Raising Kids Ages 17-18
So you are on the home stretch; it feels like you’re already there, so now you can relax and back off a bit as a parent. Careful, this is an age where kids seem like adults, often act, but still have many of the challenges that we have discussed previously in the 14-15 and 15-16-year-old groups. Kids at this age can fit in and become a part of a variety of situations. They can adapt quickly and learn things like a new job or an interest they may have. The prefrontal cortex of their brain, the part responsible for making the right decisions, is developing further but still not fully developed. That means that poor choices and not thinking things through in advance are always at the forefront.
They can align with various causes in the world and be a part of helping others but may still have relationship problems. Understanding what people want from them and gauging others’ attitudes remains a challenge for a few years. The best part of this age group is that they are enjoyable to be around. They feel like adults, and in many ways, they certainly are mature. They become sensitive to conversations and how they flow and change with others, even to the point of expressing a preference that someone stays in a particular topic area longer than they may want to visit.
Hep kids in this age group feel like they will make it in the world. Please help them find their niche, using their innate skills and talents, allowing them to begin to see themselves as successful in life. Let them know that you will be there to help them when they have made a mistake or need to back-track in their choices. By supporting their dreams, even when you see problems, you help them experience life from their path. Unless they are going to cause harm to themselves or others, I like to sit back and let kids choose their way and then help them sort it out when they need help.
Here’s what I know, Kids at this age like to have room to make their own decisions by using questioning techniques like, “Have you thought that through?” or You may want to tweak that a bit before you follow through with it.” We help them to learn the decision-making skills they need in adult life.
You may want to read the 5 Phases of Parenting which I write about here 5 Phases of Parenting – Phase 1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)
Wellness is also a concern with kids at this age, find information here Wellness by age: 17 – 18 years (childrens.com)
Yours for Better Parenting,