The legal age: I'm 18 years old!

To have 18 years It is the goal of many boys and girls because, according to them, they can have more freedoms. Months before the birthday they already imagine themselves arriving at any time of the night without their parents being able to say anything because, finally, they are of legal age. But experienced parents know that this date is not that scary.

The 18 years, in fact, are no more than a legal and symbolic barrier. Our son may not have matured on that date. The qualitative leap of maturity does not have to occur around the 18 years. Sometimes it is before. The normal thing is to be later: when I enter the University, get a job, take a girlfriend, study outside the home, or simply acquire a responsible and mature personality.

Our son will use as demolition argument this circumstance of the legal age of majority for their purposes: they can vote, get the card, leave home if they want ... The specific cases of each family are very varied: for some young people, it will be time ideal to demand smoking at home, even if his parents disapprove; others will take advantage to demand more money or more free time ... But do they really have "right" to it at eighteen?

What do young people ask when they turn 18?

What they ask at age 18 could be summarized in a very simple expression: more freedom, adapted to the circumstances and environment of each child.

In what are these freedoms concretized? Especially in the night outings with friends. They are already considered old enough to have no imposed limits. They will arrive at the time they want, even if it is soon, but which they want.

- They ask to have less with their parents at the time of deciding any plan, because they know that if it does not sound good, they will not be left.

- They ask for a certain independence and that they are not treated like their younger brothers. Let there be a distance in what they can do and what their brothers do.

- They do not usually ask for much more money because, it is not known how, the boys and girls of today often get the money they need for their little whims, which gives them a feeling of independence that they like.

- And they usually ask for other matters, how to get the card, the possibility of buying a car or motorbike, smoking at home, drinking some alcohol, more freedom at home (that is, fewer orders and responsibilities), etc.

Freedoms that suit you

Our son is growing and becoming an adult. Every day that passes needs to be gaining a little autonomy for when the moment arrives in which it is totally adult. So the general tendency will be to leave him and give him more freedoms ... but they do not have to be what he asks, but those that suit him.

There are certain pretensions more or less inconsequential in which we can give without problems: buy him some clothes accompanied by his friends, start studying the license on your own, save to buy the bike he wants ... Do not burn with these matters Moreover, we encourage everything that supposes an exercise of freedom and responsibility. The formula, in theory, is: "Compromise in the accidental, not give in the essential."

We can encourage, for example, to look for a small job, because of that age, combining it with their studies. Having your own money will help you to be independent. And the work will make you mature a lot. In addition, it could provide an amount (symbolic as it may be) for the support of the home.

And in the essentials ... that's 18 years old

However, there are issues in which, although they are 18 years old, they ask us insistently, even if they leave their friends, etc., we should not give in.

Each family lives in a certain environment and has its own family code or style. If parents believe that they should not do something in particular, do not give in just because they have 18 or not. What can exist in a wider margin. Let our children see that they have more freedom than their younger siblings, but knowing that, if their parents see fit, there is also the limit.

He has already turned 18, how to adapt at home?

It usually happens, in some cases, that when they turn 18, the children are reluctant to help at home, considering the orders and rules something for when they were little. It may be a good time to make it clear that everyone in the home undergoes rules for the common good: even parents have their orders, arrive at the scheduled time to dine, let them know if they are late, etc. We can counterattack: now that you are older, you have more responsibilities at home.

The responsibility of children in the home is not reduced only to more or less domestic tasks. We can begin to ask for advice in the face of difficulties of one's professional work, not only to look good, but to accept ideas.We can also ask for your material help in certain professional tasks that exceed us.

As a sign of this special responsibility at home, we can propose to tell him some more secret matters of the home and not to his brothers: illnesses, accounts, economic setbacks, difficulties ...

Ignacio Iturbe
Advice: Gerardo Castillo. Doctor in Educational Sciences and Deputy Director of the Institute of Education Sciences of the University of Navarra

Video: Why are 18 Year Olds Considered Adults?

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