Over the years I’ve heard many a parent say “when (insert name of child here) turns 18 they can do whatever they want”. Really?
And, yes, I know I don’t have kids, and to a certain percentage of the population that means I have no capability to understand ANYTHING related to parenthood. But I was a kid, almost everyone I know has kids, and I have younger cousins and a niece and a nephew. I am not completely unaware of the concept of juvenile humans or the processes involved in caring for said creatures.
Like most people, I turned 18 during my senior year of high school . For me it was a Thursday in December. I still had to go to school every day. I still had a curfew. My parents still housed, clothed, and fed me. I still had chores. I was still on their insurance. The vast majority of the rest of us had equally boring experiences. We didn’t wake up changed people suddenly vastly more mature then we were the night before. Our parents didn’t release us from all household rules and responsibilities. They didn’t stop feeding and housing us.
I am aware there are legal ramifications to turning 18. You can register to vote. Boys register with Selective Service. But most of the legalities are directly related to the justice system, so as long as you don’t go out and commit a crime, that doesn’t affect you.
And yes, we all know that one person who moved out and got their own place to live the day they turned 18. But they are the exception that proves the rule. And, unfortunately, most of the stories of kids moving out on the 18th birthday are not happy ones- they are escaping unsafe and/ or abusive situations, or their parents are, for one reason or another, not able to care for them.
So, let’s all rethink the notion that turning 18 is the day everything changes. For most of us, it didn’t. And, looking back, wasn’t that a good thing?