By now, you’ve no doubt heard the case of the young lady suing her parents for financial support. If not, it goes like this:
Girl doesn’t want to live by parents rules. Parents request that she follow rules or move out. She moves in with her best friend but takes her car and continues to attend the private high school she’s been attending for years. Parents take car back, cancel insurance, stop paying tuition and cut off her weekly allowance. Best friend’s parents encourage her to sue her mom and dad. That pretty much sums it up. At this point the judge in the case has ruled against the teen, but also emphasized that this was probably a good time for family counseling and encouraged all parties to attempt to settle things outside of the legal system.
When I was a teen I knew several people who were “kicked out” by their parents. I had a problem with them using that term. These kids were given a choice. They could follow the rules OR leave. They chose to leave.
The rules seem to be the sticky point that kids have a problem with. I think it comes down to the faulty logic that turning 18 makes you an adult. Turning 18 makes you legally responsible for lots of things. Your actions. Debt. Military service. Consent on contracts. It does NOT, however, make you an adult. Only your maturity level makes you an adult. And if you’re still living at home, going to high school and fighting with your mom about doing the dishes, then you my friend, are NOT an adult!
With the exception of the two years I was away at college, I lived at home until my wedding night. I lived by my parents’ rules. I had a curfew. I did chores. And I did this because I was a member of a household and I respected the other members of my household. And because it was a lot cheaper than moving out.
There were some nights I came home late.. or didn’t come home at all, but those were few and FAR between and not until I was into my 20s. But I always called. I let my folks know where I was so that they wouldn’t think that I was “dead in a ditch.” Yes Mom, I know you’re reading this.. I know what you’re thinking… but that was all before I was 18. 😉
When we have littles we tell them that they have to obey. When they ask why, we tell them “Because I’m the mommy and I said so.” When they’re a little older we might toss money into the mix and the answer becomes “Because I pay you an allowance.” I think that as our kids get older we need to impress upon them that chores must be done and rules must be followed because they are part of a family and we respect one another. Our actions affect other people and we have to take their needs into consideration when we make decisions.
My teen will be 18 in four months. An adult. That’s kinda scary. He’s a good kid and although we have our differences I can’t imagine that I would ever ask him to leave our home. I hope I always feel that way.