July 26, 2018 I DON’T WANNA GROW UP!!! Hey Nikki! I have a problem, and it’s that I’m scared to grow up. I just want to stay a kid forever! I feel like I just want to run away and hide, but I know that won’t help me stop getting older. I’m petrified of thinking about going into the world by myself one day and I just want to stay at home forever. Please help me! Forever Young Hi Forever Young, Okay, I totally get where you’re coming from. Sometimes, watching my parents freak out over bills, taxes, the news and stuff makes being an adult look like the PITS! 🙁 But you’re right—getting older is going to happen no matter what. So, how do we face it without freaking out ourselves?! I think the first thing is to remember that it’s a looooong process. It’s not like one day you’re going to be watching cartoons and learning your ABCs, then the next day you’ve got a job, a house payment and a leak in your roof. A big part of our teenage years is about figuring out who we are as individuals. And most people have 5 to 6 teenage years before their family considers sending them out into the world. (And lots of people stay home for college, or a few years after high school graduation, so just because you turn 18, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically on your own.) So, you should totally take it one step at a time! I don’t know how old you are, but here are a list of some of the things you might do as a teenager that will be steps TOWARD independence, while still living securely at home: Take public transit by yourself Stay home alone Start doing your own laundry Start preparing meals for the family Get a part-time job Get a bank account and debit card (with the help of your parents) Help out more with yard work and housework Get a driver’s license Research college/post-high school options Date responsibly Manage your schoolwork Stay home alone overnight Even after you’ve moved out, it doesn’t have to mean you’re all alone in the world. For one thing, you’ll probably have roommates, whether in a college dorm or a starter apartment. Few young people can afford to live alone. So this will give you some peers to rely on for support. And your parents will always be your parents. If you stay living in the same town, you’ll probably still see them a lot. They’ll still be there for you. Even if you move across the country, your family will STILL be there for you! Plus, you’ll build your own family of people you choose to have in your life as roommates, friends and support for whatever comes up. Also, think about what it is about being a kid that you love. If it’s freedom from responsibility, well, you’re out of luck. But like I said, you’ll have years to gradually learn how to be a responsible adult. But if you’re afraid you’ll have to give up doing fun kid things, you won’t! Here are some of the things ADULTS I know do on a regular basis: roller derby, laser tag, comic conventions, softball leagues, board game clubs, skateboarding, movie marathons, watch cartoons, go camping, and on and on. Being an adult DOES come with added responsibilities. But it ALSO comes with added freedoms! And by the time you’re actually old enough for the responsibilities, they probably won’t seem as intimidating. For now, enjoy being a kid! Try not to spend those awesome kid years worrying about what comes next. And just know that it’s a process and your parents won’t kick you out of the nest before you’re ready to fly! Do you have “Peter Pan syndrome” – afraid to grow up? Or are you in a hurry to be on your own? What’s your favorite part of being a kid, and what do you think will be the best part of being an adult? Tell us in the comments!