I am an Adult Now

Just had a student come in to talk to me about some things in his life.  I have known Tom  since he was little, so he comes into my room quite often to discuss something, or more importantly, to get a piece of candy from me.  He told me something that he wants to do, but that his parents don’t want him to do.  I asked him why he was going to do it if his parents were against it and I heard him say “I am an adult now, I can do what I want.”  This is something that I have heard from so many students and even my oldest daughter, and I am sure that I will hear it from my youngest as soon as she hits that 18th birthday. This phrase always causes me to think.

What is so magical about turning 18?  The day before you are still a kid, but you go to bed at night a kid and poof you wake up a full fledged adult? Is this really the best way to transition our kids into adulthood? Becoming an adult is so much more than finally being able to do what you want no matter what someone else says.  Adults are financially responsible for themselves,  they value the opinions of others and will see those opinions out instead, and adults take into account the feelings of others.  I could go on with several more things that an adult does, but you get the idea.

Some kids get it and are responsible right from the start, however so many others struggle with this adjustment and want total freedom the minute they turn 18.  I get the entire you learn by doing, but do we want so many young adults to fall flat on their face because they haven’t been guided into this stage of life? After what I am seeing, we really need to find more ways to help kids adjust to adulthood.

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4 thoughts on “I am an Adult Now

  1. And therein lies the conundrum. It’s not the birthday that brings adulthood. It is a fluid thing over months and years. Even at 18, or 20, or 26, they temper back and forth between child and adult. I wonder if we ever completely tip over to adult. Just more adult moments and less adult moments. But Tom sounds ready to stretch his wings a bit.

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  2. So true…some take forever to really reach adulthood in its full manifestation. But, that turning of 18 seems to make kids feel it should be overnight…which it most certainly is not!

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  3. I think we need rites of passage. I know of a SF group who happen to be Buddhists who give a summer workshop for teens to transition to “adulthood,” a well-thought out planned rite of passage.

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