26 answers

18Yrs Old Son, Still at Home and in High School

my oldest son just turned 18yrs old. i was wanting to know any advice on what to tell him about curfew, and home rules ect. do they stay the same? or what? he will be graduating this month and staying home for now while attending a community college this fall. just needing some wisdom and expierenced advise.

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THANK YOU ALL FOR THE ADVISE. since graduation from high school there has been just minor changes in rules and curfew. he still will continue to do what is expected of him around the house since he is living rent free. he can come and go when he wants as long as i and dad know where and when he will be home.(this is just being respectful) we raised him the best we can and that is all about what we can do. i am sad and excited all at the same time? confusing to me? i love him so much!
thank you again everyone, i love this website!!!

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Have raised two (25 & 23 now). The rules stayed exactly the same through high school graduation. Then we set the rules for as long as they lived with us. They did know that they could call us at ANY time of the night and we would come get them if necessary, or they could stay at friends' houses, who we knew.

We did discuss the rules and got their "buy-in". But in the end, if they didn't like the rules, they could move out. They both moved out when they were 20 and in college and working.

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Have raised two (25 & 23 now). The rules stayed exactly the same through high school graduation. Then we set the rules for as long as they lived with us. They did know that they could call us at ANY time of the night and we would come get them if necessary, or they could stay at friends' houses, who we knew.

We did discuss the rules and got their "buy-in". But in the end, if they didn't like the rules, they could move out. They both moved out when they were 20 and in college and working.

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hi my name is C. and i am a mother of 4, 3 of which are adults and have children of their own. when my kids turned 18 I adjusted the rules to suit their responsibilty level and as long as it didn't interupt or conflict with regular household routines and that they were reasonable. he should always know that as long as he is under your roof and you feed him and cloth him (if you do) that he is to respect you and everyone in the household, and your wishes. as for chores, he still should have some because i believe this teaches them respondsibility and good character and a sense of belonging.

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We followed the rules of the city. Call your city hall and ask for the curfew times by age for your home town. We are in BV and it was posted in the community newspaper I think.
We never had any problems.......our girls knew what was expected and they always were home or called to say why they were going to be late. The good news is that you CARE!! Many parents give the kids free rein after High school ~~
Good Luck,

If he is living in your house then you decide what the rules are. It doesn't matter if he's 12, 18, or 42. He does not pay the bills so he has no say. When he is living on his own and paying his own way that is when he gets to set the rules. Until then you are the parent and the one in charge so he must follow and respect all the rules of the home.

Hi M.,

Our daughter just turned 18 as well last month and is graduating next month.

She works and has a boyfriend. She basically is by his house all the time.

We trust her. The curphew is 10:30pm on school nights right now. Our son is 21 and at home yet. He can do what he wants.
If he is drinking, then he knows not to drive home. He stays by his friends.

We have an understanding with our kids that if they drink too much, or can't make their curphew for any reason whatsoever, to call us.

Our children can stay with us as long as they are in collecge.
Then we hope to have them movce out. LOL! They pay for the foods they want. We pick up the basics. They pay for their car insurance, cell phone bills, etc.


Hi M.! Do your home, curfew rules relax for the summer with all your kids? And then tighten up again when school starts? since he is the oldest it is probably a good idea to make him realize that he is a role model. I am sure you have had many conversations about his curfew since he decided to attend C.C. and stay at home, but it wouldn't hurt to bring them back up again. And I am sure that you have family talks at one of your meals, we used to 'air' our concerens after dinner at the table. (or during dinner if they couldn't wait). My kids could count on being able to say their mind at that time especially. Unfortunately if he is not willing to talk, ask questions, the only thing left for you to do is make the rules and expect him to adhere to him. THAT could help him be more of a participant. When I was growing my kids in the 80's and 90's it was not always in everyone's best interests to let the kids make the decisions, that's why we are parents. All while they are growing they have lots of friends, buddies, but just one set of parents who HELP them live their lives. Good luck, take care.

It is easy to make curfew stick if he has your car. However, at 18, he is a legal adult and can legally do as he pleases.

Your house rules are your house rules. If you are wanting him to move out, imposing curfews will do the trick. If, however, you want him to stay at home until he leaves for college, you will need to let go of the clock entirely.

Been there, done that. 18 year olds who feel welcome at home follow reasonable house rules:

1. Stay safe - don't drive with drunk people behind the wheel.
2. Don't drive drunk - if you are drinking, stay there for the night, but please call and leave a message so we know where you are.
3. Drinking is illegal at your age, so we consider it an illegal activity. Do NOT tell us you are drinking and expect us to be happy about it.
4. Make you own meals and clean up after yourself.

Having plenty of summer chores for an 18 year old will help him to feel grounded at home. This is the summer to have the trim painted, or the garage cleaned-out. Enjoy!

If they live under your roof it should be your rules, however another option is tell him he can do what he wants do but as he is 18 you have the option to kick him out if his behavior gets out of control.

