Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 month ago

What really differentiates between children and adults?

I always thought of it in terms of the age of majority set by the state government and nothing else. This age is usually 18. Many middle aged people tend to base it off  actions and behaviors instead. They like to claim that a person is not an adult because of the way they act. This is especially true when it comes to young adults usually aged 18-20. In my eyes, behavior, appearance, relationship status, financial status, and anything other than age is irrelevant to adulthood. Here's why, adulthood covers an extremely large amount of ages. According to the state of Michigan and 46 other states, It is essentially 18 until death. This covers different generations and age groups that have reached different stages of life. It is nearly impossible to say that doing or not doing certain things labels you as an adult or child. If this was the case, you could look at senior citizens and say that’s how adults act and anybody who doesn’t act that way is a child. So, if you don’t walk around with a cane and eat dinner by 4pm, your not an adult. You could also look at 18-24 year olds and say thats the way all adults are. If you don’t party, binge drink and work odd jobs, you’re a child. It makes no sense. I guess I’m asking if the word adult has a definition that is set in stone or is it a fluid term that people use based off opinion?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    "It's essentially eighteen until death."  Thanks for the clarification.

  • Squid
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Every word in every language is fluid.  Even legal terms with very precise definitions are used in conversation with different meanings.

    "Adult" means different things to different people, and even means different things to the same person in different contexts.

    When someone says "act like an adult" they generally are NOT saying you should act like any specific one of those examples you gave.  What they are saying is just to stop doing whatever childish thing your are doing.

  • 1 month ago

    Being an adult is mostly fluid.  A line has to be drawn somewhere, so states use 18 as the baseline.  That is the age where you are legally an adult for the purposes of many things such as signing contracts.  Psychologically an adult can be a different thing.  Some young people are wise beyond their years and some adults refuse to grow up until they have to.  There are no set rules for being an adult. Most people are a mixture of both.  Serious and responsible at times, silly and reckless at others.

    the biological definition is when someone has reached sexual maturity and is fully grown.

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