Has your teen finally celebrated their 18th birthday? Congratulations! Or, should we say, we’re sorry?
The day your teen turns 18 could be a day you’ve been dreading for a long time. They’re still your baby, but now that your teenager is a legal adult too, the door is open for them to do many adult things, and not knowing what they want to do might make you nervous, especially if you suspect that what your teen wants to do mostly involves some form of “I don’t have to listen to my parents anymore and I can do what I want.”
We have some good news for you (and for your new adult). There’s a variety of things 18-year-olds can do which are vastly more interesting, exciting, and surprising than typical teenage rebellion and they’re probably activities that you and they have probably never given much thought to.
If you want a special way to honor your child’s graduation into adulthood, share this list of things to do when you turn 18 with your teen.
Things You Can Do At 18
Since 1971, all 18-year-old citizens in the United States can vote in elections. Many states also have enacted pre-registration laws, allowing voters to pre-register as early as age 16. Check to see what the pre-registration laws are in your state and exercise your vote.
2. Buy a lottery ticket.
In most states, once you turn 18, you can buy a lottery ticket. Check the laws in your state to be sure.
3. Get a tattoo without parental consent.
For all states, the minimum age to get a tattoo is 18. When you become a legal adult at age 18, you don’t need parental consent.
4. Purchase fireworks.
In some states, purchasing fireworks is illegal. But in the states that allow it, businesses will only sell to buyers who are at least 18 years old.
5. Bet on a horse race.
Unlike traditional sports betting, which requires someone to be 21+ to place a bet, some markets allow 18-year-olds to bet on horse racing. Gamblers usually place their bets at a racetrack outside and don’t restrict underage patrons from entry the way sports bars and casinos do.
6. Get called for jury duty.
In America, the Massachusetts Bay Colony impaneled the first grand jury in 1635 to consider cases of murder, robbery, and domestic assault. After years of widespread abuse by courts stacked with King George’s cronies, our Founders established a defendant’s right to be tried by a jury of peers. Trial by jury gives community members the responsibility and power to safeguard liberties and rights. And now you can take part in this historic and important legal process.
7. Sue someone.
The right to sue someone doesn’t vest until a person is an adult, which means the person can file a lawsuit in their own name once they turn 18. Many states, like California, allow for the statute of limitations to be put on hold until a minor turns 18.
8. Change your legal name without parental consent.
Excited to reinvent yourself for college? Now you can go to court to change your name without parental consent.
9. Drink internationally.
While 21 is the standard drinking age for most of the United States, many consumers across the world have earlier introductions to alcohol. In fact, 64 percent of the world’s nations have set their legal minimum drinking age at 18.
10. Consent to your own medical care.
There are exceptions, but for most medical procedures and treatments, you’re still legally considered a minor when you’re under the age of 18 and you’ll need a parent or guardian to consent to medical treatment on your behalf. Once you turn 18, you no longer need parental consent.
11. Buy spray paint.
Surprisingly, by federal law, you must be at least 18 years old to buy spray paint.
12. Buy cough syrup.
Children under the age of 18 cannot buy cough syrup because it contains dextromethorphan, which, when consumed in large quantities, produces intoxication, a euphoric high, and hallucinations. But now that you’re 18, you can buy cough syrup in limited quantities when you show proof of age and ID.
13. Go skydiving.
If you’re a thrill seeker, you can literally jump for joy when you turn 18.
14. Join the military without parental consent.
When you turn 18, you can serve your country by joining the military and you do not need parental consent. Service academy applicants must be 18 years old by July 1st in the year of entry.
15. Work in a bar.
In many states, you can legally work in a bar when you turn 18 (even though you still can’t drink).
16. Open a bank account.
As of your 18th birthday, you can now open a bank account in your own name. This is because you the legal age to sign a contract is 18.
17. Apply for a credit card.
When you turn 18, you can get a credit card in your own name. But you might need to show proof of income (to prove you can pay the bills).
18. Buy a car.
Have you worked part-time jobs and built up savings? You should know that 18-year-olds can purchase a car. That being said, if you need financing, you may need a parent to co-sign the loan.
19. Rent an apartment.
If you want to get an apartment when you turn 18, you’ll need to have a steady income, enough savings to cover your move-in costs, and a good credit score. If you aren’t working or don’t have a credit history, you’ll likely have to find a co-signer or guarantor.
20. Apply for a mortgage.
In most states, 18 is the minimum age required to buy a home.
21. Get married!
You might not be mentally, emotionally, or financially ready for it, and you might still feel more like a kid than an adult. Still, you should know that almost all states allow marriage without parental consent at 18 years old.
22. Adopt a child.
Most states allow adoption at 18 years old.
23. Get a Costco card.
Shockingly exciting news! You can now scavenge lunch from the taster tables at Costco with your very own Costco card.
24. Book a hotel room.
Going away for your first college spring break vacation? Grab a bunch of friends and book that hotel!
25. Work full time.
Turning 18 entitles you to work full time. Bonus, you’ll get to know FICA.
26. Donate blood.
Want to do good in the world when you turn 18? If you donate blood, you can save up to three people’s lives.
27. Create a will.
At 18 years old, you can make a legal will. You can write the will yourself, in your own handwriting, or type it out on a computer or typewriter. You must sign your will in front of two other adult witnesses, who must also sign the will.
28. Stay out all night.
When you turn 18, you add six additional hours of fun to your day. No more legal curfew.
29. Become an Uber/Lyft driver.
Eager to make some extra cash for late night food orders or shopping sprees? Now that you’re 18, you can work as an Uber or Lyft driver and make your own hours.
30. Become a notary public.
In some states, you can become a notary public at age 18, which might come in handy if someone in your community needs documents notarized.
31. Become a realtor.
If you’re at least 18 years old, you can sign up for a course, study hard, and take an exam to earn your real estate license and become a real estate agent. Yup, you can start a potentially lucrative career right out of high school.
32. Buy stock.
In most states, you can start investing in stocks on your own when you turn 18. As a first step, you can open your own online brokerage account.
33. Travel internationally without a guardian or parental consent.
International travelers under the age of 18 must present a letter of consent signed by any/all non-traveling parents. But now that you’re 18, you no longer need to do that.
34. Adopt a pet.
Looking for a furry friend to accompany you in life? Now you can officially adopt!
35. Lease a car.
Most car dealerships will require you to be 18 to lease a car. This is because you have to be 18 years old to enter legally binding contract, and a lease is a contract.
36. Rent an apartment or a house.
Once you turn 18, you can sign a lease to rent an apartment or a house. However, it still may be hard to find a place to rent considering most have income requirements to be accepted and you’re just starting your career.
37. Buy a house.
At 18 years old you can legally purchase a home in most states. It might be difficult to afford a downpayment or get a favorable mortgage with limited income history, but buying a home at 18 is definitely possible!
38. Open retirement accounts like 401(k) or Roth IRA.
It’s never too early to start saving for your retirement, unless you’re under 18. When you turn 18 you can open retirement accounts such as 401(k) and IRAs!
39. Serve in public office.
Although you have to be 35 years old to run for president, there are many public positions that you can run for at the age of 18. If you’re interested in public positions, you can start planning to get involved locally within your school district or other departments.
40. Donate Plasma
The minimum age to donate plasma is 18 years old. There are additional health requirements you must pass as well. You might even earn some money from your plasma donations!