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Age of adulthood - 25?


Katy
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DH & I have been speculating recently about how long it might take until the age of adulthood is moved from 18 or 21 to 25.  Mostly because there is increasingly known neuroscience about it, but also because most risky adolescent behaviors calm by the age of 25 or so (hence car insurance rates, etc).  But also because by moving the parental insurance coverage rule to 26 the process has already begun.  And aside from problematic parent/child relationships and issues with military recruiting, what issues do you see with making a change like that?  Other advantages?

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It’s a terrible idea, from fertility to freedoms. I couldn’t even make it to 18 without going nuts and needing my agency, and I was pregnant with my fourth baby by then. My husband had been living on his own with multiple degrees and worked for the state by then. My brother was well into his military service by then.

No, no, no.

I'm sorry, is that a typo, or are you saying you had four babies by age 18?

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  And aside from problematic parent/child relationships and issues with military recruiting, what issues do you see with making a change like that?  Other advantages?

I don't know about issues aside from parent/child relationships, but those issues are huge.  Many parents support and guide their children well past 18, and many children aren't ready for independence at 18.  However, I view--and have experienced--the current age of majority as a safety valve to be activated by parent or child to escape an intolerable situation.  I can't imagine the stress and damage that would accumulate during additional years of a legally enforced relationship between parties that need a lot more space between them.  

 

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Oh my goodness I hope not.

 

Are they going to tell people they can't enter into contracts, get married, etc?  What if they have kids?  That's going to mean they are physically sexually mature adults for at least 10 years before they are considered ready to marry and make their own relationship decisions etc - what a recipe for problems.

 

I'm with whoever above said that we've already created a situation where people have an extended childhood, and I think past a certain point the longer you push back responsibilities and agency, the harder you make it for people to actually become mature functioning adults with real agency.  

 

And I'll go further and say I think in some cases at least there is a bit of a window for that, and when people miss it they will likely never really grow fully into those capacities.

 

When I was 25 I'd been living alone for five years, had finished university, taken a library tech certification, joined the army, spent a year dating a guy twice my age, and had just met my husband.  Some of those were better decisions than others, and I was perpetually broke and partying too much.  But - the fact that I own all of those things was actually pretty important.

 

 

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And on another note - while the brain issues are different, at 40+ I can say my capacity to make good decisions changed a lot more between 25 and now than it did between 18 and 25.  THat's just the nature of living in time, there isn't really an end to development until you die.

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My mom had her 4 kids by 26, had been married 8 years. I married at 25 after having already had one child, had had custody of one of my sisters, had been on my own for 8 years completely financially responsible for myself from the minute I graduated high school, put myself through college, traveled the country on my job all on my own, even after having made some bad choices in my late teens.  I can't imagine having been considered a child. 

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Yes,I was married for seven years, bought and sold first home, had multiple kids, was raising a teenager (not my biological child)by the time I was 25. I think many should wait longer but you know what, at some time you ought to have freedom.

 

I have a hard time not believing some risky behaivor is caused by coddling and being given so little responsibility. Not in all cases of course, just some.

 

You are right about the draft though. We already tell people we think can handle war zones but not smoking or drinking which seems a bit odd. Wait? Would that mean they need parental permission to be deployed or drafted? Ha

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Just because SOME people don’t act like adults until 25+ does NOT mean our society should raise the age of legal majority.

 

I graduated college, got married, and landed a full-time job by my 22nd birthday and had my first child at 25. DH was put in charge of a platoon of soldiers and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment shortly before his 23rd birthday.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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My dad (Baby Boomer) graduated from high school at 16, joined the navy at 17, finished service 4 years later and started his career. There was no work for him in extremely rural, small town Maine.  His family had been on welfare 6 months of the year his whole life.  Delaying adulthood to begin at 25 would've been disastrous.  Everyone else in his family (he was the oldest of 7 ) except his closest in age brother, including extended family had sad lives because they stayed where there was no work, living in poverty and hopelessness and all that goes with it. Adulthood allowed him freedom to choose differently than his parents and the other adults in his life did.  The brother was drafted into Vietnam at 18.  He then learned to be a machinist and was able to be self-supporting his whole adult life.