I would keep the rules the same thru graduation, but after that loosen them. I think this is one of those stepping stone moments where your relationship with your child has to evolve and grow =) Put alot of it on him to make good decisions and earn his freedom.

We are going through the same thing! What we did was to explain to him that even though he was "an adult" by his birthday, he is not able to support himself right now. Therefore he needs to support himself by following your house rules, that is his rent.
We also let up on some things, some give and take. But we have 6 other kids under him that he is an example to, so he has to follow rules that he doesn't like, or he is free to move out. We are not kicking him out, he needs to make the choice, live here, live with rules, move out, make your own. That discussion can be had with no fighting.
Drew recently broke one of our rules and was lying and deceitful about it for months. We knew but had to catch him first. After we had that discussion with him, he said moving out wasn't an option for him, and he decided to live with our rules. Breaking our trust has had some consequences, but over all he is handling it well and really understands.

My girls are young, so I don't have experience with my own kids yet. I just vividly remember what it was like being that age. Rules were tight growing up, so I couldn't wait to move out for college. I moved in with my boyfriend in the fall after high school graduation. I attended my first year of college, worked part time, and maintained a 4.0 gpa. I moved home the following summer because I was switching to a different university. I will never forget being grounded and having my car (which I paid for) taken away because I had gone to a party where there was alcohol. I did not drink because I chose to be the designated driver and made sure my friends made it home safely. It has been 10 years and I am still not over the fact that I think I was being extremely responsible. It was a real slap in the face because I was trying to make wise healthy decisions. I guess my point is after graduation try to embrace the situations where your child is trying to be a mature adult or it will end up pushing them away. Have fun!

My parents told me that as long as I was in their home I'd follow their rules. I had a curfew and went to community college also. It motivated me to work hard, get good grades and get out!! (by the way, I'm now 40 and I have a great relationship with my parents and am grateful they kept me out of trouble as at 18 I wasn't grown up yet even though the law said I was!!)

I was 18 my entire senior year. My rules didn't change at all. My curfew was pathetic like 10pm or something. This was back in '99 so not that long ago. I smoked at that time and even hid that from my Dad he'd have killed me. My age really didn't change a thing I was still under my dad's roof.

What I didn't know and which is a good thing I didn't know at the time, was that being a adult I could have signed myself in and out of school as I pleased. Thank god I didn't know that I would have hardly ever showed up to school.

If my daughter is home after age 18 her rules may be a little less lose but she will definately still have a curfew and rules.

When I turned 18 my mom dropped the curfew but we had a long talk about my responsiblities as an adult. She made me very aware about how my decisions would affect my future. She also told me that even though I was 18, she is still my mother and would still worry about me if she didn't know where I was, so I agreed to keep her informed, leave notes, etc so she wouldn't worry so much. Also, as long as I lived in her house, I still had to follow her rules, do my chores, etc. This system worked well for us. I hope maybe I've given you a few ideas. Good luck!

Your house, your rules! I wouldn't change anything radically, and let him know that while he is legally an adult, he is still your son. Maturity and wisdom don't happen overnight, so continue to parent him and guide him when you see he needs it.

My parents always said "MY rules under My roof."

You need to make sure you realize, your son is now an adult. He needs to grow up and make adult decisions. Now, that out of the way. He needs to be sat down and told by you and your husband that as long as he lives under your roof, he has to follow your rules. You guys can work out things better if the both of you talk it out and come to an agreement on curfew times, etc. Let him have some slack but stick to your guns when its something you feel strongly about. As for curfew. I always feel that the state law is good with kids under 18. When my son is 18, I will do what my parents did. Curfew is 1AM unless and only unless I made arrangements with them ahead of time and they expect me at that time. It was only done out of respect and safety for all of us. Make sure he understands that your rules are for the respect of all in the household, including his younger siblings. He will be more apt to follow the rules if you both work together at it. Good luck!

well, i have never raised an older child (mine is only 17 months!!) but only 7 years ago i was 18 and living at home... so i guess this is what i remember.

he is an adult, and he can certainly make his own choices and live his own life, however, if he is living under your roof, there are still going to be house rules, blah blah, and just simple things out of respect that he needs to do for you. he should have to pitch in somehow. whether you decide to charge him a little rent, or he buys supper one night of the week, or he does the garbage/dishes/other chorse... something to help the household. adults have responsibilities, something moms know well.

also, he doesnt have to give you every tiny detail, but he should tell you whereabouts he is going and when he should be back. you are his mom and no matter what, you will sit up and worry if you dont know where he is right? i know i would LOL. so out of respect he should let you know what time he will come crawling in. that will also let you know that its him and not a burgler (spelling bad) or something like that.

i would keep the house rules the same, but give him the option of being able to present his feelings about such and such a rule, and consider his opinion. you (and your husband?) might decide that one rule can be bent since he is an adult, another might not because its a general rule of politeness... you know???

i hope that helps. like i said, i havent yet done it, but those were the things i remember from being that age.

