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dreamwolf's avatar

What is an adult?

Asked by dreamwolf (3152points) October 9th, 2011

What is your best definition and idea of an adult?

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22 Answers

GabrielsLamb's avatar

The word itself by definition alludes to body growth alone.

If you mean maturity… One doesn’t necesssarily have to be an adult to be mature and one isn’t always mature once they are an adult.

When the body reaches a certain age (18) and specific levels of hormonal, chemical, mental and physical capacity and strength and or prowess are achieved (Which is basically on a timer that only slightly vaires due to hieredty and genetics) a person is technically an adult.

Maturity is different


4. a person who is fully grown or developed or of age.

5. a full-grown animal or plant.

6. a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.

JLeslie's avatar

I think we really become adults sometime in our 30’s usually. One aspect is being responsible for ourselves (which actually usually happens at a much younger age, but in our 20’s we usually have a feeling of being able to come back home or ask for help from parents and it is still ok). Also, an awareness about life, how we fit into society. An awareness about ourselves, what we want, what really makes us happy. Having children usually also makes people feel and be more adult, but it is not necessary to have them of course.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@JLeslie In this economy many people our age are living at home again.

When I was just 18, I had a home, a car, a marriage and a job off Wall Street.

I physically looked like I was in my late 20’s early 30’s…

I had the MATURITY of a 12 year old.

Im in my 40’s and living back at home (sort of) with 2 grown children due to a devistating divorce that left me in a bad way. Seems that achieving both adulthood and maturity didn’t aid me in escaping the unpredictable pitfalls of life.

JLeslie's avatar

@GabrielsLamb I think we can always go home. But, when we are in our 30’s+ we feel badly about it. I don’t mean people should feel bad, I am ony saying there is a societal pressure and expectation to be out on our own and financially independent.

So when do you feel you became an adult? What age?

ucme's avatar

A six foot child.

Earthgirl's avatar

Physical maturity is one thing that defines adulthood.
Emotional maturity is another.
Emotional maturity has to do with being able to deal with the ups and downs of life and feeling capable of handling responsibility for yourself and the direction your life is going in. It requires a certain amount of self-discipline.
Of course everyone needs someone to lean on in difficult times. Everyone needs family and friends to back them up and give emotional support. But adulthood requires that you are master of your own fate.
Here is an interesting article about brain development after age 18.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most useful definition? I agree with @Earthgirl. When the frontal cortex is fully mature. Which usually happens between the age of 22 and 25.

Then there’s the legal definition of course.

thorninmud's avatar

These are some traits that I associate with emotional/mental adulthood:

Takes into consideration the future consequences of actions.

Is capable of overruling impulses in favor of long-term benefits.

Is capable of sustained effort toward goals, even when things get tough.

Is considerate of others.

Lives up to commitments.

So much of this boils down to the ability to say “no” to one’s immediate wants. Those momentary wants are the driving force in childhood, and I don’t think that whining and wheedling inner voice ever actually goes away (mine is still there). But the adult learns to mistrust that voice and ignore it.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@JLeslie Because of my first answer… I became an adult when I turned 18.

I’m still not mature, and I hope to never be. LOL

I prefer responsible… Mature isn’t any fun.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@mattbrowne The pre frontal cortex changes throughout your entire lifespan it reaches physical growth capacity (weight) by the age of 25… Specifically the important part for teen to adult transition is the corpus callosum (white matter) and Glial connections (gray matter) (astroglia and oligodendrocytes, and capillaries) throughout will continue to develop, change, die, and reform throughout life.

Age however doesn’t necessarily prove that this region will indeed develop completely at all, or that due to trauma or illness that this region will ever develop.

25 is a number that acts as a basic overall mass populace calculation, or a basic statistic that is contingent upon many other factors for it to actually be the truth in all subjects.

And as I said, in some, depending on genetics and heredity, it happens slightly earlier and up until 25 as a baseline statistic number that again implies not maturity itself which is still psychological, as well as environmental but the physical event of the brain itself reaching its capacity for weight potential.

ratboy's avatar

An adult is a person for whom, daily, waking in the morning is the beginning of the worst day of his life.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@ratboy That’s not only funny, kinda true actually… Which makes it a little sad at the same time.

Pandora's avatar

You live on your own.
You work a full time job and your a responsible employee or your independently wealthy.
You manage all your responsiblities on your own.
You can manage to pick up after yourself and feed yourself and clean your clothes and wash yourself and your dishes without being told to do so.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Pandora That’s maturity

Pandora's avatar

Then to answer your question. I would say when your body stops growing. Which I believe is about age 20 to 25.. Then our cells stop reproducing as quickly as they did and our bodies start to decline slowly and picks up the decaying process.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Pandora I said “That’s” not “what’s”...

But yuppers!

That’s right.

King_Pariah's avatar

An adult is a child too immature to admit he or she still plays with toys.

Joker94's avatar

A miserable little pile of secrets.

lonelydragon's avatar

@King_Pariah Love the quote! Do you have an attribution?

King_Pariah's avatar

@lonelydragon whoever said it was a quote?

mattbrowne's avatar

@GabrielsLamb – Yes, but the issue here is how the prefrontal cortex does its work. For example when assessing risks and controlling impulses. And it seems that fMRI scans stabilize after the age of 25 when giving specific tasks.

noraasnave's avatar

What it means to be an adult?

-Understanding your superpowers and using them to help others.

-Understanding your weaknesses (kryptonite or whatever) and trying to hold them at bay, if not overcome them.

-Understanding what you need from others, and trying to figure out what they need from you, and then doing the math to figure out what you can give.

-Discovering who you are…and begin working to unveil who you will be, and reconciling that against who you want to be.

at some point I will start repeating so going to stop there for now. Lurve for the question!

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