Preparing Your Teen for Adulthood

While pediatric care is typically associated with infants and young children, we treat patients who have been with us until they are finishing college We do not take new patients over  18 years old. This is typically when kids are preparing to leave home for the first time or are finishing  college or start their next step in life. They are on the verge of adulthood. In can be an exhilarating time and anxiety-ridden time for both teens and parents.

Adulthood: Tips For Parents

Becoming a young adult is exciting, difficult, and scary for both parents and teens. It is a time of increasing independence and change, whether your child is going to college, moving out on their own, starting a real job or staying at home. We encourage you to start preparing for and teaching your children how to be independent before they actually are fully independent. It will come to a point where you will have to trust the job you did their first 18 years and also trust your child (young adult).

Let Go, But Stay Connected

Parents give guidance and feedback to their children at every age, but giving advice to a young adult is different from telling a child what to do or teaching a child how to do something.

  • Young adults need to know that everybody needs advice and help from others for the rest of their lives.
  • Open and honest communication is key. Even though some topics may be difficult or even embarrassing for you, this is the basis of a healthy adult relationship with your child.
  • There may be times when you do not agree with each other, and conflicts may occur. Try not to let getting mad or angry turn into a fight. Fights don’t solve problems; they make new ones.
  • Solve problems and conflicts with respect for your teen. Acknowledge and apologize when you are wrong. Being a role model is an excellent way to teach your child how to solve conflict.

Help Teens Learn Responsibility

As teens gain the privileges that come with being adults, they need to understand the responsibilities toward others and the community that come with these privileges. Decisions that adults make have adult consequences, both good and bad, that they will need to live with.

Teach responsibility and consequences from a young age by having them take on chores and jobs that they are capable of doing. Parents who complain most bitterly about their teens’ irresponsibility are often the ones who don’t make their kids do anything for themselves. Remember, that as they get older, their actions will have natural consequences, i.e. not doing homework will result in lower grades.

It can be hard to stand by and see your child suffer embarrassment or defeat. You want to jump in and help. Remind yourself that the most helpful thing you can do is allow your child to learn to take responsibility, the sooner the better.

Teach Financial Responsibility: When you are seen as a source of ready cash, your child has no incentive to handle money responsibly. Come up with a plan that works for your family that established things like allowances, what they pay for and what you pay for.

Being Safe: Parents always will be concerned about their children. But as children get older, they need to begin to assume some responsibility for their own safety. For example, when parents communicate curfews as a matter of safety, it is more likely to be accepted.

Help Your Teen Think Through Options: Adolescents make large, life-changing decisions, like whether to drink, smoke, have sex, or go to college. They also make smaller but still important decisions, like whether to try out for soccer or use the time for studying or an after-school job.

Relating As Adults

As children become adults, the way children and parents relate to changes. The goal is to respect each other as adults.

Continue Sharing, Listening, and Asking Questions: Parents want to hear about how their “kids” are doing. It is also important for children to know “what’s going on” with their parents.

Having lunch or dinner together or regular phone calls help keep up-to-date with each other and have fun at the same time. Don’t stop being interested in each other’s lives.