The Mark of Maturity for Teens: Getting Along With Parents

There are no written tests that determine when you’ve reached a full-blown adult maturity level. Instead, society offers several interim-type assessments that parents use to measure how a child’s development is proceeding. For many adolescents, the final milestone along the long road to adulthood is understanding their parents. Part of that process is discovering that parenting is a massive responsibility that includes physical, emotional, financial, and mental components in a child’s upbringing. Moms and dads do plenty and there’s no denying that blatant fact. 

But when teens begin to absorb the fact that parenting is a big job, they’re on their way out of childhood and into adulthood. Other components of the realization include frequent discussions, examination of the college financing situation, avoiding substance abuse problems, learning to drive a car, and more. The first step along the way is gaining insight into the indispensable role that mothers and fathers play in a child’s life. 

The College Funding Situation 

Your goal as a future college student is to figure out how to fund a degree program, earn good grades while in school, and get through the four years with sanity well intact. If you’re currently attempting to get an education loan, it can be highly frustrating if you can’t find a cosigner. Not all dads and moms readily agree to put their signatures on a child’s loan application. Many older teens, no matter how hardworking they are, just don’t have the financial history to qualify for loans without a cosigner. 

Many don’t realize there’s no law that forces parents to cosign, so you’ll have to convince them to do it if you want a solid chance of getting approved for a private loan. Work with them to understand all the pros and cons of being a cosigner. It’s likely that you’ll be able to work something out together. In certain situations, people have access to federally backed loans that cover a portion of schooling and only need a small private loan to pay for the rest. The point is that there are multiple options when it comes to asking mom and dad to put their signatures on an application. Be willing to listen to their advice and explore all the payment options. 

Frequent Talks Are a Necessity 

Communication is the main ingredient in any solid relationship, and that applies to the parent-child dynamic as well. Families approach the communication function in several different ways. For today’s busy adults, it can make sense to set up a regular time for longer talks, even if there’s no specific agenda in place. Try to meet at home and away from the distractions of noisy coffee shops and office buildings. The goal is to set time aside in advance to bring up issues that are important to all concerned. Another essential feature of such pow-wows is honesty. There should be no limits on the subject matter, expressing opinions, or asking questions. All participants need to be 100% forthright with each other. 

Responsible Driving is a First Test 

For many young adults, getting a driver’s license is the initial step toward adulthood. But just because the state gives you legal permission to operate a motor vehicle doesn’t mean you instantly develop a high level of maturity. Instead, it takes a few months, at least, to acquire the self-confidence and skills to handle a vehicle without help or oversight from adults. From a parental perspective, the way a teen deals with the newfound legal right is the first major test in most cases. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be driving someone else’s car, a situation that entails a great deal more care and caution. 

It’s rather common for new drivers to be included on their parent’s insurance policies. Take the time to build up skills by taking a Driver’s Ed course at a local school or community center. Not only will completing it lower your insurance rates, but it will also give you a deeper understanding of the many nuances of driving a vehicle on the open road. Never drive when you’re tired or under the influence of any mind-altering substance, even if you only use a little bit. Ease into longer trips by getting a feel for driving short distances for at least one year after receiving a license. 

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