The controversy of adulthood

When is a person officially considered an adult? Is it when they turn 18, 21, or 25? The common response would be 18. However, this is not scientifically accurate. So then, do we establish the concept of adulthood based on research or societal practices?

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The controversy of adulthood

Sierra Yost, Photo Editor

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When is a person officially considered an adult? Is it when they turn 18, 21, or 25? The common response would be 18. However, this is not scientifically accurate. So then, do we establish the concept of adulthood based on research or societal practices?

“[…] the human brain doesn’t fully stop growing and learning until age 25, so probably 25 [is when a person should be considered an adult],” said senior Rose Stoddard.

According to Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, the definition of adult is fully-developed and mature. In regards to this description, an individual would reach adulthood upon turning 25, when their brain is fully developed. One could also argue that if a 21 year old’s brain is mature enough for them to consume alcoholic substances, then they are mature enough to be deemed an adult.

“I personally think [someone is an adult] at 18 because they get legal rights and they can do anything without parental consent,” said senior Alex Richmond. Once an individual turns 18, they are then able to vote, buy guns, get a tattoo, smoke, and join the military. While these are all mature activities, do they mark the age of growth?

Another viewpoint is that adulthood is not characterized by age at all. Instead, it is the period in a person’s life when they begin to take care of themselves and mature emotionally. “[…] my opinion is that I don’t consider someone an adult based off of their age,” said senior Danika Shane. “ I base it off of how they act and how much responsibility they are given.”

In this respect, an emancipated 16 year old would be more of an adult than an unemployed 25 year old living in their parent’s basement. The teenager would be more responsible for themselves and would have a stronger mindset.

The controversy over age isn’t just when someone has grown out of their adolescence, but it is also about the laws and limitations formed on the foundation of adulthood. Should the age restriction on consuming alcoholic beverages be 16, 18, 21, or 25? Should an 18 year old be able to make life-altering decisions like smoking or joining the military?

Some believe that current laws in relation to age are logical and well-executed, while others think that the age restriction to drink and join the military should be raised. It is hard to say whether or not someone whose brain has not completely progressed can entirely comprehend consequences for actions that could affect them later on  down the road.

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