want.”
Especially during those conversations when they are wanting more freedom and their parents say “no.” You will sometimes hear, “I can’t wait until I’m eighteen so I can move out and do whatever I want.”
So what do you do when faced with these new adults who want things their way but unfortunately still live with you?
You use logic.
As tempting as it may be don't say, “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll abide by my rules.” This will only makes them want to move out even more. Yes, they do have to abide by your rules but sounding like a dictator doesn’t help. What you need to do is let them know just how hard it is to pay their own way without much education.
Make a budget
Put down on paper how things really are, giving them an idea of what housing, gas, insurance, groceries, clothing and other expenses cost. Up until now they’ve only had to pay for the occasional hamburger or other trivial purchases and don’t really have a concept of what they will be faced with when they move out.
Get out the newspaper and show them advertisements for apartments. They also need to be aware that most complexes will not rent to anyone under the age of 21. Yeah, life isn’t fair, get used to it.
If they don’t have a job, show them what they are qualified to do and how much it will pay.
Consider how much time college takes as well as studying. Budgeting time as well as finances will give them a better idea of what to expect.
When we are employed, we must follow our manager's instructions and do things their way. Your son or daughter might as well learn at an early age that you are going to have to do what someone else tells you for the rest of your life. There are rules no matter where we go and we all have to follow them.
They may think living with other people will save money and make their lives easier but they need to realize that it isn’t much different than living at home. If their friend has signed a lease they are the primary resident and will be the one making the rules and decide how things will be.
I’ve seen many good friendships end after they became roommates. Borrowing clothes, eating the other person’s food, being a slob or too noisy are a few of the things that cause friction when living with other people. Maybe your child doesn’t do any of those things but the potential roommate might. Nothing brings out a person’s true self like sharing living quarters with them.
Only making minimum wage doesn’t afford you a nice house in a safe neighborhood. Living in the ghetto or rough neighborhood is a bad idea. Check out the environment after dark and especially on the weekends when people are off work and you can see what kind of neighbors you have and how they act. You can’t always tell riffraff by the way they look but it’s usually a pretty good indication.
Check online for crime in that area. You don’t want to be in constant fear for your life or the safety of your belongings.
If you live in a big city with buses or subways this won’t be a problem but if you live in the Midwest with the rest of Americans you can’t get by without a car.
There is insurance, gasoline, maintenance, tires and if it’s a newer vehicle, loan payments. He’s an adult now; Mom and Dad shouldn’t have to pay for these things.
Some parents wean their kids little by little by making them pay a portion or all of their automobile expenses while still at home. Everyone's circumstances are different.
Moving back home
If after going over the pros and cons of living on his own you haven’t convinced Mr. Grown Up to stay home you might let him know that some young people much older than him have stayed home or moved back in with their folks in order to get through college. I know of a 22 year old young man who did just that because living with friends was too much of a temptation to go out partying and he couldn’t keep his grades up. At home his parents kept after him about his studies and he did better. In the beginning he didn’t like it but came to realize his parents were only helping and he made better grades.
It sometimes helps to have them talk to another young adult who lives on their own. An older sibling is usually a good one to fill kids in on just how good they have it. They’ve been there and if they could turn back time they would do it in a heartbeat. What teenagers don’t realize is just how much free time they have while living under their parent’s roof. Once you move out you have to work to support yourself and if you are going to college you have no time left for a social life.
In most cases, Mom and Dad don’t charge rent or utilities so you save a big hunk of change staying home as long as you can.