My 18 Year-Old is Driving Me Crazy

Many parents find it hard to deal with their newly adult 18-year-olds. 18-year-olds are smack in the middle of being a child and being a fully grown adult. They are legally considered to be adults, but at the same time, they aren’t fully grown adults. As a result of this, dealing with 18-year-olds can often be tricky and requires patience and tact.

Your 18-year-old is a new adult and as such is learning to adapt to life as a new adult and you should know from your own experience that this isn’t child’s play. While they have a new level of freedom, they also have to deal with newfound responsibilities. The combination of these two factors is enough to make your 18-year-old act out and drive you crazy. Apart from these, there are other reasons that they are acting out.

What to do When Your 18-Year-Old is Driving you Crazy

Before deciding on an action point to deal with your 18-year-old, you need to understand why you are being driven crazy. If you know the reason, then you’ll be able to come up with a solution. Some reasons your 18-year-old is acting out may include any one of the following.

They Are Testing Their Newly-Found Freedom

Imagine getting a new car, especially if it’s the car of your dreams and you’ve been saving up for it for years. The thrill that comes with finally driving the car is comparable to the thrill that an 18 year-old feels with newly found freedom. They are likely to push boundaries and break rules for no reason other than the fact that they feel like. They will likely push you to your limits and try your patience just to see how much they can get away with.

While this behavior is likely to diminish as they become more accustomed to their freedom and independence, it is very likely going to drive you crazy, especially in the first few weeks and you’ll wonder what happened to your sweet little kid who never talked back at you or broke any rules. You may even begin to question everything you ever knew about your child.

My 18 Year-Old is Driving Me Crazy

They Are Struggling With Adjustment To Adult Life

Another reason your 18-year-old is driving you crazy may be because they are finding the transition to adult life difficult. Turning 18 is a pretty big deal and it comes with its challenges. While your 18-year-old may not be paying rent or other major bills yet, they still have a lot on their plate. From graduating high school to applying to and getting into college, and getting accustomed to college life, there is a lot of adjustment that comes with turning 18. Even if they aren’t going to college, they still have to get jobs and will likely be under pressure to perform well and make something out of themselves.

The adjustment can be hard, and more so on some than others. So your 18-year-old may be driving you crazy not because they have suddenly become a spawn of Satan, but because they are finding the transition period difficult.  

You Have Unrealistic Expectations Of Your Child

This is one reason that a lot of parents refuse to consider. Sometimes, your 18 year-old isn’t the problem. Your own unrealistic expectations are the reason you’re being driven crazy. The fact is that your 18 year-old is no longer a baby, and as such, they are going to change and sometimes become a different person.

If you expect them to stay the same, then you are only setting yourself up for heartbreak. You need to accept that your child is growing up and as so you’re going to lose some of the hold you have on them. You need to realize this and accept it. Trying to treat your now-adult kid like a child isn’t likely to end well. Your inability to let go of control and let them be their own person is the reason they’re driving you crazy.

When you realize the reason you are at odds with your 18 year-old, then the next step to take is to figure out how to smoothen things out and fix the situation. While there isn’t a general rule that works in all situations, here are some tips that you can try.

Know And Accept That No Two Situations Are Alike

You have to realize that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every situation is unique because no two people are exactly alike. Individual differences make it difficult to come up with a singular solution for every scenario. You should take the time to assess and understand the situation. You should try to figure out why your child is driving you crazy and whether or not it is their fault.

When you understand the root of the problem, then you’ll be able to come up with a solution. You have to keep in mind that there is no clear-cut solution so you’ll need to rely heavily on your knowledge of your child. This will be easier if you already have a good relationship with your child.

You Should Set Boundaries On Expected Behavior

While it is important to maintain a good relationship with your child, it is equally as important to set clear-cut boundaries with them, more so if they are still living under your roof. However, this isn’t to say that you have to be unsupportive. You have to find a balance between being a supportive parent whilst setting boundaries.

You should let them know that while you understand their need to explore their new-found freedom, you won’t stand for disrespectful behavior. You have to be understanding and loving, but firm. While it is highly unlikely that your 18 year-old will immediately stop driving you crazy, you both may come to a mutual understanding about the kind of behavior that is expected from both parties.

Know That You Can’t Punish An 18-Year-Old Per Se

In all this, you should keep in mind that your 18 year-old is now legally an adult and no longer a child that you can punish as you deem fit. You have to rely more on heart-to-heart conversations than punishments. Your child is now an adult and as such should be treated as such. What worked on your child may not work on your adult. Your child is now an adult and hence should be treated as such.

You can still take things away from them (especially if you payed for them) but this will only drive your children away. Guard your relationship with your adult child because now that relationship is only voluntary.

In all this, it is important not to set your hopes too high as you are unlikely to get results immediately. Your 18 year-old will probably get on your nerves and drive you crazy for a while longer. The important thing to do is to know and remember that your 18 year-old is new to these things and it will take some time for them to mellow and stop getting on your nerves. Remember that they are still growing as people and try not to take all their actions to heart. Be kind to them, give them your support and love, and at the same time be firm. Don’t compare your situations to others because every situation is inherently different. With time, you and your child will come to an understanding and things will finally become mellow.