While your kids may want to convince you that they are adults as soon as they go off to college, a new report suggests they really have several more years before they can claim the title.
Scientists from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Australia argue that while adolescence is currently defined as being between the ages of 10 and 19, now that many young people are spending longer periods in college, and putting off marriage and parenthood, they really aren’t reaching adulthood until the age of 24.
The study’s author Prof. Susan Sawyer suggests because kids don’t become adults now until 24, policies to help youth should last past their teen years. “Although many adult legal privileges start at age 18 years, the adoption of adult roles and responsibilities generally occurs later,” she says, noting that the "semi-dependency" of adolescence is now way past the teen years.
But not everyone agrees. One professor noted, just because they aren’t married or still in school doesn’t mean they are not adults. Dr. Jan Macvarish of the University of Kent explains to the BBC: “There is nothing inevitably infantilizing about spending your early 20s in higher education or experimenting in the world of work.”