How ideas of ‘adulthood’ are changing around the world

Adulthood redefined

DO IT SOON What’s up? Around the world, the idea of adulthood – when it happens and how it is defined – is being challenged. Adulthood has traditionally been defined by a combination of age and the achievement of social milestones.
What’s new?  The law confers adulthood on the basis of age, but also recognises the process of becoming an adult as involving gradual increases in social responsibility. This legally defined approach to adulthood is mirrored in other countries, where there are differences between the age of majority and social responsibilities granted to young people. Determinants of adulthood traditionally focus on a person taking increasing responsibility for their lives in various ways. A subjective definition of adulthood is linked with positive-identity formation and well-being.

The recognition of a new life stage – emerging adulthood – has been recommended by developmental psychologists to account for the changes to social milestones that have traditionally represented adulthood. The psychological evidence suggests the current approach in law of gradually increasing social responsibility for young people is prudent and accurately reflects the transitional nature of development to adulthood.

So what? If a more dynamic definition of adulthood is adopted, at what age is it reasonable to assign social responsibility to young people?
SOURCE: The Conversation

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