Hi M....I would approach it almost the same that your doing now...Your home, your rules, he should have the same respect for your home as usual, try and laten his curfew a bit and see if he does good with that and then go from there.

Good luck!!

If you want to change the rules because of his age, that's fine, as long as he knows he still has to follow your rules as long as he lives in your house. Especially since he has younger siblings, who no doubt idolize him, he just has to be a good role model. Fact of life.

I went away for 1 year of college, then returned to finish my B.S. at the local University, so that may have made it easier to transition, plus I really was a very good kid. Keep in mind when he leaves home to finish college elsewhere in a yr or 2, he will be totally on his own. So what you need to do is give him some freedom while letting him know you need to know where he is, if he is out later than a past curfew. My parents used to say, you don't have to come home, but we need to know you are ok & where you are. So if I hanging out with friends & knew it was going to be a late night & others were going to stay all night, I'd call & tell my parents who I was with & that I'd see them in the morning. That way I never drove with anyone who been drinking & when I started to have a drink or 2 at 20yrs old I wasn't driving home after that. It gave them piece of mind that I wasn't in trouble & wasn't on the rode when I shouldn't be. Good Luck & congrats on the graduating senior.

I haven't had to deal with this as a mom yet (I have 16 years to go!), but when I was living with my parents, the rule was if I lived at home I lived by their rules. Even when I came home from college. I think my curfew was a little more lax, but everything else stayed the same.

As long as he lives in your house, he will have to follow your rules. When he moves out and gets his own place, etc, he can do whatever he wants. So you can really enforce whatever rules you want. He should still help out around the house, and you can still give him a curfew.

I would honestly keep the rules the same as long as they are reasonable. I would have a midnight curfew and no girls overnight. If you're not coming home you need to let me know ahead of time and not at 2 am or the next morning. It will help them learn responsibility for themselves also because they will be required to think about their plans ahead of time and make good decision. It doesn't have so much to do with age as it does with respecting those that you live with. I would just say that these are the house rules and when you move out you can make your own rules in your house.
Good luck,

My son is 19 and I also have a 15 yr old both at home (and 3 older sons who all live in other states). I am remarried so my husband is not my boys father.
My son works 2 jobs and is financially responsible for his cell phone, car and insurance, and credit card or other bills he creates. We provide his room, food, clothing needs as well as direct tv. We aren't rich by any means - we both work fulltime (I actually work a full time and a part time job). So the expectation around our home is Everyone Helps.

My son will finish HS this month (he has a slight learning disability that makes reading difficult, so it has taken him a bit longer to finish - he is mechanical and also does little side jobs for people fixing cars). Both my boys take care of their rooms and laundry and are expected to do other things around the house like the mowing and snow shoveling, without being asked. As well as whatever else we ask them to do. No one can do it all alone, so we all help.

I don't really give him a curfew - he knows when and where he needs to be. He is an adult and is treated like one. He also faces the consequences if he messes up. He lost one job for tardiness - lesson learned!
Sometimes he has friends over, if his friends get a little to loud, I will go tell them to quiet down... No harm no foul. They all know the rules. If something needs done I'm not afraid to ask his friends to chip in and help a little - they eat here too from time to time!

Have a talk with his father and decide some ground rules: no overnight guests unless you give an okay, the doors lock at midnight, you do your own laundry etc... whatever you decide.
Then sit down and talk with your son - he is graduating from HS, that is a rite of passage of it's own. Let him be a part of these decisions that will affect him. If he is grown up enough to be treated as an adult - I recommend it! It's working great for us.
Good Luck!!

Just remember that whatever decision you make right now, you are setting the stage for the next 7 years. Your 16 and 11 year olds will expect the same rules when they turn eighteen. They will also see the things the oldest can get away with right now. I remember very vividly what is was like at 18. I went away to school, but my senior year I was no angel. I was however a good girl until then. My parents had no idea what I was up to. I would sneak out after they went to bed if they said I could not go out that night. My mom says now she doesn't even want to hear the things I would get away with, and I'm almost 32 now. At that age you really do need the freedom to make mistakes. I would sit him down and talk with him right away about there only being a couple weeks left of school and that until then he needs to do his job and finish strong or he'll regret it down the road. Also, if he is not involved with too many summer activities with sports, church, ect he will need a job to start saving for his college expenses, gas, extras. I played volleyball during the day and worked evenings at the local Dairy Queen, which ended up being my weekend job once college started in the fall. I played ball in college, but I still came home when we did not have tourneys to work at the DQ and help mom and dad around the house. I don't think you can know everything he is up to, but you can educate him on the possibilities of consequences for things such as drinking, hanging out with the wrong kids, and not working. He'll do whatever he wants anyway, but you have done your job of letting him know the pros and cons of his decisions. My son is 10 1/2 and I can all ready imagine how hard it will be letting him go.

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