Is 18 the new 21?

Monique - posted on 04/13/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I have an 18 year old son who feels that he should not have a curfew and that he should be allowed to spend the night at his 22 year old girlfriend's house. He thinks he should be able to come and go without telling anyone, and I think he's insane. Am I being too strict? Is 18 the new 21?

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Ginger - posted on 07/18/2016

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I'm responding WAY late on this- but maybe a bit of my own insight can be of some help to another parent struggling with this: i am the mother of 5 sons; 29, almost 25, almost 23, 19, and 15. Only the youngest still lives at home with me. When each of mine turned 18 they automatically thought that the 'magic' had FINALLY happened and that they were free to do and say as they pleased. I could no longer 'tell' them what to do since they were, of course, legally an adult.

Let me just say THAT ONLY means one thing. That I was NO longer responsible for any stupidity they chose to do outside the home. That's it. 18 is not the 'magic' freedom rings tune they thought it was going to be. Living under my roof meant they STILL had chores and they were still responsible for picking up after themselves. When they were no longer in school I DID expect them to get a job. Not to pay rent but to pay for all the fun toys they wanted....and save for when they were ready to move out.

During the week I expected them home by 10 pm and on weekends by midnight. AND I was to KNOW exactly where they were going. Not to be large and in charge but as I explained to them I shall to you as well. Mom and dad have to work and even though you are 18 you're still my kid and I wont be able to sleep without knowing you're home and safe or without getting an updated call- it's common courtesy and respect. At the same time- I would ask if they were going to be home for dinner to know whether to have their meals on the table or set aside for later. I wanted to know exactly where they were going so that if they never came home the police would have a 'starting' point in which to search for him. They all had cells so it was no biggy for them to call and say change of plans, sleeping over at so and so's because it's so late.

Now, 2 of my oldest are married with kids and my 3rd oldest is in a serious relationship and knows that they are not ready for children yet. My son says he has to figure out how to take care of himself first...lol he was the most adamant breakers of rules.

When one turns 18 all information on what it takes to be an adult isn't magically downloaded into their brains- they still have to learn the finer details and have the maturity to back it up...that takes time. make a mistake? Own it. Need a new car? Work for it. Need groceries? Budget it into your weekly plan. (for those who moved out and then there was always enough at 'home' if need be) I was not a big B about it just firm and stood by my word. And so far? I've received 4, "You know Mom...I should have listened when you said being an adult wasn't as fun as I thought it would be..."

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/26/2014

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Gotta love all of these "who do they think they are" type posts!

The facts of the matter are, ladies, that 18 is legally considered an adult. NO, one cannot purchase alchol (in the US), but that's about it.

At the age of 18, your adult child can join the military, enroll themselves in school, gain and maintain employment (without you having to sign off on it), can purchase their own vehicles, homes, insurance (provided they have the funding to do so)

The reason they 'think' they're adults, is because they ARE.

Now, that doesn't mean that they automatically 'get' what they want. There are rules, regulations, and procedures to be respected.

Some of those include: If you are residing in your parents' home, it is common courtesy to inform them of your whereabouts, and your target time to be in the door. (This is twofold, parents worry less, and you don't get yourself shot coming in the door because they thought you were an intruder). It is also common courtesy to contribute to household expenses (Mortgage, utilities, and anything else that you partake of, such as cable, internet or phone privilege). If they are partaking of meals at your expense, it’s only right to contribute to groceries, and even to have a night to cook.

Yes, it would be NICE if they wouldn’t try to exert their adulthood so soon, but if you’ll think back, I’m certain that you’ll realize you were the same way. You couldn’t WAIT until that day you turned 18, because it was a ‘magic’ number.

Sophia - posted on 02/18/2014

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No you are not too strict.. Be a parent not a friend.. Too many parents want to be like at all times by their kids.. We'll i want my kids to respect me and know that my rules are a part of me letting them know I love them.... I love them and want them safe...

Shannon - posted on 09/06/2011

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not a all. frist its just commin curtisy to let the peole you live with know were you are and were going to be. and what time youll be home. and what is this with all theses kids18 dating older people. kids are growing up way to fast. i would not let my girls stay the night. he should have curfew there is nothing out there for tem after 10 i tell my kids thatall the time. its your house your rules and he should respect that

Mary - posted on 04/14/2010

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Your house your rules!!! My 18 year old son pushed us too and now he no longer lives here. Its really about respect.. I feel that he lives within your home you are the one who makes the call. There are rules everywhere you go. I had a curfew of 10 pm during the week and Midnight on the weekends. If he broke that curfew then he would have to find elsewhere to stay. That was his choice. As far as the girlfriend's home goes, not much you can do there as they are both legal adults. If he did not like it then he could move on his own and make his rules. I am the one who pay's the mortgage , feeds him etc. If he feels that I am being insane he could move out, and he did just that. Is he struggling sure he is? He had it easy, and his friends basicly told him that he was not being smart about it but it was his choice. I wish you the best in your decision.. Its not easy that's for sure. But important that you stick to your rules if you want him to follow them.

13 Comments

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Aislin - posted on 09/02/2016

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Legally he's an adult (at least in England) he doesn't have to do what you say anymore tbh...

Jane - posted on 04/16/2010

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My daughter is almost 20. She started college at 18, went to school out of state and while living on campus, was essentially on her own. So when she comes home on breaks, she has two choices. She has to be in the house by 1:00AM OR call me if she's spending the night at her boyfriends parents house. The 1:00AM thing is not really a curfew...it's more of a "mom doesn't sleep well wondering if she's safe" so her and I agreed that she was more than welcome to spend the night at her boyfriends parents house, or her girlfriends but if not, she needs to come home so I can sleep! I think you're being too strict in some respects but asking him to be respectful of you is absolutely OK!

Kim - posted on 04/16/2010

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Your house so he goes by your rules...simple as that...I do not think you are being to strict...until he is helping pay some bills he has to live by your rules

Tracy - posted on 04/16/2010

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My philosophy is if they are on your medical plan, they are still legally dependent on you. If they live in your house, they live by your rules. Eighteen year olds think they are adults, but they are just old enough to have enough rope to hang themselves, so to speak. You said it yourself, he's either an adult on every front or he's still a dependent.

Monique - posted on 04/14/2010

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Here's the thing about that alycia, at 18, he does not have a drivers license, a college id, a bank account, or take care of ANY of his business. He expects me to do all of that. He only exercises his adulthood when it comes to doing things he considers fun, so I do not feel he is ready to act "somewhat" grown. Either he is, or he's not. I'm goona say NOT! LOL but thank you for your comment.

Angie - posted on 04/14/2010

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As soon as he can totally support himself, he can make his own curfews, etc. I think our society has made 18 a magic number. As long as he lives in your house and you are financially responsible for him, you are also legally responsible. No, you are not being too strict, you're being a loving mother.

[deleted account]

My 18 year old son is pushing some these limits too...we let up on the weekend curfew, but we always want to know where he is, he often spends the night at his friends place, which we thought would be better than driving home in the wee hours. I would not allow the spending the night at the girlfriends. Of course they can lie and be there, and tell you they are somewhere else. On school nights I like him to be home around 10:30 or so. But he has a job that goes til 1 am now so it gets complicated! It is getting more difficult because he can move out since he is 18!

Alycia - posted on 04/14/2010

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He's 18, honestly I think you're being much too strick, he's old enough to make his own decisions. I think it's fair for him to let you know where he is but he's legally an adult and shouldn't have child like rules.

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