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What's so magic about the age 18?

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The other post about censorship (and the reason it was started) got me to thinking. 

What is so magical about the age of 18 that suddenly turns a formerly immature 17-year-old teenager into an instant adult? The "he or she is 18" argument gets used a lot, so it prompted to me explore the question. 

While I'm sure there are some very mature 18 year olds out there, they are the exception to the rule in my experience. I often hear the justification that at 18, "kids" should be allowed to do X, Y or Z, even if they still live under their parents' roof and still are in high school. It's like that magic number has suddenly turned them into rational human beings able to make complex decisions without any help from anyone. 

Personally, I have a family member who is a very (and I mean very) immature 19 year old. She's so immature that I don't really look at her and consider her an adult capable of making her own decisions. 

So I ask, what is it about 18 that makes you (general) think that person is suddenly capable of making solid decisions and no longer needing the help of a parent? 



by on Apr. 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Replies (11-20):
cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Apr. 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Yep. If an 18 year old is living under my roof and not paying a single dime toward their upkeep, they don't get to make the final decision about anything. If that makes me overprotective, then I guess I am. 

Quoting talia-mom:

When you can pay your bills, then you can set your rules.

18 is the legal age we have. We need one and I think it is the best age to do it.



cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Apr. 20, 2013 at 11:56 AM

We don't know the exact circumstances of her or her kids, so we probably shouldn't judge based solely on the kids' ages. Just because your 18 year old might be really mature and capable doesn't mean every 18 year old will be. I will face this someday when my child - who is on the autism spectrum and tends to be incredibly naive about everything - turns 18. I think he will still need every bit of guidance we can give him because of his special need. 

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

I do not think 18 is a magical age at all. I think sheltering a teenager and not allowing them to make their own decisions will make for an adult who cannot think for themselves.

I was just blown away (and maybe it is just me) that anyone would tell an 18 year old what movie the can watch or book they can read. I think 16 is unbelievable also. At what age do they become repsonsibke enough? When they can pay their own bills? That makes them
Suddenly mature enough?

I am just not getting it.


Quoting cjsbmom:

The other post about censorship (and the reason it was started) got me to thinking. 

What is so magical about the age of 18 that suddenly turns a formerly immature 17-year-old teenager into an instant adult? The "he or she is 18" argument gets used a lot, so it prompted to me explore the question. 

While I'm sure there are some very mature 18 year olds out there, they are the exception to the rule in my experience. I often hear the justification that at 18, "kids" should be allowed to do X, Y or Z, even if they still live under their parents' roof and still are in high school. It's like that magic number has suddenly turned them into rational human beings able to make complex decisions without any help from anyone. 

Personally, I have a family member who is a very (and I mean very) immature 19 year old. She's so immature that I don't really look at her and consider her an adult capable of making her own decisions. 

So I ask, what is it about 18 that makes you (general) think that person is suddenly capable of making solid decisions and no longer needing the help of a parent? 




FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 20, 2013 at 11:58 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting ashellbell:

You got me. I think 18-21 are still just kids. I have an unpopular opinion, I know.

Your opinion is spot on with  mine.

Often times, I feel that that 'legal' age should not be as low as it is.

However, in raising it that would bring parents back in to the fold of being legally responsible for their children longer.  Most are not willing or in favor of this.

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting ashellbell:

You got me. I think 18-21 are still just kids. I have an unpopular opinion, I know.

Your opinion is spot on with  mine.

Often times, I feel that that 'legal' age should not be as low as it is.

However, in raising it that would bring parents back in to the fold of being legally responsible for their children longer.  Most are not willing or in favor of this.

How would you like to be me? With the way special education laws are set up, my son will be legally responsible for his autism treatment and his school IEPs when he turns 14. Personally, I think that is way too young for a child with special needs to be deciding on what is best for the treatment of their special need. This is probably why so many people go without proper mental healthcare in this country, because they are legally allowed to deny it at age 14. 


FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM


Quoting talia-mom:

When you can pay your bills, then you can set your rules.

18 is the legal age we have. We need one and I think it is the best age to do it.

I agree with the first sentence.  

The second sentence, while I do see they why I really think 18 is still a kid and most are not fully responsible without the help, or the shoulder, of mom and dad.  But yes, there does need to be an age.  Parents do not want to be legally responsible for their children any longer than they have to.  

I just find myself shaking my head, more often than not, at the way most think that that magical birthday means the individual has changed over night. 

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:02 PM


Quoting cjsbmom:


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting ashellbell:

You got me. I think 18-21 are still just kids. I have an unpopular opinion, I know.

Your opinion is spot on with  mine.

Often times, I feel that that 'legal' age should not be as low as it is.

However, in raising it that would bring parents back in to the fold of being legally responsible for their children longer.  Most are not willing or in favor of this.

How would you like to be me? With the way special education laws are set up, my son will be legally responsible for his autism treatment and his school IEPs when he turns 14. Personally, I think that is way too young for a child with special needs to be deciding on what is best for the treatment of their special need. This is probably why so many people go without proper mental healthcare in this country, because they are legally allowed to deny it at age 14. 

It should not be this way.   You should not have to worry about this on top of trying to do what is best for your son.  

talia-mom
by Gold Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:04 PM
1 mom liked this

I am totally looking at it from my own perspective, but I have known very few people that I didn't think were mature enough to be seen as an adult at 18.


Hell, several friends and I toured around Europe for 4 months after we graduated from HS.  Never once did anyone question if we were mature enough to do that.


I think we often have decided now that 26 is the new 18 and 18 is the new 14 for some reason.  Part of it is the giganitc rise of helicopter parents.  I have friends who teach college and parents argue with them about their child's grade.   Many parents don't know when to let go.


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting talia-mom:

When you can pay your bills, then you can set your rules.

18 is the legal age we have. We need one and I think it is the best age to do it.

I agree with the first sentence.  

The second sentence, while I do see they why I really think 18 is still a kid and most are not fully responsible without the help, or the shoulder, of mom and dad.  But yes, there does need to be an age.  Parents do not want to be legally responsible for their children any longer than they have to.  

I just find myself shaking my head, more often than not, at the way most think that that magical birthday means the individual has changed over night. 



FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:06 PM


Quoting talia-mom:

I am totally looking at it from my own perspective, but I have known very few people that I didn't think were mature enough to be seen as an adult at 18.


Hell, several friends and I toured around Europe for 4 months after we graduated from HS.  Never once did anyone question if we were mature enough to do that.


I think we often have decided now that 26 is the new 18 and 18 is the new 14 for some reason.  Part of it is the giganitc rise of helicopter parents.  I have friends who teach college and parents argue with them about their child's grade.   Many parents don't know when to let go.


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting talia-mom:

When you can pay your bills, then you can set your rules.

18 is the legal age we have. We need one and I think it is the best age to do it.

I agree with the first sentence.  

The second sentence, while I do see they why I really think 18 is still a kid and most are not fully responsible without the help, or the shoulder, of mom and dad.  But yes, there does need to be an age.  Parents do not want to be legally responsible for their children any longer than they have to.  

I just find myself shaking my head, more often than not, at the way most think that that magical birthday means the individual has changed over night. 



You bring up some good points.

I have to head to work soon.  Ugh!

Hoping this conversation is still active later on this evening.  

Racer15
by Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM
I think 18 is a happy median. At 18, many folks are still a little immature, but old enough that they need to be responsible for their own actions. You can only hold on for so long.
talia-mom
by Gold Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM

You also have to understand, I come from the land where mom and dad give you your first beer at MArdi Gras at around 10.


It's a whole different world here.


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting talia-mom:

I am totally looking at it from my own perspective, but I have known very few people that I didn't think were mature enough to be seen as an adult at 18.


Hell, several friends and I toured around Europe for 4 months after we graduated from HS.  Never once did anyone question if we were mature enough to do that.


I think we often have decided now that 26 is the new 18 and 18 is the new 14 for some reason.  Part of it is the giganitc rise of helicopter parents.  I have friends who teach college and parents argue with them about their child's grade.   Many parents don't know when to let go.


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting talia-mom:

When you can pay your bills, then you can set your rules.

18 is the legal age we have. We need one and I think it is the best age to do it.

I agree with the first sentence.  

The second sentence, while I do see they why I really think 18 is still a kid and most are not fully responsible without the help, or the shoulder, of mom and dad.  But yes, there does need to be an age.  Parents do not want to be legally responsible for their children any longer than they have to.  

I just find myself shaking my head, more often than not, at the way most think that that magical birthday means the individual has changed over night. 



You bring up some good points.

I have to head to work soon.  Ugh!

Hoping this conversation is still active later on this evening.  



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