Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Parental Responsibility for Teens Over Age 18?

Today on the website www.communati.com a parent posted a very well-written blog (http://communati.com/jellen) asking about parental responsibilities for a teen under and over age 18. Here’s a small part of that post:

Does age 18 make my daughter an adult or just a legal one? Do I parent her as an adult or a dependent child? Do I require of her to dress with modesty because she is still in our home, or do I let her dress as she wills because she is an adult?

And here’s the comment I left on her post – addressing only a part of what she wrote:

I have a different take than many parents. I believe that high school does NOT prepare a teen for the adult world. There are so many, many things that are NOT taught. And these can range from things such as the difference between a savings account and a Certificate of Deposit to major subjects such as what happens to your credit standing if you don't pay your rent on time. I think it is the parent's responsibility (regardless of whether the child is past age 16 or 18) to continue providing real-world advice.

What I think is most lacking in young people's preparation for life is someone who works alongside of the teen to prepare him/her for adult life in the working world. For example, teens do NOT understand without help that dressing incorrectly can hurt their image – even when applying to a job such as a barista at Starbucks.

What I think you need is to find a mentor for your daughter who is not you so there are no mother-daughter issues to get in the way. This can be an actual person or an online person. As an example, I met with a high school junior two years ago and I was very upset that a kid who had so much going for him did not seem to "get" what he needed to do. A month ago – two years later – he emailed me out of the blue to tell me how he has been following my advice.

(See my blog entry http://flippingburgersandbeyond.blogspot.com)

I strongly urge you to find someone who can work with your daughter. (Not necessarily for pay.) This could be a career counselor at her community college or a former teacher who your daughter liked. It is so important though difficult for teens to understand that what they do now can affect the rest of their lives. And as parents we want to help make those lives as happy and productive as possible.

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1 comment:

Dona said...

As the mother of a nearly 17 year old daughter and 15 year old son, I'm glad I found this Weblog -- I think the information you provide is going to be valuable for us in the coming months and years. Has the book been published yet?

Have you read Alexandra Robbins' "The Overachievers"? If so, what is your thoughts on it? (my kids go to the school portrayed in that book)

Aside: I found this via a search on your name after learning you grew up in Elgin, Illinois -- I did too.