You're an adult if you can take care of yourself and make responsible decisions.
That sums it up so succintly! (I think I'm a woman of too many words. )
Kali (pka Michelle) ~ crunchy wife to Cory (09/06) ~ Mama to H (03/90) & I (06/92)--both ~ BF for 35 consecutive months ~ x 4
As much as I always knew being a child sucked, the beauty of adulthood really sank in to me when I was walking to my car to go to work one morning and I found an injured pigeon. I called in to work and took to pigeon home to care for it until I found an organization that would take it in. You think my mom would have let me miss one measly day of glorified daycare--or even be 15 minutes late--to save the life of another creature? Do you think she would have let it into our house? Hell no! Anytime I'm stressed about my job, bills, or housework, I think of that pigeon, start crying from joy, and pray to God to thank him for the fact that I'm no longer a child.
Depending on context, I tend to think of "adult" as referring to whatever constitutes a legal or otherwise official adult according to the society that person is living in. Modern USA? Anyone 18 and older. Genghis-Khan era Mongolia? Anyone 12+ year and older, at least if they're married, which they usually will be. While a 12 year old in modern America is definitely a child.
When someone complains and asks for advice on their 19-year-old son's girlfriend, for example, and people respond, "He's an adult," I take them to be saying, "WTF, Mama, you have no more right to control him than you would some random roommate.")
When I write stories and want a character who has just entered adulthood, I make him/her 16. In one case it was really, really important to me that one such character be considered an official adult according to the audience, so I reluctantly made her 18 years old, but I moved her transition to adulthood back to being two years before the story. After all the fictional and non-fiction things I've read about adults of various ages in other cultures, I just can't think of adulthood as 18.
legally i think the age of adult should change to 25. i mean biologically the frontal lobes of our brains dont completely develop till then. and that is the area which impacts impulse control.
i think that will have a huge social impact on how one treats 18 year olds.
Ack! If anything, I think the legal age should be LOWERED! You're absolutely right that it would have a huge social impact on how one treats 18-year-olds, but why wish that sort of treatment on anybody?
While the frontal lobes may reach their largest size around age 25, they also shrink as you age, along with the rest of the brain. By the time you're 30 the shrinkage has already started. That means if we're basing adult status on the frontal lobe or even on decision-making abilities, senior citizens would have their adult status REVOKED passed a certain age!
(I can actually agree with using the frontal lobe argument to say people above a certain age shouldn't hold high-ranking government offices, but good luck getting that passed when so many of the people who already hold those jobs are old! :p)
Besides, everyone's brain is different, just like everyone's (insert any other body part) is different. Men and women, as a groups, have different brains, but your brain is different from any other woman's brain. Likewise, though young people have different brains from older people, the brains of any two people of any same age are going to be different. And that can include frontal lobe size. It makes no sense to limit one person's legal rights based on someone else's neurological development. "Their brains are different" is an argument that was once used to justify mistreatment of minority races and is still used to justify mistreatment of women. It's not right.
Yes, it would lower expectations of young adults even more than the abysmal standard of expections at the moment.
I think we should be raising our expectations, not lowering them. IME, teens and adults live up to expectations.
i guess we differ here a lot. i think we over expect out of our young adults way too young. i think we as parents need to support our kids a few years longer than 18. for example when one looks at college applications, its expected that kids should experience no 'pain' at being torn apart from family and go live in a whole new place - like different city/state. many are ready for that, but many, many arent. yet we have this expectation that they can or should.
I think it's a little of both. I think we hold teenagers at too low of a standard and adults at too high of a standard. People go from being treated pretty similar to eight-year-olds, then upon some quick arbitrary live event, being expected make a 180 to live alone, support themselves financially, and never need anything from their parents again. It seems each generation becomes a little less community-oriented and a little more every-man-for-himself, which makes adult life more challenging for some people than it may have been in the past.
It would make more sense for teenage years to be a slow transition to adulthood. I wish schools would be reformed with that in mind.
Yeah, I much prefer being an adult to being a child. My mom once quoted someone about the non-joys of childhood (maybe it was Will Rogers"):
"You're 3 foot high and don't have a dime to your name"
Yep, being a kid is largely overrated, I think. I remember it as a time of seething, impotent rage at my parents' decisions; sibling rivalry; crippling embarrassment and pain involved with losing teeth, getting haircuts, school photos etc; mind-numbing boredom and pointlessness at school (sports days, I'm looking at you!); and a whole lot of angst surrounding birthday parties. It was certainly an interesting experience, and parts of it were cool - discovering certain books for the first time, camps, the sheer overwhelming delight of eating - but all in all, I wouldn't want to go through it again. Plus, I've always loved cooking, and being too weak to stire cookie dough is a pathetic form of existence. :p
I do sort of miss the feeling that $100 was an incredible amount of wealth, though. Remember when you were so young you couldn't understand how a $40,000 a year salary wasn't enough to buy everything you could possibly want? I remember thinking adults must be incredibly foolish to blaze through all that money, and how when I grew up I was going to save it and then buy all sorts of awesome stuff.
