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Can one be classified as an adult judging only by their physical age, or is there more to it than that? I'd love to hear some different perspectives on the matter.
 

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Basically, age, but also behavior and responsibilities.

If you do something stupid, people say, "You need to start acting like an adult."

If you vote, pay taxes, struggle with finances and certain responsibilities, people say, "You're learning about what it is like to be an adult."

After all that, once you reach a certain age, most people just refer to you as an adult by default, regardless of what you do or say.
 

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According to common Western standards when you start drinking, dressing scantly and having sex.
So age 15 in that case :p
 

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Can't find the actual quote, or who to attribute it to, but it goes something like this: "Childhood ends and Adulthood begins when you realize that one day, you will die".

My google skills are failing me today. I was also looking for a quote by (I think...) Edmund Burke about the differences between night and day: We can all agree on what is light and what is dark but no one can agree when day ends and night begins (I know I just murdered that quote.. sorry)

In the same vein, we all know what a child is, and what an adult is, but trying to agree on where one ends and the other begins is a matter of perspective.


- ZDD
 

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Can one be classified as an adult judging only by their physical age, or is there more to it than that? I'd love to hear some different perspectives on the matter.
There is no one definition, it just depends on what you mean. There is a legal definition for different purposes, like driving or drinking or marriage/sex or whatever. Then there are the implied definitions, like someone telling their parents, Stop treating me like a kid, or maybe a parent telling their child, You're an adult now, act like it!
 
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Discussion Starter #8
There is no one definition, it just depends on what you mean. There is a legal definition for different purposes, like driving or drinking or marriage/sex or whatever. Then there are the implied definitions, like someone telling their parents, Stop treating me like a kid, or maybe a parent telling their child, You're an adult now, act like it!
Very true! There isn't just one definition. However, everyone has their own definition of what it means to be an adult. That's exactly why this makes for a good discussion board; I'm not likely to get the same answer constantly. There may be some instances where people may not agree on one answer. For example, you have a 20 year old who is living on his own making minimum wage at some video rental store, and he's doing just fine supporting himself financially. However, when he's not working, he is usually found at home drinking, smoking pot, watching cartoons like Adventure Time, or playing RPG's online; and when Halloween comes around, he'll walk around the neighborhood in his old Batman costume trick-or-treating from door to door. In this instance, there would most likely be a lot of mixed opinions on the matter.





I'm quite pleased with many of the different answers I've received so far. Keep 'em coming!
 

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You know that you're an adult when you start plucking out your first gray hair. Actually, I once met someone who started getting gray hair as a teenager! You are certain that you are well into adulthood when you stop plucking out the gray hairs for fear of causing yourself to become bald.:shocked:
 
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Historically it is often accompanied by rites of passage, in the modern context those can be many things - perhaps together, drinking alcohol in public, learning to drive a car, having sex. In the past (at least among the English) prior to Christianisation there were apparently a number of transitional periods. Children below a few years old were perhaps not considered as emotionally attached or individual, and they are often shown less respect in burial - This may partly be due to high infant mortality rates, but after a few years of age they seem to become more of an individual member of the society. Another transition seems to occur around age 10-12, and another between 18-20. There are certain grave-goods that are only associated with certain age groups. Also, group burials become less common as one becomes older. Given that historical sources from some centuries prior to this mention that similar peoples did not tend to to 'marry' or partner up until they were around 20 years of age or a little earlier, it would make most sense to associate this 18-20 year transitional age with the path into adulthood, and the 10-12 year age as a path into teen years (or perhaps young adulthood), especially as you could probably take part in many activities that contributed to the group that were carried out by adults, but likely too young to marry in most cases (northern Europe seems to have been fairly conservative in regards to age and partnering up). There also seems to have been general standard burial gear (that shared many commonalities, but was not all the same by any means) that was only really developed for those buried that had reached adulthood. The wealthiest burials tend to be those of middle aged or older men.

So anyway yeah, here it seems to have been traditionally around 18-20, which is pretty much the same as it is now officially speaking in some respects, or very similar. Although over the last 50-60 years, people grow up a lot sooner, and are remaining children for much shorter periods of time. Personally i think this is a bad thing, but anyway so overall i'd have to say 15-20 is generally when people 'grow up' but officially it is more around 18 ish.
 
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