How to respond to your eighteen-year-old teen who says this?

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    One day your already rebellious teen says “I don’t have to listen to you, I’m 18 I’m an adult you can’t tell me what to do.” How do you respond? Is saying as long as you live under this roof you obey our rules” a good response?


    Nope, not good at all. It will just lead to a lot of resentment. Talk to her/him as the adult s/he is. Respect his/her opinions and choose your battles. You can’t win them all!


    Sounds like the teen is angry, and you’re giving a defensive response to an emotional outburst.

    If the teen is a girl, my mother recommends “I’m not mad I just hate you” for understanding teenage girls. Dunno if it applies with boys, and I’ve not read the book.


    Theoretically, if the situation reaches the worst point and the kid runs away from home, you want him to come crawling back home a week later. Don’t make him feel distant and end up somewhere else.


    Say, “Fine, legally your an adult, but on the other hand, legally I can charge you rent. If you want to be treated like an adult, then you owe us some money.”

    My parents said that to me all the time and boy did it leave me at a loss for words. It’s true that you have to treat an angry kid with love, but chutzpah is another story.


    WIY: Your preconceived notion seems to be that you can tell your 18yo kid what to do, and the question is how to do it in the most effective way.

    I’d directly attack your preconceived notion. As a matter of fact, if there’s a question to be asked in this scenario it’s as follows:

    My parents think they can control me. I’m 18 years old and my parents don’t understand the fact that I’m no longer a child. Additionally, they are considering making my financial dependence on them a tool through which to control me absolutely. How do I explain to them that at BEST they’re only driving me away temporarily, and if they’re not careful they can drive a wedge between us permanently?


    I think it depends on the maturity of the kid. My father has told me that when I’m in his house I need to do certain things. As much as I’d like to do what I feel, I know that my parents are giving me a house, food, pay tuition, pay for clothes, etc. I can’t take everything and then not follow any of their rules. It’s just not nice. And definitely a lack of Hakaras hatov.

    achar chulent

    You mamash can’t lose hope in your kinderlach no matter how old they are. Obviously physical violence should be discontinued at this age. However sometimes tough love might be a good eitza at this age.


    ya. mamesh dont lose hope.


    wiy- i dont know what a good response is, but i do know that’s a bad one. There’s a difference between saying ‘obey the rules or you’ll be exiled’, which that sounds like, and having jobs, expectations, rules to be followed.

    Frumnotyeshivish +1!!!! Very well put!!


    How about that no matter the age of the child, there is an inyan of kibbud av v’em, and if the parent makes reasonable rules, the child has to follow them? If they want to be treated like an adult, fine, but they have to take the whole package, they cannot pick and choose when it suits them and you have to be consistent about this. Tell them that if they want to claim they are an adult, give them appropriate responsibilities. If they don’t wish to comply, then they don’t get the privileges of being an adult either. It’s tough and you have to stick to your guns on this, but unless the child is really rebellious they will eventually see that it’s better for everyone, them included, when they follow the rules.

    Have you ever watched World’s Strictest Parents? Some of these kids really change for the better once they have experienced consistent parenting.


    wiy: it dont have to be a power struggle.

    no he/she does not HAVE to listen to you (never did have to) but a common respect between will help.

    there again by the words have to listen to you it sounds like you have been pretty demanding?


    One day your already rebellious teen says “I don’t have to listen to you, I’m 18 I’m an adult you can’t tell me what to do.”

    Help him/her to be able to function like an adult and assist in getting your child a job.


    Threaten to repeat what he/she just said to his/her kids. Be wary your parents won’t have similar message for you.

    If Ha-Shem wanted teenages to act like adults, he would have programmed their brains accordingly. There are some species where the brain is fully developed at birth (generally, these are the less intelligent species). Accept that teenagers usually act like teenagers.


    The problem had to be addressed 15 years earlier.


    LOL! Just asked my 23 y.o. “your 18 y.o. says this, what do you say”. Her response? The classic response: Well then, if you are an adult, get a job, get a car, get an apartment and pay rent, then you can make your own rules and do as you please. Just sayin….


    Yep, I thought so too, when I was 18. I laughed when my kids said similar (not quite as chutzpahdig) things to me. I just look at them and say, just wait until you are talking to your OWN 18 year old. THEN you will understand! And I will laugh and laugh… And we will have this conversation again.


    just explain that whenever they want to do things such as kearn in E”Y, or go to college, the institution will expect a parent contribution towards tuition and if the child refuses to work with his parents and disrespects them that it makes them less inclined to assist financially and therefore schools will not be so inclined to accepting them in the future, and that financial independence is not so simple.


