It's Official: You're Not An Adult Until You're 25

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charlize-theron-young-adult-movie-image-4Photo: Courtesy of Paramount.
And here we thought that getting that first job and paying rent in our early 20s was our responsibility as an adult. Not so, apparently. At least, according to a new directive for psychologists in the UK — one that advises child psychologists to expand the age range of patients they treat from 0-18 to 0-25.

It appears there is a new category of adolescence: "late adolescence," as it's called, that begins — rather than ends — at 18. Supporters of this shift claim they are trying to make sure that 18-year-olds aren't falling into a "crack" in our mental health system, becoming an "adult" at 18, but not really thinking or functioning like one. Neuroscience does tell us that the brain is constantly evolving and developing throughout our early 20s, but is that the whole story?

Not so, says Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, who was quoted in a BBC report on this very topic: "You have this kind of cultural shift which basically means that adolescence extends into your late 20s and that can hamper you in all kinds of ways..."

So yes, it's increasingly common to see plenty of 20-somethings living at home with their parents, not having full-time jobs, and other typical markers of adulthood. But, is that a sign that we're a slacker generation, that our brains are childlike, or, simply, that the economy necessitates these sorts of things? When does adulthood really start? You tell us. (BBC)