When Do You Become An Adult? By Avery Amende

“Just because you don’t feel like an adult doesn’t mean you can’t act like one,” says Kelly Brown in her book “Adulting: How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.”
This leaves an important question. What is an adult beyond just the number received after 18 years of living?
Megan Sterl, 33, thinks that being an adult goes further than age. She says that being an adult stems from being accountable and “being financially independent, managing your own bills and money.”
The definition of an adult includes words like “mature,” “developed,” and “grown up.” Although the U.S. considers 18 year old individuals as adults, places all around the world consider different ages as defining factors of adulthood. So what differentiates the qualities that an adult has but a child does not outside of just age?
“I think being an adult is more than age itself. One could of be old enough to legally be an adult and yet their actions could say otherwise. It could also goes the other way around—where people are raised and fully matured by the age of 15,” says Elijah Cusomato, an eighth grader.
Turning 18 in the United States marks legal adulthood, which gives an individual the ability to purchase things like cigarettes, dry ice, credit cards; it also allows them to be tried as an adult in court and vote.
In many South American countries, 15-year-old girls often celebrate a Quinceñera, a party to celebrate womanhood and the entering of adulthood.
“I think a quinceañera represents becoming an adult just like a sweet 16, it’s like the transition from a teenager to early adulthood. A lot of times in the quinceañera there will be a doll that a dad gives his daughter which represents the last doll he’ll buy for her since she’s becoming a woman now,” says Stephany Acosta, a freshman at BHS.
That being said, ages other than 15 and 18 are seen around the world paired with legal adulthood as well.
Sterl also adds that responsibility and being able to make your own decisions while understanding the consequences are associated with being an adult.
“You can make a decision as a kid, but you don’t really know the consequence of what’s going to happen,” Sterl adds.
She says that the differentiation between child and adult comes from a sense of understanding decisions and possibilities without being able to fall back on parental figures.
Sterl also mentions that emotional responsibility and “being mature about decisions you make and how they affect other people,” also make an adult worthy of the title. Someone who can take their own necessities and desires into account when making decisions is surely defined as a growing individual, but once that step is taken even further by keeping the necessities and hopes of others in mind before decision-making seems to show true adulthood.
Cusomato mentions how non-adults can do some things adults are legally allowed to do—like drinking alcohol for example—however, it is unethical and illegal.
This goes to show that the true differentiation between a child and an adult comes from the increase in maturity and a person’s willingness to take responsibility—not just the things that come with turning 18.

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