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Am I an adolescent or a young adult?

What does it mean to be an adolescent?

The word adolescent is of Latin Origin and means “to grow into adulthood.” This term refers to a transitional phase in a child’s development where a child grows into a mature adult. When we think of the word adolescent we often think of a teenager. In the Eight stages of human development created by Erik Erikson, he notes that adolescence ranges from 12-18. The following phase is adulthood which ranges from 18-35. The issue now a day’s is that many people who are in the 18-35 age range still exhibit behaviors associated with being an adolescent, behaviors such as living at home and still being financially dependent on their parents. Sociologists list 5 traditional milestones of adulthood.

How has adolescence extended?

Over the last decade more and more “young adults” still live at home.

In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65% of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30 year olds in 2000, according to data from the united census bureau, fewer than half of the women and one- third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30- year old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25- year- old in the early 70s.

According to these stats people in their 20’s and 30’s are taking longer to achieve these 5 milestones. This is because people are staying in school as long as possible. A college degree seems to be essential now, and it has become normal for a kid to be a “full time student” and not work.

Obamacare: Allows “children” up to 26 years old to be on their parents heath care plan. This plan was originally meant to be a “fall back plan” but became a reality, due to the rapid unemployment rate. This new plan was a drastic change compared to the old cut off age, which was 19 years old. The “adolescent”/ “young adult” is allowed to stay on their parents plan until the December 31rst of their 26 birthday. On the day they hit 26 they must purchase their own insurance. Obamacare has been beneficial because it allowed 3.1 million young adults insurance that they wouldn’t not have had otherwise. This new health care plan in indicative of how adolescence has extended, because it allows young adults to coast on their parents plan until they’re 26 instead of 19.

Positives of extended adolescence: In the article The Upside of Extended Adolescence  Matt Appling argues that there is no rush to grow up. He feels that the label extended adolescence is unfairly criticized. He makes the argument that Peter Pan syndrome isn’t that bad, and often results in “spiritual fulfillment.” Matt teaches five year old kids and comments on how they’re all content, and at peace. He attributes this peace to a blissful ignorance that is inherent in all children. He infers that as we get older we become more restless, irritable, and discontent with ourselves. He says that as we get older we simply want to fast forward our lives because we are always chasing the next best thing. The theme of this article is that a childlike mindset is healthier than an adult one. At the end of this article he takes a biblical turn and refers to a passage told on the bible.

One day, Jesus was surrounded by adults asking questions about how to be a super- important person in Gods kingdom. And Jesus answered by patting a kid on the head and telling those adults that they needed to become more like him – the youngest in their midst.

This concept that Matt explore in his article reminds me a lot of the movie Click with Adam Sandler

The negative effects extended adolescence has on women: In the article How extended adolescence is changing the United States ( And takes a much higher toll on women) Joshua Kennon discusses how women are gravely effected by the emerging trend of extended adolescence. Extended adolescence is bad for women because it results in them waiting to have babies. ” Women have a specific, limited window of time in which they can genetically reproduce and to which they are attractive to potential mates.” Joshua explains that a women’s biological clock starts to tick when they’re in their 20s. If women wait until their 30s to reproduce, they’re significantly more susceptible to fertility issues. Since adolescence is extended and people in their 20s are still living at home, this results in people getting married later. Now a day’s it has become normal for people to wait until there 30s to have children. This is fine for men because they can reproduce up till old age but not for women, who are not as biologically blessed as men are. Women who wait until 30 are risking their children’s health, and this is a direct result of adolescence being extended.

Personal experience:

After researching this topic I have come to the disturbing realization that I’m an extended adolescent. I’ve always considered my self to be “self supporting” because I’ve been making my own money since the age of 15. I pay for college my self, and haven’t had to ask my parents for money in years. But the reality is that I don’t pay my car insurance, my cellphone bill, or rent. I live at home with my parents and I’m still on their health care plan ( thank God for Obamacare.) And if I’m being perfectly honest I must admit that my mother still occasionally does my laundry. Despite the fact that I make my own money, I am a 22 year old student who still lives under my parents roof. This reality insures that I am in fact an extended adolescent.



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