General Question

ljs22's avatar

What makes a person a true adult?

Asked by ljs22 (1077points) April 26th, 2008

I ask this question in honor of the character Betty Draper from AMC’s excellent show Mad Men. She is described as child-like, despite being a wife and mother. I agree with this assessment, but can’t quite put my finger on what qualities or accomplishments make a person all “grown-up” in the fullest sense.

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17 Answers

nocountry2's avatar

Can you take care of yourself? Voila – adulthood!

Allie's avatar

How about responsibility, accountability for your actions, making your own decisions and thinking for yourself?

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

What do you consider a true adult? It would all be opinion, the law says 21 makes you an adult, but then again it says you have to be at least 35 to run for president and you have to be 18 to move out of your house. It is a matter of how you take the sense of the word and its meaning, I can say I am an adult and you are not, but you might say that you an adult and I am not.

susanc's avatar

I think it’s when you can take care of yourself and
other people too – for example, children. And not expect them to return the favor.
I think it’s the ability to give without expecting fairness.

edmartin101's avatar

It is a combination of the two, age plus being able to be independent and responsible for yourself and more if you are married.

MrKnowItAll's avatar

When you reach the age of consent.

wildflower's avatar

Do you take your share of responsibility for what happens to and around you? Are you able to rise above the impact to yourself in order to contribute to a wider effort or help someone else? And most importantly, can you behave in a rational and responsible manner when challenged?
If yes, you are an adult.

loser's avatar

turning 18 because that’s when your legally responsible for your actions

Allie's avatar

Legally, that is when you become an adult. But I know very few mature 18 year olds who I would consider an adult. One 18 year old I know acts like she’s 7. She throws fits when she doesn’t get what she wants out of her dad – yeah, real mature. But I know a 17 year old who got emancipated from his father and is living on his own, in his own place, paying his bills, and going to work AND school (damn!). He amazes me.

PupnTaco's avatar


MissAnthrope's avatar

Maturity, accountability, ability to be responsible consistently. I also think you really are an adult when you finally realize the big picture.

ipsskunk's avatar

the most grown up adult we all know will always have a child side hidden away its just whether we see it at any stage.
P.S.I love my ps3 and my mini rc helicopter.

fundevogel's avatar



living makes you an adult, some do a better job at it that others.

Loried2008's avatar

I don’t know the character, but I do know that often people can see a child-like heart. It may come out in the way she talks or her body language.

I think personally you are an adult when society claims you are. (18) BUT that’s only because you are acknowledged as one, it doesn’t mean you act like it.

What comes as you grow and mature is wisdom and understanding. I know some adults who are not responsible in the least and they often times don’t have “self-reliance”, besides we all grow old and will have to rely on someone to care for us (or take handi-capped people for instance).

Just because you “know” some 18 year olds doesn’t mean they’re aren’t more mature 18 year olds out there. Just like I know some adults who sit on their ass (pardon the language) and mooch off their families and the government when they could be out there working JUST like ME.

I live on my own and I bust my butt to do it. I AM an adult. The 40 year old next door in the trailer is too, don’t mean she acts like it.

Eterne's avatar

When I was little a believed that the greatest distinction between children and adults was the willingness to deal with scary, gross and unpleasant things (spiders, dead pets, plugged up toilets, etc.). I guess I still believe that.

PullMyFinger's avatar

For men, it’s standing when you’d rather be sitting.

For women, it’s when they stop hanging shit from their rear-view mirror….

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