My husband graduated from college and bought a house and car by age 22 because he'd worked for the company during school. No need to artificially extend childhood for him. 

I was married to him when he was 26 and I was 20.  If our first baby hadn't miscarried, then I would've been a parent at age 21 instead of at 23.  By 25 I had two kids. No need to delay adulthood.

My middle daughter has been entirely self-supporting, making just under then national average income since she was 19.  She's getting married in a month.  Her fiance is 21 and has been fully self-supporting as a computer programmer making well above the average annual income for more than a year now.  They've bought cars, rented a home, and made very responsible decisions.  Again, no need to artificially extend childhood for them.

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I think that biological neurological maturity is an important concept, specifically, the development of the prefrontal cortex . As we understand more about brain development, that understanding needs to be incorporated into public policy. It already has in the sense that the Supreme Court ruled, based on neurological research, that teenagers could not receive the death penalty.

 

As a society, we already have varying ages for maturity: at 16, you can drive a car. At 18, you are legally an adult and can vote and smoke  but cannot use alcohol until you are 21. You cannot rent a car until you are 25. (The latter is probably the age choice based most on empirical data.) The age you can marry or give consent for sexual activity varies depending on the state in which you live. I think there are other areas in which age 25 might be a better indicator of adult maturity. 

 

The area where it is most an issue, imo, is with regard to potential criminal behavior.  I used to work with teenagers in our state who were among the most violent but who were also mentally ill. Our work with them had to stop when they were 18. We were able to get a bit of a bridge program set up until they were 21. But we knew that if they could have had extra structure and support until age 25, that they would be unlikely to start up a lifetime of criminal offenses at that point. 

 

 

 

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I think having programs that help kids not end up a life long criminal can happen without without taking away all the rights of law abiding citizens.

 

 

I believe the age you can rent a car is 21 not 25. I believe you may get stuck with an extra fee which I believe is ageism. If you can discriminate against people in their early 20's then why not those who are older. Oh because older peoplehave money and the AARP.

 

My husband had business trips under the age of 25. It now makes me realize his company probably had to pay an extra fees for him when they paid for his rental car.

How are people supposed to work and be productive?

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I remember when the thought of being 25 and still under mama's wing was horrifying.

 

I think 18 is plenty old enough for parents to give up control over their kids' lives.  If the parent and "child" desire to continue the dependent relationship longer, they can agree mutually to an arrangement that works.

 

I agree that adolescence seems to be getting longer because we stopped encouraging independence.  Telling kids they are not expected to be capable of flight until age 25 will just make things worse.

 

 

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The area where it is most an issue, imo, is with regard to potential criminal behavior.  I used to work with teenagers in our state who were among the most violent but who were also mentally ill. Our work with them had to stop when they were 18. We were able to get a bit of a bridge program set up until they were 21. But we knew that if they could have had extra structure and support until age 25, that they would be unlikely to start up a lifetime of criminal offenses at that point. 

 

They could change the age limit for this program without changing the age of majority in all cases.

 

I understand that public schools are free until you graduate or reach age 21 (or it used to be), whichever comes first.  Special ed services extended to 21 the last time I checked, and then you can qualify for special jobs for life if you have significant issues.  For those who are very impaired, their parents can get legal control over their affairs permanently.  And so on.  There are special options for special cases.

 

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I was addressing the ‘by 25’ number, and why that would be such a terrible idea. I’ll edit for clarity :p

 

What I meant was that I couldn’t make it to the existing age of adulthood, let alone moving the bar again. If I had my way, I’d actually be for shortening high school and bumping it down to 16. That would have even better for both DH and I. But that would never fly in this current culture.

 

I've often thought there needed to be a range of time when kids left high school (And it was acceptable).  Starting at age 15 or 16. We have ample evidence now there are quite a few kids that are ready academically to move on at that point.

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I think it should be lowered to 16 for everything but the military, and then, raised to 21.

 

I think insurance companies should take care of cars and guns for teens. If they can pay the insurance or their parents can pay, go for it. If not? Too bad. But you should have to insure it. I could have done both, easily, by 21 and earlier had I not gone to college.

 

25... my god, by 25 I had completed college and paid off my student loans by myself, was halfway to owning an apartment, had lived in over ten countries, had a professional career. I have a teen at home... she has a car which she bought, a job, goes to college, and can't wait to leave! I know teens who are loathe to leave, fine, but I don't think any of us would make it if she couldn't get an apartment at 18.

 

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I cannot imagine extending the adolescent time period even more than we do. There are cultures that don't experience a stormy adolescent period at all and as we have seen within the US, there have been varying examples of age of adulthood throughout history. By 25 my husband and I had under grad and grad degrees, where working in professional fields, had two 8 year olds and managed a household with little issue. I think their is danger in using neuro-research for this purpose. Understand that brain science is a truly inexact science and MANY assumptions and mental gymnastics are undergone to put together a scientific paper explaining findings. It isn't a physics law, it is s theory with not a ton of actual "proof". My DH and I both work in currently or have worked in this field and I promise you, no laws should ever be changed because of something "discovered" in this particular field. Alot of these findings are based on areas that light up during scans. I could write a book about why this particular correlation is not great at showing what you want it to show.

 

Also parenting styles result in different brain activity. Parents that parent in an authoritative way with high levels of love but high levels of expectation and natural consequences have children who's frontal cortex lights up more than permissive or authoritarian parenting for example. This would signify that executive functioning is better with a specific type of parenting. What does that say about "development" time tables...it says to me that nurture experiences can impact up regulation and down regulation of genes to speed up or delay these periods. They are flexible and I think history supports that theory. There has to be a reason that we suddenly see a large swath of irresponsible young people.

 

The brain is plastic and changes throughout adult life. People over the age of 35 yo are in a better maturity state than 25 for example so we could just keep pushing out the age if we are basing it on brain maturity.

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I know my 21yo can't get a rental car while hers is in the shop because they won't rent a car to anyone under 25. This hit my then-20yo college student very hard when her car was totalled. Lower the rental age, I say!

At least in several states those under 25 can rent with an extra fee. My son had a job in college that required he sometimes travel for work, and he was able to rent cars in several states.
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It strikes me that the same logic suggested for extending "childhood" is also used for justifying early marriage in traditional cultures.  Marry her off before she is set in her ways, that way she'll mold herself to her husband's family and won't be obstinate!  She'll be a dutiful wife if she never develops a mind of her own!

 

There is something to be said for figuring out life when it's still an adventure.

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I also think it's a bad idea to delay the development of an adult relationship with one's parents.

 

I'm trying to imagine just starting that process after having had a number of different jobs, finishing college and graduate school, having had various "relationships," worked through financial complexities, made big decisions about life ... it would have been so weird if my mom had been in charge of me vs. an ear for me during those years.  And also, I was there for my mom on a few issues.  How's that supposed to work if I'm still a "child"?

 

I had one or two family members who were not independent at 25, but they had mental health issues.

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No.

 

Adolescence was known to span to between age 21 and 25 when I was in grad school 30 years ago. This understanding is not a new development in neuroscience.

 

And I don't believe adolescence is an artificial extension of childhood. It is a different developmental period. However we go through other periods while we are adults, so there is no reason to say we need all adolescence to be within the legally determined ages of a minor.

 

There is fluidity in development. Some people are on their own and fine at 18. No reason to stop that. Some people, like my 2e DS need guidance to get their footing longer. No reason to say it's wrong for a family to assist a child past 18 either. Even within a family the needs of each child are different so the parental support may need to be different.

 

We don't need an additional government control over this fluidity towards independence.

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I wa married, owned a home, and had a professional career by 25. So no. The insurance rates are based on statistical probabilities of your having an accident. Just like they charge you more for life insurance if you smoke they charge you more for car insurance if you are young.

Edited by MotherGoose
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I think the idea of "moving" adulthood to 25 is absurd, but there's no real denying that we have an "in between" stage.  Each person's maturity (by multiple measures) varies so much that it's not something I can see as or would want to be legally defined more specifically than it already is.

 

I think it's irresponsible to measure adulthood by things that are mostly out of our control today, like paying health insurance. When I was in my early 20s, I contributed maybe $200/mo to my insurance plan. Probably closer to $300 when we had 3 kids.  My bills for having babies never reached $1,000 for any individual birth. I never paid more than $10 for a prescription. At 40, I struggle to pay for health insurance and try to avoid using it.  I don't think I've become less of an adult.

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So many of you married and/or had kids so young.  

 

I am not for extending or decreasing childhood.  18 is a good age to start going to college, and I don't think 16 is a better age.  

 

I finished undergrad at 22, got my first job and worked full time for 7 years before marrying at 29.  I really enjoyed being single and carefree and in my 20s and hanging out with a  lot of friends.  I had a great single's group in my 20s.  

 

But that was me.  I wouldn't presume everyone would want that.  And I very well might have married earlier had I met the right person.

 

I honestly don't understand why an adult can't have a drink though.  If you can vote and go to war, you can have a glass of wine. My opinion of course.  I know WHY they raised the age, but it just seems that if you are an adult, you can make adult choices.

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So many of you married and/or had kids so young.  

 

I am not for extending or decreasing childhood.  18 is a good age to start going to college, and I don't think 16 is a better age.  

 

I finished undergrad at 22, got my first job and worked full time for 7 years before marrying at 29.  I really enjoyed being single and carefree and in my 20s and hanging out with a  lot of friends.  I had a great single's group in my 20s.  

 

But that was me.  I wouldn't presume everyone would want that.  And I very well might have married earlier had I met the right person.

 

I honestly don't understand why an adult can't have a drink though.  If you can vote and go to war, you can have a glass of wine. My opinion of course.  I know WHY they raised the age, but it just seems that if you are an adult, you can make adult choices.

 

I was pregnant on my 21st birthday, lol.  While I'm not suggesting that's a goal for anyone to try to achieve, it was definitely bizarre to be scheduling babysitting so I could go out to have my first legal drink. 

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I'm not saying this is a good idea, but when people say they did XYZ by the time they were blah blah doesn't mean this is the reality now.  My mother ran away at 16 and got a good paying full time job.  This isn't even possible today.  So we can't entirely compare our own situation with what will be for our kids.  I have no clue how an 18 year old would make it on their own these days (without a lot of help). 

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I think it is a terrible idea. True, they are making discoveries about the development of the human brain and it is also true that teens and 20 somethings are the greatest risk takers. That doesn't mean they are children. Without people willing to take the risks the so called adults are not society would never move forward.

What we should be doing is creating better support networks while the young adults are still children and teens, continuing into adulthood. Mentoring, education, apprenticeship, etc.

I just had someone say to me that the 14 year old who spoke about gun control should basically be ignored because she doesn't have life experience and only knows what she has learned in school. Umm, she just lived through something most people have not. Just because she is 14 doesn't mean she is incapable of having insights and something relevant to say.

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I was addressing the ‘by 25’ number, and why that would be such a terrible idea. I’ll edit for clarity :p

 

What I meant was that I couldn’t make it to the existing age of adulthood, let alone moving the bar again. If I had my way, I’d actually be for shortening high school and bumping it down to 16. That would have even better for both DH and I. But that would never fly in this current culture.

 

 

Age 16 would be a good year for kids to either begin an apprenticeship program, join military, or start community college if they are not aiming for a four-year college from the get-go. Depends on the kid. But making everyone sit through high school to graduation may not be most appropriate use of their time.

 

Allowing "kids" to remain on parental insurance longer is a good option - if the young person is still in college and/or not working a job with benefits yet, they need insurance.

 

I think it looks like adulthood has been pushed back since many young adults have not been financially able to move out yet. Or move out, then have to move back home. I have one who is now just making enough money that his student loan payments will kick in - he does not make enough to move out, even with a roommate, and with loan payments now he may never move out (this is the one who could not finish his degree when mental illness broke him senior year).

Edited by JFSinIL
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Maybe what we need is an interim status. Not the same as children, not the same as full on adulthood, where parents still have some obligations, there are still some restrictions on the types of contracts one can enter, etc. It should start younger than 18, maybe 14? And end at 25. We already do this to some extent--usually by putting young people in one category for somethings and the other for others. If we were more careful about that, in an evidence-based way, it might make sense. So a young adult could still marry, could still join the military, but parents (or the state) would be responsible for the cost of their health care and education. Require a cosigner for credit. If they commit a crime, they are still held accountable, but perhaps in a system which will allow for it to not follow them until their dying day (expungement/sealing of record if they go on to be law abiding for X years after the offense, even in states which currently don't allow for that), and without the possibility of death penalty or life without parole. Tighten requirements for being able to drive below age 25, not just the cost of insurance. Let them keep the franchise. The idea would be to let them fly--but keep a safety net under them instead of letting them fall to the pavement if they aren't quite ready to fly.

Edited by Ravin
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I'm not saying this is a good idea, but when people say they did XYZ by the time they were blah blah doesn't mean this is the reality now.  My mother ran away at 16 and got a good paying full time job.  This isn't even possible today.  So we can't entirely compare our own situation with what will be for our kids.  I have no clue how an 18 year old would make it on their own these days (without a lot of help). 

 

This is what I was thinking.

 

I started working full-time at decent jobs at age 20 (1976), without a college degree, and by age 23 or so I was able to support myself - not extravagantly, not to the point of home ownership on my own, but enough to pay rent, have a decent car, a decent savings account and a social life.   

 

My sister had an associate's degree, I don't remember in what, got a job in sales, and bought her own home by age 25 (also 1976).  

 

As far as I can tell, looking at young people I know, that's not how things are now. 

 

In the 60's my bother joined the army to avoid being drafted (Vietnam Era) to give himself more choices of jobs once inducted. He was one of those troubled kids with no direction after high school. The military put him on a path that gave him a good career when he came out.  Same young man would not be welcome in the military today.  (That's not a slam on the military, just a statement of fact. It's just different now.)

 

I still think 21 is a fine age for legal adulthood. That doesn't mean some kids won't need more time to become functional adults.  (I have one who will.)  

 

I would like to see some changes in drinking laws.  I would love to introduce wine/beer at the dinner table to my kids, but in my state it is illegal for a parent to serve the child in their own home, under supervision.  (I'm not talking about hosting teen keg parties.)   

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I think that we’ve extended adolescence by extending the time required for formal education, on both ends. ( I realize it’s part necessity as there is now more recorded history and more advances in science) Pardon me for saying, but what passes for an average liberal arts bachelors degree is roughly equivalent to what teens came out of high school with in the not too distant past. Now we need college degrees for almost every decent paying job, and masters for a growing number. We do very little practical training in professional spheres and leave it up to the artificial environment of the university. Is it any wonder kids aren’t learning to be adults? They are capable of so much more.

Edited by SamanthaCarter
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It's already pretty detestable to me when I see 20+ year olds behaving like children/teens.  To make that the legal norm would be terrible.  

 

As someone mentioned upthread, treating a person as a minor for TEN YEARS after sexual maturity is... insane.  

 

It may be that the young adult brain is primed to do stupid dangerous things, and that probably served a huge evolutionary purpose at some point in our pasts.  But the grand, grand majority of young adults behave responsibly *enough* to be out on their own.  Things like binge drinking, fraternity insanity, etc, are more a product of local culture than brain chemistry.  

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I think there is a difference though between when people are actually able to be completely independent and when they should legally be adults. The first depends on so many things, from personal maturity to educational choices. And most families are willing to help kids after they turn 18. Even when I was in my thirties my parents still helped me if needed and I know they would have let me move in (or whatever) if it had been necessary. That's just what families do. However, that doesn't mean people shouldn't be able to make their own decisions.

 

I was not "independent" at 25 - I was still in college and my parents were paying (I live overseas and that is quite normal here). But I lived in a city 2 hours away from them and did my own thing. And honestly, I was never "wild" and my behavior was far from risky. Even if choices aren't always the best, the same can be said at any age.

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At least in several states those under 25 can rent with an extra fee. My son had a job in college that required he sometimes travel for work, and he was able to rent cars in several states.

Dh and I were married at 20/21. We discovered a work around. You can rent moving trucks, even if you can't rent cars. Once we had a car die and used a Uhaul to tow it and then drove the Uhaul for several days while it got fixed.

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When my husband was 21, his health insurance cost about $15/week in payroll deductions from a job that paid him $15/hr plus bonuses and was flexible scheduling around his college schedule. When I was 20, my health insurance was, gasp, a 100% employer paid benefit of one of the part-time jobs that I had in college. Our portion of the rent for 3 bedrooms in a 4 bedroom house (my teenage brother lived with us) was $800 a month.

 

We all know those health insurance premiums wouldn’t be common today. The job my husband had was paying the state minimum wage less than 5 years after he’d moved on until the city bumped up their mimimum. In retail jobs like the one he had now, scheduled hours are constantly shifting and they expect employees to have “open availability†making working there plus going to college or having a second job almost impossible. Most of the jobs I had then pay less or the same (so less adjusted for inflation). Some of the jobs I had then are now positons that “require†a college degree. Yesterday I saw shared rooms (not rooms in a shared house, a room that you share like a college dorm) listed a few blocks away from that house for $795. That means the landlord is getting $1590 PER ROOM plus utilities.

 

 

Any discussion of a lengthening of adolescence or prolonged dependence on parents that doesn’t take into account these very real and not isolated economic changes is pointless. So yes, I graduated from college without meaningful debt, has a baby at 23 and we had bought our first house in a HCOL area when I was 26 but I’m not so sure that where I live, that arc is feasible now coming from my childhood economic class background.

 

If I were 17 now, I have no idea what I would do. I sure the heck could not afford to get my first apartment the summer I turned 18 even if I was working all the same jobs I was back then.

Edited by LucyStoner
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I have kids with mild special needs, and I too do not think that the legal age of adulthood should be changed. We already have a graduated system in the US with 18 being a legal adult but with certain restrictions until 21. I think that is enough. Kids who need additional support should be able to get that, but there is no reason to hold back the ones who don't need it.

 

My DD is almost 23 and has high functioning autism. She now has a full time job with benefits. She currently lives at home, but is working on saving money to buy a small house. It did take her longer than some to find her place in the world, but she is coming along. I occasionally provide some verbal coaching, but she has been managing her own affairs(medical care, financial affairs) since she graduated high school. We did give her our old car to use, but she is paying for her part of the insurance and all car repair expenses and saving for a "new" car.

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I didn't read all the responses, but the thought of having to stay in the home I grew up in until I was 25 would have killed me.  Not exaggerating on any level.

 

I just can't even fathom this idea.   It's one thing to be given the opportunity for help past 18, like health insurance coverage available to people until they are 26.   But to force it?  That's not recognizing that some people are mature enough at 14 to live on their own.  That some people are in horrible situations that they need to escape from.   That the vast majority of people should be able to get some independence from their parents at age 18 and be given the freedom to become an individual and start to carve out their own path, make their own mistakes. 

 

I was moved out, married, and working full-time at 20.   I am not saying any one else should do this.   But, I am amazed at the number of people in their late 20's/early 30's who delayed moving out, and now out on their own at last and are as dumb as I was at 20.   It is shocking to me.  They are going through the same things and learning process I went through at 20, and are no further ahead of it than I was.   Some things just have to be learned by living out in the real world.  

 

And I am in no way against young adults living at home longer than age 18 if they have a healthy arrangement.  Some people could use the extra time at home for various reasons.  I am just saying, it's not something that should be forced on everyone.

 

 

Edited by Zebra
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When my husband was 21, his health insurance cost about $15/week in payroll deductions from a job that paid him $15/hr plus bonuses and was flexible scheduling around his college schedule. When I was 20, my health insurance was, gasp, a 100% employer paid benefit of the job that I had in college. Our portion of the rent for 3 bedrooms in a 4 bedroom house (my teenage brother lived with us) was $800 a month.

 

We all know those health insurance premiums wouldn’t be common today.

 

I work for a company where health insurance is a 100% employer paid benefit and it hires a lot of guys who don't go to college -- I work in the trades and we have a strong apprenticeship program for guys (mostly) willing to work.

 

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My idea is that those who are ready for independence should still be able to have it, but that parents or the state should step in and provide support when it is needed for young people to be able to launch well. The sink-or-swim because you're 18 mentality needs to go. Let them fly, but keep a net under them. Right now, we have a problem of too many young people being shoved out of the nest with no net--or being criticized for not flying without being constructively helped with launch. Neither is good.

 

I joined the military just before my 18th birthday. They kept a net under me while still treating me more or less like a responsible adult. 

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I work for a company where health insurance is a 100% employer paid benefit and it hires a lot of guys who don't go to college -- I work in the trades and we have a strong apprenticeship program for guys (mostly) willing to work.

 

I think that is pretty unusual (in the US anyway) now.  

 

It seems in my area at least, that if a young person doesn't settle on a trade in early high school years, so that he/she can go to vo-tech high, a lot of those opportunities are cut off or very difficult to obtain.  I spent some time a couple years ago looking into adult trade schools. They were ridiculously expensive, and upon further research, many of them were shady.  Community colleges in my area don't offer programs in the trades - no auto shop, welding, electrician, etc. programs. (There are some manufacturing programs for displaced workers.) I remember in CA in the mid-70s when my sister was going to CC, there were lots of programs for kids not planning/needing to go on for a bachelor's.

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My idea is that those who are ready for independence should still be able to have it, but that parents or the state should step in and provide support when it is needed for young people to be able to launch well. The sink-or-swim because you're 18 mentality needs to go. Let them fly, but keep a net under them. Right now, we have a problem of too many young people being shoved out of the nest with no net--or being criticized for not flying without being constructively helped with launch. Neither is good.

 

I joined the military just before my 18th birthday. They kept a net under me while still treating me more or less like a responsible adult. 

 

I agree.  I'd add that parents are often criticized for providing support beyond 18 and/or college, mostly by people whose kids were ready to fly then. 

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NZ dealt with that problem by lowering the drinking age to 18.

I think she meant dry high school campuses, not dry college campuses. In the US, the federal government tied raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 to federal highway money to induce states where the drinking age was 18 to bump it to 21. This was designed to reduce drinking and driving deaths among high school students. Many high schoolers are 18 and they could easily supply at high school parties.

Edited by LucyStoner
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I got scaffolding from the time I finished high school at 16 until I moved into an apartment at 22.  The scaffolding was partly my mom helping me get student loans and letting me live at home to age 21.  During that time I had various part-time / temporary jobs, finished college, started and ran my own business, and had responsibility for most of the housekeeping and child care responsibilities in my parents' house.  At 21 I moved away to grad school, but I had student loans that meant I didn't have to maintain a full-time job yet, though I did need to get practical experience so I could get a good job when the student loans came due.  I had many opportunities to fail without being completely devastated.

 

I also taught a number of grad students how to survive without their parents present, as they had not experienced some of the things I consider most basic, e.g., how to do housekeeping tasks I did in elementary school, or how to write a check or what their tax filing obligations were.

 

By contrast, my eldest brother was out of the house by 18 if not sooner.  He wasn't in a comfy life, but he had a job and didn't want to have his parents in his day-to-day business any more.  That said, he brought his work uniforms "home" for washing for a while.  :P

 

So, I don't disagree that many people will need scaffolding past age 18, but it's going to look different for different people.  I'm not for making any of it mandatory, either for the parent or the "child."  It's a good time for young people to learn about give and take if they want something they can't get on their own.

 

I'm also sensitive to the fact that some people need to be away from their parents in order to be safe and/or learn things their parents don't let them do.  My mom got married at 17 in order to legally be controlled by my dad instead of by her mom.  Hanging out "at home" until even high school graduation would have been too much.

 

Do they still have emancipation at age 16?  I knew some people who did that and it seemed to be right for them.

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