“Now that I am 18..”

Well, my teenager daughter finally reached a milestone.. she turned 18!

She could not wait for the day she was legally an adult. The first thing she did.. buy a lottery ticket! That was the rite of passage to adulthood. She could go to the counter and ask for a scratch off. Oh, the freedom!

The day after her birthday, her voter’s registration card came in. The joy she felt now that she could vote, and that her opinion mattered to the world was so amazing. It was wonderful seeing the things we take for granted as full-grown adults versus the outlook of new adult entering the world. I have to admit, it was sweet and cute at the same time.

It wasn’t too long after that Olivia began reminding me that “now that I am 18..”, as if the rules changed, as if life would change, as if things would be different now. Did I miss something? Yes, you are correct Olivia, there will be changes. You can now legally vote. You can get arrested as an adult. You can buy a lottery ticket. You don’t need my permission legally for anything.  I need your permission to talk to doctors about your health or your health bills, and the list goes on and on. I didn’t understand the big deal of her wanting to be an adult so fast. I kept telling her, “Olivia, why are you in such a rush to grow up? Enjoy life. Stop and smell the roses.” She didn’t buy it. Maybe someday she will.

I did remind her that even though she was 18 and legally an adult, she was still my daughter and still had to follow the house rules, or she could go live somewhere else. I told her she had to respect the house rules whether she was 8, 18, 28 or 58.  Being an adult is knowing the difference between disrespect and respect and behaving in an appropriate adult, mature manner.

Eighteen is just a number. At 18,  you are legally an adult, but you are still a kid with a lot of growing up to do.  I told Olivia, “you are still my daughter and I will still discipline you no matter how old you are.” You don’t stop being a parent because your child is an adult. You never stop. The worries just get bigger.

The week of her birthday, Olivia decided to watch home videos of herself with her cousin, Amanda, and her brother, Matthew. I loved hearing her laugh out loud at how precocious and vain she was at such a young age. She loved hearing herself talk as a child and the crazy adorable things she would say. I think it was at that moment she realized that being a child wasn’t so bad — no worries, no drama, no responsibilities, just silliness and laughter.

That same week, we went to her annual physical to her pediatrician she has been going to since she was six months old. She told me, “Now that I am 18, I want to go to an adults’ doctor office, not a kids’ one.” I said fine. Well, her pediatrician congratulated her on turning 18 and  told her she could continue to go there until she was 21. Olivia said, “No it’s ok.” The doctor then proceeded to tell her how she looks amazing and takes great care of herself and how she remember when she was a baby and all the times she would come into the office. After the doctor left, Olivia said to me, “Mom, I think I am going to stay here after all. I like this doctor a lot.” I told her that was a smart adult decision.

Having your child turn 18 doesn’t mean the rough teen years are over. It just means the crazy adult ones are coming!

So, I ask all the parents out there, how was it when your teen turned 18? How did they react to becoming legally an adult? How did you react?

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5 Comments

  1. Leslie Maloney July 20, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Your daughter sounds like an amazing young woman who is proud to be coming into her own! When my own kids turned eighteen, they too felt more in the “driver’s seat” of their own lives. I always tried to emphasize to them the journey of life over the destination. That they would define and redefine themselves over and over again as they moved through life. That’s what keeps it fun and interesting! Sounds like she is well on her way!

    Reply
  2. Melody July 23, 2015 at 11:18 am

    My son is 17 right now and we are having these conversations! Interested to hear some advice, stories from other moms. Loved this post!!

    Reply
    1. mominthesprings October 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you Melody! Love your feedback and enthusiasm! Keep on following and commenting!

      Reply
  3. Amy August 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    My daughter has been dating a boy that has lied to us, manipulated us, & crossed our boundaries. We’ve seen some controlling issues by way of name calling, threatening, & belittling her. Before him, she was on the National Honor Society & leadership in her church youth group; strong in her faith. Opportunities were opening for her. She was offered another leadership position through an after school Christian program and also asked to mentor younger girls. As she began to date him just as she turned 17, she started to change. We held firm to the boundaries, but they kept crossing them. She became withdrawn. She threatened to move out if we told her to end the relationship. She threatened the “I’m almost 18!!” card more times than I care to remember. This unhealthy soul tie grew fast and furious. In 1 year, she became a totally different person. All those opportunities slipped threw her fingers. Just after her 18th birthday and entering her senior year, more of the same started surfacing again. This was affecting our whole family. My once easy going sweet girl of just a year ago became hostile and belligerent. We told her she needed to take a break from her boyfriend …that we all needed a break. I think she’d been waiting for that moment because it didn’t take her very long to pack some bags and walk out as her bf pulled up. It’s been a heartbreaking road. She’s moved in with my husband’s parents which has caused a whole other set of issues between them and us. Like a wild fire, her relationship with this young man & the choices she’s made has devastated her parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends. As she stays with the grandparents that enable her to continue to date him, she grows even colder towards us. I don’t know how else to end this except to say, we’re in constant prayer & prayers are welcome. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. mominthesprings September 2, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Amy-

      I am so sorry to hear what you are going through with your daughter. Since I never met her and don’t know her all I can say from my personal experience and you may not like the answer but, leave it alone. She has to learn that her actions have consequences. The more you tell her not to date someone, trust me the more she will. She is fighting you on control and you can stand by your convictions and say “this is my house, you don’t like it leave”, which is what I have said. Let’s see how well she does without your financial support. “Being 18”, isn’t always fun. You have to be prepared for the adult consequences on the adult decisions they make. You have to stick to your guns. You cant “fix” your daughter. All you can do is give her advice not a lecture. You will not like her decisions but trust me, she will come on her own and realize on HER own, not by you controlling or telling her what to do, she made a mistake. It’s hard, trust me but you cant make them do what you want at this age. Controlling them only pushes them farther away.
      Just like you have to respect her decisions, she has to respect yours. Part of being an adult tell her.
      Hope this helped. Thank you for following the blog!
      Good luck! Don’t give up!!

      Reply

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