Parents wondering how long their children will act like teenagers can expect it to last up to the age of 28, an Australian psychologist warned Friday.
Adelaide-based adolescent psychologist Dr. Darryl Cross said parents were not prepared to deal with, or failed to recognize, "teenage-like behavior" outside what is normally considered adolescence, The Advertiser reported.
Cross said U.K. research found in many cases adolescence started at the younger age of eight and extended to 28, instead of the previously believed age range of 12 to 21.
"That lengthening of the teenage years comes down to a lot of things," he said.
"It's related to earlier physical changes with the younger kids and social changes, such as staying at home longer with the older ones,” Cross said."But despite this, parents just have not caught up to the fact that these changes are occurring and how to deal with them.”
"When I tell parents the way their 26-year-old is behaving could be down to adolescence, they literally fall off their chair; it's the same when we're talking about an eight-year-old," Cross said.
Fellow adolescent psychologist Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg agreed and said parents needed to set boundaries both earlier and later in their children's lives.
"Parents at the moment are bad at setting and monitoring boundaries," he said.
"The truth is, when you've got a young child, you should be monitoring how often they're on the internet, what they're looking at,” Carr-Gregg said. "And if you've got an adult child in their 20s who you feel should be moving out, then sit down with them and discuss what they need to do. Too many just let it go."