What It Means To Become An A
My son is turning 18 tomorrow and my head is filled with a wide array of thoughts. Kids turning ten is the milestone birthday of the first year of “double digits”, turning thirteen means becoming a “real” teenager, but eighteen is a much bigger (and perhaps scarier) milestone. Turning eighteen means that your child is legally an adult.
Did you know there is an actual “legal” guide to turning 18? I certainly didn’t, but there is! I was working on a fun personal post about my son turning eighteen when it popped up in a search.
“When you turn 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers” is a PDF that can be found on and downloaded from the California Bar Foundation’s Website. (Click on the link below the image to view).
The introduction starts with, “Congratulations. At the age of 18, you’ve reached an important milestone. You are now an adult in the eyes of the law.”
Congratulations? That intro was certainly an attention-getter! According to the guide, “reaching the age of majority” (turning 18) is a “term used to describe the time in life after which a person is legally no longer considered a child”.
Here’s a list of what the 16-page document covers:
- Reaching the Age of Majority
- Getting Around
- Moving Out
- Having Fun
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Money Matters
- Working and Taxes
- Sex and the Law
- Doing your Part
- Marriage and Partnerships
- Dealing with Domestic Violence
- Crimes and Consequences
- Guns and Other Weapons
- Hate Crimes
- Civil Laws and Lawsuits
- Computers, Cell Phones, and the Internet
- Protecting Your Identity
- Consumer Protection
- Finding Legal Help
As you can see, it is a large list of important topics. The team who created it obviously put a lot of work into it and it shows. But it definitely looks a bit intimidating at first glance!
I’m not going to “gift” my son with a copy of the document for his birthday, as it doesn’t seem like a very fun birthday present, however, discovering it by accident really made me think (and caused me to write this additional turning 18 post).
There are many articles out there right now on the importance of bringing back Home Economics to schools, and I agree 100%. But in this day and age, it seems like we need to make it a much “bigger” class… we need to take it much further if we really want to help these kids heading into adulthood. Not only do we need to teach teenagers the basics of cooking, housekeeping, simple clothing repair, and money management, but we need to teach them the basics of the law and what it means to legally become an adult. (I’d love to see a police officer Q and A visit during a class as well, as maybe that could help in the area of respecting law enforcement, but that would be a bonus).
When I was in junior high, Home Economics was offered as 2 individual semester electives. One could choose the semester based on cooking and baking, or one could choose the semester focused on sewing. Some of my friends took both, but I only took the cooking semester (I chose an art class for my other elective). I was always envious, however, of my friends who made tote bags in their sewing class and to this day, I’m not confident in my sewing abilities and I wish I was!
Maybe we could go back to two unique semester options of “Home EC” but recreate the objectives.
Perhaps semester 1 could use the traditional “Home Economics” title and could include cooking, sewing, and other home management related subjects, and semester 2 could be called something closer to the guide title. “Survival for Teenagers” or “Preparing for Adulthood” could be focused on money management, touching on future careers (how to write a resume as well), and the laws pertaining to becoming an adult. The law portion should also, in my opinion, touch on drug and alcohol abuse and what these things do to the human body and brain. (Prevention and education on that subject is so important).
Naturally, we could throw it all into a one-semester course if that was the only option… (because something would be better than nothing!) and have one day per week (or one week per month) focused on one of those important subjects.
Could our kiddos potentially have a better start kicking off “adulthood” after graduation with a little more of this information offered during school? Absolutely. Some may argue that many of these things should be taught at home and that might be true, but not every child has a perfect home life, and many homes have full-time working parents so let’s make sure everyone is prepared for the next big step of “adulting”. Personally, I’d love to see these courses as requirements, but hey, one step at a time.
These are just my thoughts and I know many others have shared similar views (high five!). And yes, I have printed a copy of the guide for my son, but I’ll give it to him later (after his birthday).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Is anyone reading this actively trying to make these changes at the school level? Taking action is naturally, the most important piece of this puzzle and sadly, my “kids” are almost out of school. It looks like I need to up my game, create a checklist for those of us in my current parenting “chapter” of life, and add it to this post once it’s ready!
All joking aside, being the best parents we can be is always a “goal”, but raising happy, well-rounded, and well-educated future adults is the “real” goal. (And they don’t make it easy on us!) There are a lot of great ideas out there and a lot of smart moms and dads getting the word out – good stuff!
One of those people getting the word out is friend Gabby McGraw. Gabby, a long-time blogger herself, has started an awesome Facebook group call “Parenting Teens: How to Survive and Thrive”. It’s has grown quickly and has a very active and engaging audience. I highly recommend this group to all teen parents. It’s a great place to share, learn new parenting “tricks”, and sometimes just get a giggle from when one is truly needed. Click on the link below the photo to take a peek and join!