Changing Roles & Relationships

Well on Your Way

Legal Rights & Guardianship

In Alberta, 18 year-olds have the right to:

  • decide who comes to clinic appointments with them
  • sign consent forms on their own
  • make independent healthcare decisions
  • decide what, if any, healthcare or education information they want to share with their parents or caregivers
  • decide where they want to live
  • become independent from parents
  • buy alcohol or marijuana
  • vote in elections
  • sign contracts
  • apply for credit

If your child has a developmental disability and is not able to make their own personal and financial decisions, or if your child would like you to keep supporting them after they turn 18, check out the adult guardianship & trusteeship options on our Making Your Own Decisions page.

How the Adolescent Brain Develops

Although your child is legally an adult when they turn 18, they may not always make responsible decisions. It is important to remember that the brain continues to develop until about age 24. The last part of the brain to mature is the frontal lobe—the part of the brain that helps make decisions.

Along with these videos about how the teenage brain develops, there are some great books on this topic. To learn more, check out the Youth in Transition Info Rx.

Managing Expectations

It is not easy parenting a child with an ongoing health condition or disability; it can change a parent or caregiver’s goals for behaviour and independence.

For those who have children with disabilities, it is important for you to work with them to help them become as independent as possible. They may need more support to live, work, travel, or go to school or a day program without you. Do not underestimate the possibilities.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” (Christopher Reeve)

This 1-hour video has great information about Parenting in the Face of Chronic Illness .

This video shows four different Parenting Styles & Effect on Adolescents .