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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 (21-30):
Debmomto2girls
by Platinum Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM
I am not specifically talking about her or her kids. I jabe heard people say this before and don't get the benefit. I understand for children or teenagers who have a condition and/or disease, disability, etc.

My point was not about her but about teenagers in general. When do we start letting them make their own choices? At 15, 16, 18, etc I think it is a huge disservice to the child to make all their decisions and never let them develop their own ideas and interests.


Quoting cjsbmom:

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? 



Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
lokilover
by Bronze Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM

What age do you propose that we give people legal adult status?

ejsmom4604
by Silver Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 1:45 PM
2 moms liked this

The only reason 18 is the "legal adult" age is for military purposes. So military can recruit and people at that age can join. It goes to the whole old enough to fight old enough to vote (and at one time drink) issue. Though psychologically speaking a person's brain has not fully matured till approximately age 22. Are there some 18 year olds that act mature and responsible? Of course, that does not mean their brains are done maturing. There are also 12 year olds that are very mature and responsible, that doesn't mean they are "ready" for adult responsibilites. 

I honestly would prefer to see the legal age moved up to 22. Which generally allows for a child to get through post high school education of some sort and in some cases, even garner real world experience and possibly save up some money. However, leave the age to join the military at 18, as this is considered a government job. 

I know many would not like this, but seriously it would help in a lot of ways. Perhaps an "in between" stage. Not a minor, but not an adult either. 

la_bella_vita
by Bella on Apr. 20, 2013 at 1:57 PM

 I don't consider 18 a magical number just the legal number. My mother always says she it was for me. She said from the age of 17 to 18 I matured a lot.

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:24 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. 

 THIS is my life. I have a ds on the cusp of turning 18 and still in high school. He has aspergers and has been able to particpate in his IEP meeting since age 14 and make decsisons related to the plan. Once he turns 18 in 2 weeks, ds has to give us, his parents his permission to be invited into the IEP meeting. If ds does not allow us in, we will have no say in what goes on. In fact, we will be observers only in just 2 weeks in his IEP meeting. And he has 1 more year of high school to get through.

BUT: he can register to vote ( he is very much looking forward to registering as republican, be still my democrat heart) and he will have to register for the military. He is also legal in the eyes of the law.  My ds, a mere kid who we, his parents fully support in every aspect.  He will now have personal resposnibility allowed by law when he still comes to me to quiet his anxiety and talk him through a panic attack.

TimetoMomUp
by Runt on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:27 PM

I think 18 can be very immature but I also realize it is the age of legal adulthood so I don't see any point and hiding the realities of life at that point. 

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM
1 mom liked this

 I agree with you. It is vital for parents to teach their children from the time they can sit up how to be independent. (Now no one jump on me for this!!!!). But think about it. It is our job as a parent to teach our children how to hold a cup to drink from so we as a parent don;t always have to do it for them. We teach them how to use a fork and spoon and eventually a knife to cut their own food. We teach them to make chocies and decsions about an activity they want to particpate in, give them a "job" around the house and give them choices: cut the grass or vacuum the rug. That sort of thing. Teach them how to advocate for themselves when outside the home by giving them a voice while in the home. Teach our chidlren they have an opinion but not everyone will agree with them. Hone their skills and personal interests and guide them in finding a job//career that reflects those skills so they can support themselves. Make an exit plan with your child starting in 8th grade (or sooner depending on maturity) and as they grow through high school have the expectation that they will be independent from us.   

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

I am not specifically talking about her or her kids. I jabe heard people say this before and don't get the benefit. I understand for children or teenagers who have a condition and/or disease, disability, etc.

My point was not about her but about teenagers in general. When do we start letting them make their own choices? At 15, 16, 18, etc I think it is a huge disservice to the child to make all their decisions and never let them develop their own ideas and interests.


Quoting cjsbmom:

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? 



 

sheramom4
by Bronze Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM
1 mom liked this

This is why I have been working on my kids being able to make good choices, having life skills, and a certain ability to decide things for themselves their entire lives. DS will be 18 this year. He decides 99.9% of everything on his own. I will guide him, I will give him advice, but I rarely decide for him. He has a bank account, he has responsibilities. He knows how to cook, he knows how to run a household. Oldest DD is 14 and although she doesn't make all of her decisions for herself, but she has the life skills necessary to do so if need be. And with my younger two we are working on it.

I have never censored much of anything when it comes to what the kids read, watch, listen to. There are a few things. But we are also big believers in self-censorship. My youngest will leave the room, decide to wait to read a book, turn off the radio if there is something she doesn't like in it or feels is too much for her and she is 9. We obviously don't allow porn and oldest DD and I had to have a talk about 50 Shades of Grey when she asked me to get it for her. Once she found out what it was about, she had no interest in reading it.

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM

 Yep! This I think is responsible parenting. But to add, not only teaching our children how to make choices, but allowing them to suffer the consquences of those choices as well! I think the suffering part is THE hardest part in parenting.

Quoting sheramom4:

This is why I have been working on my kids being able to make good choices, having life skills, and a certain ability to decide things for themselves their entire lives. DS will be 18 this year. He decides 99.9% of everything on his own. I will guide him, I will give him advice, but I rarely decide for him. He has a bank account, he has responsibilities. He knows how to cook, he knows how to run a household. Oldest DD is 14 and although she doesn't make all of her decisions for herself, but she has the life skills necessary to do so if need be. And with my younger two we are working on it.

I have never censored much of anything when it comes to what the kids read, watch, listen to. There are a few things. But we are also big believers in self-censorship. My youngest will leave the room, decide to wait to read a book, turn off the radio if there is something she doesn't like in it or feels is too much for her and she is 9. We obviously don't allow porn and oldest DD and I had to have a talk about 50 Shades of Grey when she asked me to get it for her. Once she found out what it was about, she had no interest in reading it.

 

MsMimna
by Member on Apr. 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM

I feel it's more of " now your parents  are no longer responsible for the stupid things you do, so you better think first" ....than them actually becoming instant adults. 

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