How to talk to your young adult teen about grown-up stuff. 75 Topics 18-Year-Olds Should Know
In just one day, a 17-year-old goes from being a kid whose ignorance about grown-up topics may be excused to an adult who should have known better. It is a dynamic that plays out across the country every day as young people reach their 18th birthday. So where exactly are newly minted adults supposed to get the knowledge expected to accompany their recently gained status?
Parents may seem like the obvious choice to teach their children about adulthood, but with so many competing priorities the topic may not get much attention in homes. Even for parents who make the time to discuss grown-up stuff, the subjects can be so boring and seemingly irrelevant to teens that the conversations may sometimes be met with complete disinterest.
Schools, friends, and society in general may be able to teach our youth about adulthood, but those options are not without their own challenges and shortcomings. In other words, young people tend to enter adulthood without much of the information they’ll need to succeed in their journey. Many waste much of their twenties and even early thirties trying to figure things out on the fly.
I was one of those 18-year-olds who was completely oblivious about most of the details that make adulthood work. I knew virtually nothing about lease agreements, at-will employment, a W-2, credit reports, bank accounts, or any type of insurance. It wasn’t that things were difficult to learn, but rather the fact that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. How are you supposed to ask questions about stuff you are not aware is relevant to you?
In an effort to help my own teenager avoid having to learn about adulthood through trial and error, I ended up writing a teen-friendly book on the topic. Grown-Up Stuff Explained: 75 Topics 18-Year-Olds Should Know grew out of the need to present the information in a way that was concise, efficient, and at least mildly entertaining.
The book is designed to answer three main questions about each of the items it covers:
- When is it relevant?
- What is it?
- Why it matters?
In order to keep readers engaged, the book gets to each point quickly and succinctly. Every subject is limited to one page and is accompanied by a cartoon that summarizes the main idea.
The purpose of the book is simply to make young people aware of topics that they may want to further explore on their own. It covers important details related to civic responsibilities, employment, living arrangements, paying off debt, owning a car, saving and investing, traveling, and others.
Parents can use the book as a catalyst to initiate their own adulthood related discussions with their older teens or young adults. Similarly, young people can use the book as a resource to reference when needed. In either scenario, it is my hope that the book can be a useful tool in getting soon-to-be and new adults to understand grown-up stuff. There is certainly much of it to learn, so we can all use a little help.
By Witty Ryter