Navigating the transition from adolescence to adulthood can be challenging for parents and their 18-year-olds. To provide some guidance, we asked seven professionals, including a Project Manager and a CFO, for their best advice. From enrolling them in financial literacy courses to allowing independent exploration of the world, these experts share their top strategies for supporting young adults in taking on responsibilities.
- Enroll Them in Financial Literacy Courses
- Teach Budgeting and Financial Management
- Create Real-Life Scenarios at Home
- Teach Practical Life Skills
- Support Their Mental Health and Self-Care
- Encourage Open Communication and Decision-Making
- Allow Independent Exploration of the World
1. Enroll Them in Financial Literacy Courses
One of the most effective ways to teach 18-year-olds financial responsibility is by enrolling them in financial literacy courses. These courses could be taken online or in a classroom setting.
They can learn about investments, debt management, and even retirement planning. The best part is that such programs cover real-life cases, like buying a house or a car.
William Foy, Project Manager, Parentaler
2. Teach Budgeting and Financial Management
Parents can support their 18-year-olds in taking on adult responsibilities by teaching them how to budget and manage finances. This includes setting a budget for necessities like housing, food, and transportation while allowing some spending money to enjoy social activities.
Young adults need guidance in the basics of financial planning, as most have never experienced true financial autonomy before leaving for college or after turning 18.
Teaching good financial practices from a young age helps build the foundation for long-term success and should be reinforced throughout adulthood as financial needs change.
3. Create Real-Life Scenarios at Home
In my home, we like to create scenarios like independent living situations, but with some guidance. For example, this week, my 17-year-old son will make Wednesday dinner and grocery shop before the meal.
We chose the recipe together, and I helped him with budgeting. It’s one example of many, but exactly what I like doing regularly with him.
4. Teach Practical Life Skills
As children mature and develop, parents need to start teaching them valuable life skills that will help them navigate the challenges of adulthood. While academic subjects are often prioritized in schools, practical life skills like financial management, cooking, and laundry may be overlooked.
Parents can empower their 18-year-olds to embrace adult responsibilities by actively teaching and engaging them in household tasks. By doing so, parents equip their young adults with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges of adulthood with confidence and competence.
This can include everything from budgeting to meal planning, from doing their laundry to learning basic car maintenance. By allowing 18-year-olds to learn and practice these skills, parents can help prepare them for living independently.
5. Support Their Mental Health and Self-Care
Taking on adult responsibilities can be overwhelming, and often, young adults struggle with balancing these new demands while maintaining their mental health. Parents must provide tailored support in this area.
First, create an environment where kids feel safe addressing their concerns and difficulties. Encourage self-reflection and emotional intelligence. Listen actively and validate their emotions without judgment.
Please give them a secure place to express themselves. Encourage self-care routines. Discuss the significance of physical and mental well-being with them and urge them to develop healthy habits such as regular exercise, proper eating, and adequate sleep. Assist them in exploring stress-management approaches such as meditation or writing.
6. Encourage Open Communication and Decision-Making
Encouraging open and honest communication is essential when supporting your 18-year-old in adult responsibilities. Begin by having regular discussions with them about their objectives, interests, and responsibilities.
Actively listen without forming an opinion to comprehend their concerns and aspirations. This creates trust and allows you to tailor your assistance to their needs. Guided decision-making is an additional effective strategy.
Instead of making decisions for them, assist them in analyzing their options and prospective outcomes. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option, such as higher education versus entering the workforce. Please share your experiences and views, but clarify that the final decision is theirs.
7. Allow Independent Exploration of the World
Recognize that who they are at home isn’t necessarily who they’ll be. You’re accustomed to seeing them as your child, and they’re used to being seen as your child, so it’s not shocking when they act accordingly.
But send them out into the world? Make them get a job, mingle with mature adults, and start making decisions away from you. It might just surprise you how “adult” they can be.
Ready, Set, Action: A Parent’s Guide to Practical Implementation
Ready to put these expert tips into action? Here’s a quick how-to guide to jumpstart the process with your young adult:
- Start Small: Don’t overwhelm them or yourself. Begin with small, manageable tasks like teaching them how to do laundry or budget for a week.
- Make it a Team Effort: Include them in the planning and execution. For instance, go grocery shopping together or set up a financial spreadsheet.
- Celebrate the Wins: Whenever your 18-year-old successfully navigates a new responsibility, celebrate it. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
- Open a Dialogue: Always make space for conversations. Listening is just as crucial as advising, whether it’s about their day, concerns, or dreams.
- Be a Safety Net, Not a Crutch: Make it clear that while you’re there for support and guidance, they aim to become self-sufficient.
Our Two Cents: 7 Essential Ways Parents Can Support Their 18-Year-Olds
While expert advice is excellent, we also added two cents. Here are seven actionable ways you can help your 18-year-old transition smoothly into adulthood:
- Model Adult Behavior: Sometimes, the best teaching comes from example. Show them what responsibility looks like in day-to-day life.
- Set Boundaries and Expectations: Lay out what is expected and be flexible as they learn and grow. Rules aren’t one-size-fits-all.
- Instill a Strong Work Ethic: Whether it’s chores, a part-time job, or college applications, the importance of hard work and dedication can’t be overstated.
- Prioritize Health: Beyond the mind, a healthy body is vital. Teach them basic cooking skills and the importance of regular exercise.
- Nurture Emotional Intelligence: Teach them how to recognize and manage their own emotions, as well as how to interact respectfully and empathetically with others.
- Support Without Smothering: Be there to guide them, but also give them the space to fail, learn, and grow.
- Foster Lifelong Learning: Encourage a love for learning beyond the classroom. This can be through books, travel, or even online courses on topics they’re passionate about.
By balancing expert advice with your unique parental wisdom, you’ll set the stage for your 18-year-old to blossom into a capable, responsible adult.