If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.
My family and I live on 20K a year. I still think 40K would buy everything *we* could possibly want. I can only dream of having 40K a year. YMMV.
My 18 year old is an adult. In a lot of ways, she's more adult than I am - she's much better organized and less flaky, and much better at dealing with life's bumps. Stuff like cleaning, managing a bank account, laundry, food shopping - she's been doing that for years. She doesn't support herself but she has earned her own spending money for years, and she's been a student - and I'm fine with that.
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler
Well thanks for that, but my question is directed at LynnS6.
Not that it should matter why, but as I live in northern California I am familiar with some of the unis around here, and as Lynn thought it was interesting enough to mention I thought I'd ask.
I remember talking about this with some scandanavians at university. They thought I was not acting like an adult because my parents were paying my tuition. I pointed right back at them that their government was paying theirs. Somehow government dependence seemed more adult to them than relying on your family.
I'd say I became an adult when I was 22ish. I think there is also a certain level of "adult-ness" that happens when one has kids. There's something about the exhaustion that puts life into perspective. :)
As far as feeling adult... well, I sort of feel less like a responsible adult now than I did when I was single. Not in every aspect, but I guess financially. DH does all the bill paying and has the paid job and buys the insurance type "adult" things. I mind the kids, which is also adult, but I also minded kids when I was a teen.
I think the creation of a teen-culture does a lot to infantize young adults. I mean, ideally teens would be with adults and mentored and learning to be adults as teens, but instead there is a societal expectation that they just play and spend money and party and be irresponsible. Now don't get me wrong, teens don't think like adults, but I have found with the teen mentoring program I have been a part of that the more you give them to be responsible for, the more they generally step up and do it. And kids now do seem less willing or able to take responsibility than teens did a decade or two ago.
The teens spend a week doing leadership training, they spend a week doing community service, and they spend a week running a local childrens' program. It is a really neat program. It is through our church, but a number of teens that do not attend our church have participated through the years as well. The teens really enjoy their time together, the community benefits from their service, and the kids in the area also get some great older kid role-models to emulate. It's win-win-win. :)
My DH and I got married and had kids much earlier than the people I grew up with. My friend did the same. I always felt we were much more on par than the rest of our schoolmates etc that we kept track of on FB who were still childless. It just seemed like a foreign concept to me, to be unmarried and childless throughout much of your 20's. Like, they had a job where they got respect, only themselves to spend their income on, they could travel when they wanted, sleep in when they wanted, take a sick day, etc. it just seems like, on a conscious level I know they had responsibilities too, and maybe they were MORE responsible than I was (maybe putting off kids until they were more financially stable) but when you're realistically only responsible for yourself, and maybe a boyfriend (or even a husband) and a cat or something, I think your whole perspective on life is different than when you have kids.
When you're a kid, your parents give you a curfew. When you're a parent, your kids give you a curfew (if you can even afford a babysitter). When you're a young, childless adult... you can go flit around for the whole weekend, if you want. Or go to the gym whenever you want. Or read a book from start to finish. Or decorate your home without wondering if the kids can hurt themselves on the furniture. Or a million other things that if you're childless, you can just *do* because you have the freedom to do so. I read in one book recently that everyone should "just take an hour every morning and do yoga" - yeah, right! Like I have an hour to myself every morning! That's a laugh.
And if it sounds like I'm jealous, heck no, I love my life the way it is. I *chose* to have a family early, and I would do it all over again. There's nothing I want more than to be in a functioning family, have twelve million kids and five dogs. I can't even quite imagine what I would do with a whole decade of me-time to myself (assuming someone plans to have kids in their 30's) and I'm sure they can't imagine how trapped I must feel (I don't).
Not to mention the stigma of having kids is huge (childfree movements, anyone?) so that sometimes takes some character-building to deal with, as well.
I don't feel that you can't be an adult without kids... I just think that it's more a significant of a change than any other transition *I've* been through. I felt "adult" at 17 (emotional/mental maturity); more adult when I moved to another city than my parents for college; more adult still when I got a grown-up job and moved in with my boyfriend (now-husband). But nothing has compared to how "adult" I feel since having kids.
I think the realization that I was responsible for the health and well being of another human, a tiny, utterly vulnerable one at that, forced me to grow up really quick. Maybe being a youngest child myself, who had never been responsible for younger siblings, made the change more abrupt.