What to Expect: Age 18
By the tender age of eighteen, your teenager is finally ready to spread their wings into adulthood. You’ve spent seventeen years monitoring their growth, helping them to blossom into this stage. What can you expect from this final year with your child?
Parents may wonder whether their children are truly ready for the next stage of their lives. It can be difficult to tell whether your teen is truly ready without comparing them to their peers. You can check these developmental milestones to see how your child may do in the coming years.
Social and Emotional Development
At age eighteen, your child’s transition into independence is likely finished. A child this age believes they have reached full maturity, and they expect to be treated that way. Because they are legally an adult, your child may expect more freedoms and be able to handle more responsibilities.
They may still value their relationship with you as a parent, but they are more likely to rely on peers. Relationships continue to grow in importance and become more mature over the course of this year. Intense romantic relationships may evolve during this time.
With all of the changes in their lives, you may want to pay close attention to your child’s mood. The increased stress of planning for their future may bring about a depressed mood or severe anxiety. Monitor them closely during this time so you can bring your concerns to them or to their doctor.
Children will be more capable of making long-term plans for their future. Without help from their parents, they should be able to set their own goals and make a roadmap for how to achieve them.
Because their brains are still developing, it isn’t uncommon to see your eighteen-year-old continue to further their reasoning abilities. Abstract thinking is still a skill that many have yet to master. However, they are able to see things in shades of “gray” instead of simply in concrete terms.
Physical changes have mostly been completed at this point. Your child is likely at their full adult height. Many other characteristics are done developing as well, including breast development. By this age, your child should look and act like a fully developed adult.
As a parent, it is extremely exciting and nerve-wracking to see your child spread their wings into full adulthood. You want to celebrate their achievements as well as prepare them for the world ahead. Take time to ensure that your child is meeting these final developmental milestones consistent with their age. You’ll be grateful that you had these years, even though your child may no longer need you quite as much.