When Do You Become An Adult?

Paine Copeland

If you think of the transition to “adulthood” as getting a job, moving away from your parents, getting married, and having kids you’re not wrong. When people take too long to acquire them? or eschew? them all together, it becomes a reason to lament that no one is a grown-up.

Adulthood is a social construct, and, for that matter, so is childhood. In the United States, you can’t drink until you are 21, but legal adulthood, along with voting and the ability to join the military, comes at age 18. You’re allowed to watch adult movies at 17, and kids can hold a job as young as 14, depending on state restrictions, they can often deliver newspapers, babysit, or work for their parents even younger than that.

Laurence Steinberg, a distinguished university professor of psychology at Temple University states, “We all know people who are 21 or 22 years old who are very wise and mature, but we also know people who are very immature and very reckless. We’re not going to start giving people maturity tests to decide whether they can buy alcohol or not.” My opinion of when you become an adult when you can move out of the house and support yourself.