Would you cut off your kid at 18?

If you’re a parent, would you cut off your child financially as soon as they turn 18? Or did your parents cut you off at 18? Here’s a letter I recently answered from a parent who plans to let her daughter “sink or swim” the moment she graduates from high school. The kicker is her daughter is five months away from graduation, and the parent hasn’t told her daughter yet.

Had my parents done this to me when I was 18, I know what would have happened: I would have sunk. I had a part-time job, but I didn’t have the maturity to take on all the responsibilities of adulthood overnight. And I turned 18 wayyy back in 2001, when you could still rent an apartment, buy a used car, etc., for a reasonable amount.

One of the big problems with the letter writer’s plans is that she hasn’t given her daughter any time to prepare. I was discussing the letter with my friend a couple weeks ago. He’s 44, and his parents cut him off after high school — but they’d told him he was on his own after high school since his early teens. So he got a job as soon as he was old enough and started saving. He had several years to prepare. Of course, that was in the late 1990s, when life was a lot more affordable.

I certainly don’t think anyone should give a blank check to their kids once they become an adult. But this seems quite harsh to me. What does everyone think? Is it realistic to expect your child to become financially independent at 18?

Not only is it unrealistic I think the mom is clearly deluded. I would never do this to a kid if I had one.

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No, I would not.

I moved out at 18, but I always knew my parents were there for me. They didn’t have enough money to help me out, but I knew I was welcome back in their home if I needed it. And I did, for a bit of time when I was 19.

I have an 18 year old senior, and I expect that he will stay with me for several more years, at least until he completes college or is employed in a trade that pays a living wage. Or he decides he wants to move out and in with friends.

I was 20 and in college when I moved out of my mom’s house for the fist time. And my parents helped with my rent for a few years after that until I had a steady, full-time job after graduating (I am so thankful for them). I would’ve been so lost if I was just given the boot with no notice once I turned 18! And 18-year-olds are still just kids, after all.

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hi everyone i would never do that to my children i still help them out some times and they pay me back


In a somewhat functional family, children or family is NEVER cut off!

Even adults hit hard times and may need a parent to reach out and save them on occasion.

You definitely need to push them to be independent but you also need to be there to help them over the bumps.


hi rick campbell i so agree with you


I read the article that questioned and wanted validation about making their soon to be 18 year old leave home and be on their own responsible for their own finances. Here’s my thoughts on this—Unless you have developed a sense of responsibility in your child for what it means to be an adult—you can’t just suddenly drop the bucket at age 18 and kick them out the door as if they are trash and expect them to suddenly know what to do. You as the parent should have be developing responsibility in your child for their actions for the moment they were born. Of course, at first you should be responsible for their care and also guiding them during their transition from being helpless and unable to do things to when they start to become more independent. Don’t let their tantrums when you say no to them deter their understanding of the why you said no. As soon as they are able to do things safely, make them aware of how their actions affect consequences. Good example—playing with their toys doesn’t mean they don’t have to put them away. Or washing their hands properly or getting ready for bed—anything else that involves being part of the family. You, as their parent, have to be the nag, until they do it by themselves without any prompting. When making purchases ( however large or small) engage your child in the decision process to buy or not—doing this enough times will make them reason about impulse buying. In families that can afford allowances ( hopefully most) make getting that allowance part of achieving certain objectives. At present, there’s great technology in place that can help them understand how they can control their own money and spending habits. You should not be their open source of money except for the allocation of the allowance. In conclusion, you should have be preparing your child to be independent and accepting their financial responsibility way before they reach 18, so they know how to choose which way they want to go after high school graduation. This should never be a sudden decision by the parents to shove their child out if they have never been trained to be responsible for their own actions.


No I would not. As a family with parents and 5 boys, you finished school and you were all still living at home, we were encouraged to find work to help support our family. if you did not find any work it was your responsibility to do the house chores of cleaning, cooking and yard work. Naturally after a while it really got to a point where it was no longer a vacation but boring, so eventually we found gainful employment then with that we are able to assist our parents with weekly living expenses and still helped out around the home with cleaning and cooking. Great Life Lessons.

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I would not cut my child off at 18. I think that’s a terrible way to “parent”. You have just wasted 18 years of your life and her life.

I’m sorry you cannot figure out a different approach with your daughter. You should invest in some deep self reflection for why you are holding onto this idea without truly understanding it’s potential long-term effects for both of you.

I hope your daughter finds the support she’s going to need including mental health support to cope with an insensitive, cruel parent. If I knew your daughter, I would offer her help in a heartbeat.

Do you want her living on the street? Are you insane? Have you seen homeless camps? You want her freezing in the winter and suffering exposure in the summer? Do you want her lining up to accept free toiletries, feminine products, and clothing because you followed through on your uninformed plan to “cut her off”?

You want her to pick up some crappy job because the education she thought she would be able to afford is now years away for her?

PS - look into estrangement, too, so you get the full picture of what you are planning.

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love your post and i agree with you

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