So, I've got this boy...

and he’s turning 18 in a couple of weeks.

Contrary to my wife’s belief, I think it’s a bigger deal than all previous birthdays, and should be celebrated as such.

We have a big extened family - lots of aunts, cousins, etc… - and we’ll go to dinner & come home for gifts & cake, but what else can I do that’s special for him?

Wife says let him have a house full of friends over for pizza and gaming - that’s all these kids do anyway - but I say more, more, more.

I can’t afford 20 kids at Dave & Busters, or bowling, but there has to be something cool and fun I’m forgetting.

I’ve already written down paintball and strippers as a maybe.

What do you guys say?

I think your wife may be right. Whatever he does, he doesn’t want to do it with you. You can have the family party too if you want. But he would probably like to do something just with his peers. Unless they’re all 18 or older also, strippers could be a problem, but he would appreciate it, again, probably without you and mom.


Take him to Alberta so he can go drinking legally?

Maybe it’s just my family that did that…

Get him a stripper

I say if the kid wants to have his buddies over and hang out and eat pizza and play video games like they always do, then that’s what he should do for his birthday.

If I was invited to a big family birthday party for a cousin or nephew who was turning 18 and I was expected to bring presents, I’d think it was a little weird. Unless, of course, it’s some sort of family tradition, but it doesn’t sound like it is.

18 years is old enough that he can decide what to do for his own birthday. If he wants all the extended family over for a fancy formal party, that’s fine, and if he just wants to sit around on the couch belching and playing video games with his buddies, that’s fine too. It’s his party, not yours.

My students have told me about their celebrations and the one type most enjoyed had a little of everything. Start with a family celebration, usually a favorite dinner, cake, gifts. Then, younger siblings head out to spend the night at friends’ houses while last-minute prep for a party, if that’s what he wants, get done. Expectations are made clear and reviewed, casually and calmly.
Most of my students’ parents stick around at the beginning of the party, keeping a pretty low profile. This way you have a fairly good idea who’s there and it’s clear the party is expected to be fun, not an insane blowout. The parents then take off for the next few hours or even over night. Checking in, even dropping by-- outside-- for a couple of minutes is a good idea. No matter what, don’t hover. 'S all cool y’know? Just us adults here.
Clean up should be largely the responsibility of the birthday boy and friends. This also goes for stuff like strippers. Though only one of my students has ever been taken out to a club (just about any age is okay in Mexico) and didn’t seem entirely keen on the experience.

Drive him to the Post Office so he can register for the draft?

You can actually register on line for the draft now.

When my kids turned 18 we did a family thing at restaurant of their choosing and did their favorite cakes (New York style cheesecake for my daughter and ice cream cake for my son) at home.

After the family thing, my son took off to hang out with his buds and then brought some back to hang out here.

My daughter actually chose to have me make burritos for her birthday. For whatever reason, she just really loves those.

Bottom line; we asked what they wanted to do, and did it. They’re kind of sticklers for tradition, and just stuck with what we’ve almost always done.

Clearly you didn’t listen to your wife, even though you wrote down what she said.


Have a guy’s night, offer a few beers, talk about life, tell him you’re proud. I promise that’s all teens really want.

Paintball seems like a good idea.

Your wife’s idea also seems good.
I understand that you have the best of intentions when it comes to strippers but I believe it would be counterproductive.

Having strippers with one’s parents would ruin the fun of strippers. Did you want the concepts of “mom & dad” to mix in any way with the concept of “sex” when you were 18? Having my dad pay for a woman to grind on me would kill it for me.

As others have said, having a family celebration and then allowing him to do the 18-year-old-fun-stuff on his own would be more appreciated by him. Part of what makes an activity 18-year-old-fun-stuff is precisely not doing it with your parents.
More to the point, what does he like to do? Is there anything he’s really into?

That’s not ALL they want.

For my 18th, (last week) I had a meal with family and close friends, then one of my friend went to the coast with me, we stayed in a cheap hotel, and we did a club crawl, then, tomorrow, I’m having a dinner with the rest of my friends.

Put a fiver in a birthday card and tell him to buy himself a lottery ticket? Just let him do what he wants, it’s his birthday.

My mom made me buy her smokes on my 18th birthday. Don’t do that >.>

Might just be me, but as long as the parents aren’t in the room (or maybe house), as soon as there’s tits in his face I’m pretty sure the fact that they came from his dad’s wallet is going to be inconsequential.

Is the 18th supposed to be the welcome to adulthood or a fond farewell to childhood?

I’m with your wife on this one. Let him have the pizza & gaming party he wants. It should be a gift for him, not what you want for him.

I’m kidding about the strippers. My parents took me to see “Airplane” when I was 14. :eek: I’m still not over it.
No, the family party will take place regardless, but I want him to have his own special thing separately.

Just throwing food and sodas into the den occasionally seems pretty weak on my part.
I want him to have a blast, a blow-out, a rocking good time. I don’t have to be involved - I just want the credit!

BTW, anyone have a pocket trumpet they’re not using anymore? I’m tired of buying him swords that just hang on the wall, and he’s been pining for one lately.
A PT, not a fjord. :smiley: