Many children look forward to turning 18, as it symbolizes their transition into adulthood. But now, some adolescents may have to wait a little while longer to become a grown-up.
Child psychologists in Britain have issued new guidelines this week, advising doctors to change the age for maturity from 18 to 25 years old, Medical Daily reported. According to the experts, their decision was based on recent findings relating to emotional maturity, hormonal development and neurological activity.
“The idea that suddenly at 18 you’re an adult just doesn’t quite ring true,” Laverne Antrobus, a child psychologist at London’s Tavistock Clinic, told BBC News. “My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age.”
Antrobus and others claim that adolescence can be split into three stages: An early period between 12 and 14 years of age, a middle period between 15 and 17 years of age, and a new period called “late adolescence” from 18 to 25 years of age. According to Medical Daily, past research has shown that human cognition continues to development well into early adulthood, and hormonal activity often associated with the teenage years continues into an person’s early 20s.
The psychologists hope that by redefining the age for adulthood, people in their early 20s will gain better access to the proper health care and education.
However, the move has already been met with criticism. Frank Furedi, a sociologist at the University of Kent, told BBC News that young adults are being infantilized, especially as more young people in their early 20s are moving back in with their parents.
"There is a loss of the aspiration for independence and striking out on your own,” Furedi said. “When I went to university it would have been a social death to have been seen with your parents , whereas now it's the norm.”