    The assumption that the child does not want to live an orthodox lifestyle. What is a left wing modern orthodox parent to do when a child puts on a black hat, tzitzes and and a velvet yarmulka and will not drink the milk in the home.


    If you don’t mind my asking this, what does your teen object to being forced to do/not do? Is it something fundamental like basic safety (e.g. substance abuse), or is it more subjective like which books/music is appropriate? I’m asking because I would recommend different responses based on the source of the conflict.


    In response to what did your 18 yer old make this statement? Was it, “put your dirty socks in the laundry”, or, “I dont think hanging out all night smoking weed with the chevra is a good idea”. Context is everything.


    As the parent of a 20 year old, 18 year old and 17 year old who all live at home, I might have an insight or two into this.

    The first thing you have to realize is that, at 18, your child *is* an adult and does *not* have to listen to you. This may be hard for you to internalize — after all, you’ve watched over them from birth when they were helpless and seen them at their stupidest. It’s perfectly natural to think of your children grown children as “still children” and that, as a parent, you know better*.

    But the fact is that, at this point, they’re already raised. They are their own person, not a “little you.” Their ideas may be different than yours, their values may be different than yours and their personalities may be different than yours — and you have to learn to accept that. Your job as the shaper of your child’s personality is pretty much over. Yes, you can still shape it by example, but that’s pretty much it.

    As such, you have to allow them the freedom to do things their own way, even if you don’t necessarily agree with that way. It’s painful sometimes, but it’s what you have to do.

    I read something a while back, which stayed with me. It stated that, as your children approach their teenage years, your job as a parent changes from that of management to one of sales. I would further add that, as your teenager becomes an adult, your job changes from sales to adviser.

    Of course, all that does not mean that you don’t have the right to set certain rules within your own home. You absolutely do have that right. However, they have to be rules that your child can understand and accept. They have to be reasonable and have more of a basis than “because I said so.”

    For example, our twenty year old does not have a curfew. He did at seventeen and eighteen, but, as he became older, we had to learn to relax that restriction. (Part of what made it easier was trying to remind myself of how I would have felt at that age with that restriction.) However, he does know that if he’s going to be very late, he has to call or text us, just so that we don’t worry. Yes, it’s a rule, not a “guideline” or “please do it.” We get on his case if he doesn’t. But it’s a rule he can understand. He can understand that we, as parents, get worried if he’s out really late and we don’t know that he’s okay.

    Another rule is doing the Shabbos dishes. The kids rotate weeks. He knows that, even though he’s twenty, he has to do the dishes every third week. It’s a rule he can understand – that he has to chip in and help out around the house. Would he rather not do it? Sure. Could he say “I’m an adult and I don’t have to do the dishes?” Sure, he could, but he doesn’t because he understands that he needs to help out to maintain the house.

    In short, you have to allow your adult the freedom to be himself, even if it’s not what you would do for yourself. There are things about my son that I wish were different, but I have to understand that he is not me and that he is going to choose his own way in life. It’s sometimes painful to watch as a parent, but you have to learn to let go and let them take control of their own lives.

    The Wolf

    * As a parent, you probably *do* know better than they do, even at this age. But you have to let them make their own mistakes (and learn from them) at this age, just as you did. After all, that’s probably how you acquired your parental wisdom.


    “of course i cannot tell you what to do. but i do love you and want to help you make decisions which are best for you. you are an adult now and there are many adults out there, 18 years old, 28 years old, 38 years old and 98 years old who make terrible choice every single day. it is their right just like it is your right. and i cannot and do not wish to control your decisions. but as someone who loves you more than anyone else in the world and who wishes to see nothing but the best for you, as well as someone who has learned from my own mistakes and from the mistakes of others over the years, i wish to offer you what i believe are the best options for you and i pray and hope that with your free will you choose to consider my advice, which comes from a combination of my love for you and my years of experience, as you form your own destiny”


    Btw this is theoretical I am single. But I know people who have this issue and I had a sibling like this. It wasnt pleasant.

    I’m referring to a child not keeping any rules. Out to all insane hours of the night or morning and goes to hangout places and basically disregards anything parents say.


    The assumption that the child does not want to live an orthodox lifestyle. What is a left wing modern orthodox parent to do when a child puts on a black hat, tzitzes and and a velvet yarmulka and will not drink the milk in the home. “

    A child that puts on a black hat, tzitzis, a velvet yarmulke, and will not drink milk in his home, probably should have a decent grasp of the concept of kibud av, in that case. If not, then, all the things he is doing are pretty moot.


    wolf- just need to comment, that you sound like an amazing, understanding father


    “What is a left wing modern orthodox parent to do when a child puts on a black hat, tzitzes and and a velvet yarmulka and will not drink the milk in the home.”

    Nothing except try to understand where it is coming from.

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