“The Reporter” just turned 10. She has a mild demeanor with a pragmatic view on life. She keeps everyone in this house in line and when we fall out of line she reports us to the nearest, more-elder adult. (Yes, she tells on me to my mother.)
She has her father’s laid-back personality which is essential for survival in this family. She also has her mother’s love of lists, more importantly, list checking. Her homeschooling style involves a daily task sheet and her pencil checkmarks next to each item. And her favorite food…yes, chocolate. Finally, a child after my own stomach!
“The Diva” is about to turn 13 or 23, it’s hard to tell some days. She makes sure we are all aware that she exists, and that she is underappreciated. She spends her days in a constant hormonal mood swing.
The teen years have hit and they have hit hard. Though punctuality still seems to be in the “Optional” category, makeup, hairstyling, and trendy clothing are not. She is our free-spirited child — the reason our homeschooling style sometimes leans in the “delight-directed” or “unschooling” direction. She is an artist and natural musician; right-brained and creative. She is tied to her emotions and lives each day to the extreme. She loves to try new things but is nervous about new situations. She keeps us on our toes.
“The Kidult” is 18 — which our illustrious government proclaims as an adult. Most days I would beg to differ.
According to the research, I’ve been reading, males often do not reach brain maturity until around 25. TWENTY-FIVE! Do you realize what this means? Well, I’ll tell you what it means. It means I have a full-grown, man-size person telling me he can make his own decisions, create his own path, and not listen to anything his parent has to say. Yet, he also doesn’t understand why he has to come out of his room at least once every 24 hours and breathe fresh air.
Here are some things I have learned from parenting a kidult: (I know you are going to feel awesomely privileged that I am sharing these nuggets of wisdom with you.)
- Never answer the question “What should I do?” with an opinion of what your kidult should do. Always circle back to them. Ask them questions about what they feel is best for them.
- Don’t say “I told you so.” This one is so hard. Don’t even do it when they are practically quoting your idea word for word back to you months later. Just don’t.
- Never criticize the ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. Oh, this one will come back to haunt you. Those ex’s are constantly dropping back into their lives.
- Don’t throw out any of your plans. Kidults are notorious for changing their plans/minds. Just keep all of those plans stashed away, so you can pull them back out when they have a momentary sense of reality and decide your ideas weren’t so crazy after all.
- And, most importantly, pray… a lot. Pray for them. Pray for you. Pray for sanity. Pray you won’t start screaming they have lost their minds. Pray your spouse doesn’t lose his cool and vow he won’t be going to their wedding (if you’ve forgotten that little gem, see Some Days Go Beyond Nutella). Pray for all of you and pray often.