One day you would have woken up out of bed, eighteen years later from the day you were born and looked in the mirror to realise that nothing had changed… you would have still looked the same, walked the same and probably felt the same, however what was not the same anymore is how the world will perceive you.
Being 18 Legally?
At the age of eighteen, you are now legally an adult, old enough to buy an alcoholic drink, vote in elections, gamble at casinos and donate your organs.
However, who decided that it only takes eighteen years to grow? When many of us hit maturity and puberty at different stages of our lives, and others having to demonstrate their independence from very young ages, such as those who are orphans or child carers.
Yet, even so, we are hooked on this notion that eighteen is the age of responsibility, of independence, of adulthood when a lot of young people show these qualities well before or after their eighteenth birthday.
Each person has various combinations of life experiences and they can have different levels of impact on one person, so determining an overall age of maturity can be ambiguous.
Nevertheless, in society, it is necessary to have a certain age to distinguish when one is no longer a child but an adult; but the question here is that is eighteen the right age? Some would agree and some would disagree but it would appear strange that we are established an adult even when we are still a ‘teen’.
What The Science Says:
Some psychologists have suggested that the rational part of the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 and research has been done to show that because of this, teens do not use the prefrontal cortex (rational part) as much as an over 25 person would use it during decision making.
However, in addition to this, it can be argued that being considered an adult is not just biological but there are social factors that contribute to being ‘grown up’.
Like being able to financially support yourself and live by yourself?
If these were the primary factors then in the UK, eighteen would be the right age because by then you would have finished school and likely to get a job or go to university which your independence will be displayed and put to test.
But does this really make you an adult?
What does it even mean to be an adult?
The experience may help but the action of actually paying bills does not really…
Furthermore, there are further activities that would be considered ‘adult-like’ at an earlier age, such as being able to give consent to sex at sixteen or the ability to join the army before eighteen.
When potentially becoming a parent or risking potentially your life in the armed forces (at sixteen you cannot serve on the frontline until you are eighteen but you are required to serve a minimum of 6 years in the army if you sign up at sixteen) would demand a lot more responsibility than having entry to a club or watch an 18 rated movie.
Why is there a lack of consistency? No one really knows when one is an adult! It is probably older than both sixteen and eighteen but a boundary to such things like alcohol must be set to avoid very small children from accessing it.
Therefore overall, the age of adulthood is subjective, so what do you think? Are you really an adult when you turn 18?