It is quite funny how kids will reach the age of 18 and automatically think that the world owes them something for making it to 18. All of us from time to time run into kids that have this unfortunate disability. Parenting is not the blame for this immaturity. It is the mindset of some kids that take 18 to a new level.
The immaturity of the 18 year old mind tends to destroy relationships within the family. Parents end up on a dead end road and tend to not be able to prove to the kid that what he/she is doing is wrong. So here is a scenario for you on how a situation can go from normal to worse in just a few months.
John was a great kid. He was active in his local school and was doing well. He was active in extra activities at school. However, the people he chose to hang out with were the wrong crowd. Constantly bringing other people down, he took the opportunity to learn bad traits from others. Some kids he hung out with had bad home life or had ambitions to do wrong all the time. Yet he kept those friends secret. He never once invited them to meet his parents. He knew what he was doing was wrong… but at the same time it was fun. This started a downward spiral of defeat.
Later on, John decided to start hanging out with a female friend a little more than usual. This friend was the average person in school but had their own faults as well. While going off to the store, they both got in trouble by vandalizing an area of the store. Both were arrested and taken to jail. While both sets of parents were livid about the situation, the parents of each complained saying that their child was not the one at fault. Yet the irony about it is that both kids knew what they were doing was wrong.
So John’s parents basically locked him down even though he is 18. John constantly has attitude towards them because of the decisions of the parents. Yet he protects the very one who he got into trouble with. He claims to love the female and decides to continue contact with the person against the will of his father. John makes claims that the girl knows him, looks after him, listens to him, and protects him. However, they both continue to rebel against his family. Trust is severely broken between John and his father. John wants to have that relationship back with his father, yet he also wants to continue living the way he is. Granted that John is 18… he isn’t being wise about the situation. He continue to lie and deceive his parents in every way possible. He has even lied so much that he believes himself. The young female he is friends with decides to jump on the bandwagon and make comments on how his father is being a hypocrite… yet she fails to realize that she herself fills the role of a hypocrite very well. Telling people that she is a good influence. Going against the requests of John’s family. Continuing acts of aggression through hatred, Facebook posts, pictures, and discussion with John only increases the stress between John and his parents. Yet the situation continues to get worse throughout time.
So how do you correct these acts of nature of a 18 year old who isn’t thinking wisely? How do you deal with a person that actively is out of control and doesn’t know how to take control of his own life? How do you continue to provide support and love to a person who destroys everything by lying and deceit? How do you deal with a person that cannot make proper decisions on his own when he was clearly taught right from wrong?
You don’t. You put them out on their own and let them learn from their own mistakes. The story of the prodigal son is a perfect example of this scenario. The tough love that a parent sometimes has to do is not to destroy the child… but to build them up and force them to be responsible. Responsibility, dignity, tact, integrity, and wisdom are just a few things that this 18 year old out of control John will have to learn.
To the female friend who thinks she knows him better… be careful with your actions. For you do not know him better than his own parents do. For if he will lie to his parents, he will lie to you. He will deceive you just as he deceived his parents. He will steal from you just as he stole from them. When there is a pattern of defeat, the pattern will continue until John decides enough is enough. Unfortunately, that may take a lot of heartache and heartbreak. The grass may be greener on your side… but understand one thing… this grass doesn’t take manure to make it green.
Until next time…