NO CONSENT NEEDED: At 18 you can get a tattoo, vote, apply for credit, and go skydiving without permission.
NO CONSENT NEEDED: At 18 you can get a tattoo, vote, apply for credit, and go skydiving without permission. German-skydiver

Leaping into adulthood

YESTERDAY was a very special day. My first born reached a milestone - she is now officially an adult (in the eyes of the law, at least).

The 18 years have passed in the blink of an eye and I couldn't be more proud of the young woman she has become.

She will always be my little girl (not because of her short stature). As her mother I'm not sure I will ever see her any other way even though she is independent and very capable - she is a pocket rocket.

In the lead up to her birthday, the excitement of being able to finally go to a nightclub and do stuff without parental consent was palpable - until she watched a re-run of an episode of a satirical consumer affairs show on television.

All of a sudden the reality of living in the adult world hit her.

"I don't want to be a grown up,” was the comment.

The show "explaining and exposing the ways we are being ripped off” made her realise that with age comes more responsibility and decision making.

I think I have given my daughter some invaluable tips on how to navigate the world but I also know she will learn more on the way.

I acknowledge that in raising my child, my views and values have been passed on to some extent but in my parenting I have also emphasised that she is an individual who should do what her heart and conscience tells her to do. Listen to your instincts is my mantra.

Another of my gems is to do the research - check it out first before rushing in.

A case in point is the tattoo debate.

I'm not a big fan of permanent ink on the skin but ultimately it's her body, her choice.

Now she is 18 she can venture to the tattooist without my permission to have a dermis design and I'm okay with that as long as she has thought about it long and hard.

As an official adult, she now has the right to do anything without parental consent. She is responsible for what happens in her life as she formulates her own ideas and works out how to achieve her goals.

She can vote and stand for a political seat (when she was younger she said she would be the first elected female Australian Prime Minister); she can apply for credit in her own name; she has the right of full independent legal standing eg to sue or be sued; she can serve on a jury; she can make a will; she can enter into a legal union with another and even skydive without my permission.

However my girl hasn't changed from adolescent to adult overnight. It's been a work in progress and I just can't wash my hands of my parental responsibility yet, even though I sense she is going to be okay.

I brought her into the world to live her own life but just as my parents have done I will always support my now adult child.

If she needs me and asks for help I will be there, to share in her happiness and her sorrow, but I won't interfere because she is a big girl now.



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