It is every parents’ worst nightmare. The phone call in the middle of the night or the busy workday. The call that lets you know something has happened to your child.

The fear of what could happen does not get easier as your child ages either. In many ways, it intensifies. Although you don’t have to worry about whether or not your young adult knows how to swallow, attend to basic medical needs, or find a doctor, the fear that something will happen to him or her when you cannot be there never goes away.

We believe communication is key. Discussing with your young adults early on everything from how to make the bed and choose their courses in college to making good friends and knowing how to function in a crisis, are all key pieces of information you want to share with them. Our children learn from us. The more we can do to educate them on how to become responsible young adults the better.

Take some time to ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you telling them about how to protect themselves when it comes to making good decisions?
  • What problem-solving skills do you teach them?
  • How are you helping them understand how to balance fun and risk with their personal safety?

We know this can be hard for any parent to navigate, so we want to give you a few tips that can help you raise your young adult safely.

1. Mom and Dad are only a phone call away.

Although most kids want to be as independent of their parents as soon as possible, always remind them that you are there. Be it in the middle of the night, during the worst choice they could ever make, or a truly scary situation, they need to pick up the phone and call. It doesn’t matter if they’ll be in trouble, the important thing is they will be safe. In addition, it might be helpful to arrange for another trusted adult in their life (an aunt, uncle, godparent, etc.) to be a backup option for a call just in case a situation may be too embarrassing for them to initially broach with you.

2. Once they turn 18 everything changes.

Not only are they legally an adult and have the right to vote, no one can make their medical or legal decisions. While this can be a very heavy concept for your young adult to grasp or they may simply think it’s not important, it is crucial you discuss it with them.

Put it in simple terms for them. For example, what if you need access to help make a payment to a doctor while they are in college? In this instance, healthcare documents with HIPAA releases are needed. Do they need more money added to their bank account from far away or have tuition paid? Making you the agent under their durable power of attorney will help.

Remind them, that at a time such as needing money or gaining access to medical treatment, they will not want to be in a position where these decisions will have to be made by someone else. While on your end, you have the peace of mind that you can still legally be involved in the important decision making and protection of your now adult child.

3. Don’t trust strangers.

Although it seems like a simple statement, the term “stranger” can be a relative term to a young adult. Every day your child can be inundated with making new friends, requests for information, and the threat of hacking from criminals. While you don’t want to scare your child, it’s important to have a conversation about how to act responsibly when it comes to interacting online. It is much better for your child to think you are paranoid than for them to be at risk.

These are just a few of the tips we share with our family, friends, and neighbors, who are raising young adults today. We know as parents ourselves there may never be a perfect time to have a necessary conversation. This is especially true when it comes to responsibility and safety. The important thing is to have a conversation. Do not wait to share with us your great ideas on what you share with your young adults!

Want to learn more about how to plan for your young adult?

(1)  Download our free Young Adult Emergency Plan Guide

(2) Schedule a Call to speak with a member of our team.


Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community about trust and estate planning, veterans issues, and how to protect what matters most.

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