Ask Linda Anything!
How much control do you think a parent needs to have after their child turns 18?
Submitted By Trish Cunningham From Aspen, Colorado
Five of our children are over 18 and three in college right now. A couple weeks ago, my 19 year old called from college and asked if it was okay to get a tattoo on her finger. I personally am nervous about tattoos because they last forever, and there have been reports of people getting hepatitis from the INK of tattoos even if they change the needles. I told her that Dad and I really wish she would not get one. I believe while we are still supporting her in her college years and we do not have many requests for her and her siblings, they should not make a big deal about the few things we feel strongly about.
After back and forth texting of how we both felt about our side of the fence, she did not have it done and her urgency to have a tattoo went away...for now.
I feel it comes down to a respect issue. Just because they turn 18 does not mean that they lose all ties to us in their decision making. “I’m 18! I can do whatever I want!” I know if you have an 18 year old, you have heard this and it is natural that they want to be independent. But as soon as we mention how much less fun they will have to be cut off financially if they disregard us completely, makes our teenagers think a little harder about what is the bigger sacrifice. I was still quite impulsive at 18 and still needed to feel boundaries and I don't think that has changed for my kids, especially in their first year away at college.
We have always told our kids that we expect them to be representative of our family and our family values wherever they are as they grew up. Rebellion isn't always the key to finding your individuality in this world.
Are we successful in reaching them with our feelings at a time when their personalities and need to express themselves are so strong? Much of the time. Do we argue? Of course! But is it worth it to have the arguments and to instill the foundation for a lifetime of challenges? Absolutely! I believe they know we love them so much and if you put that love first, it helps to avoid, at least a few impulsive acts that they may regret on their journey.
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