50 Things You Can Do When You Turn 18 (Who Knew?)

It’s one of those big moments in life; a real milestone. Your teen turns (or you turn) 18 and suddenly people start throwing around the word “adult” in reference to someone you very much still think of as a “kid.”

You may look at them and think with a healthy dose of skepticism, “Really, an adult?” But once the candles are blown out you may shed a tear or two because deep down you understand that things are changing, really changing. 

This is not a birthday like any other, your 18th birthday may be the biggest one of them all.

And even though we parents may look at our 18 year olds and still see the small child within, turning 18 is the gateway to adulthood. 

What teens can do when they turn 18:

1. Vote (you probably knew that one)

2. Join the Military

3. Register for  the Selective Service (mandatory for males)

4. Buy a lottery ticket

5. Have an alcoholic drink in most places outside of the US

6. Get a body piercing or tattoo without parental consent

7. Buy a pet

8. Sign a contract

9. Change their name

10. Open a brokerage account and buy stock

11. Use a meat/deli slicer at a grocery store job

12. Book a hotel room

13. Become a realtor

14. Become a notary public

15. Enter an adults-only store

16. Skydive

17. Give consent for their own vaccines

18. Work in a bar and serve drinks

19. Sign themselves out of high school

20. Be called for jury duty

21. Open a bank account

22. Have sex legally with someone over 18

23. Get married without parental permission

24. Get a 10 year Passport

25. Get a Costco card

26. Buy real estate or apply for a mortgage

27. Apply to find their biological parents if they are adopted

28. Drive a taxi

29. Get a license to drive a truck

30. Be the only one home when a service repair person needs to enter the home.

31. Go to the ER alone and get treatment

32. Work full time in the school year

33. Register to give blood or be an organ donor

34. Apply for credit cards

35. File a lawsuit

36. Adopt a child

37. Create a will

38. Buy a car

39. Rent an apartment

40. Buy pornogrpahy

42. Sue someone

43. Pawn your belongings

44. Buy spraypaint

45. Bet on a horse race

46. Buy cough suppressants

47. Rent Airbnb

48. Use a ride sharing scooter like Bird or Lime

49. Consent to their own medical care

50. Move out of their parents’ home.

You probably knew that your kids can vote at 18 but there are quite a few of these came as a surprise to us. So yes, while some things change when your child turns 18 one thing doesn’t change and probably never will; whether your kids are 18 or 80, they are still your babies. They may drive you insane but you wouldn’t have it any other way.

To all the “kids” who are turning 18 this year, enjoy the new freedoms, but please understand that those freedoms come with new responsibilities, as well.

And to all the parents of those kids, don’t forget our motto here at Grown and Flown, “Parenting never ends.”

One item that parents may overlook is the documents needed to ensure that after your child turns 18, if a medical issue arises, parents can be involved in the decision-making. A streamlined way to get the documents you need with the least amount of aggravation and at a reasonable price, is through Mama Bear Legal Forms. I used Mama Bear for my own son who attends school out-of-state and the process was seamless. Now, we are able to offer our readers a 20% discount when you use the code GROWN&FLOWN as we are affiliates. (We receive compensation from purchases made thorough the Mamma Bear link but our opinions are our own.)

More Great Reading: 

How to Celebrate a 21st Birthday While Practicing Social Distancing Here are some birthday ideas that are fun for 18 year olds, too.


It is a big moment. Your teen turns 18 and suddenly people start throwing around the word “adult” in reference to someone you very much think of as a “kid.” But deep down, once the candles are blown out and you have shed a tear or two, we all know that things are changing, really changing, and that this may be the biggest birthday of them all. #18thbirthday #adulting #teenagers

About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Lisa

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