The Norman Transcript


October 7, 2013

Kids may never grow up



But there has also been a continuing, decades-long trend toward postponing adulthood — very selectively. Young people demand, and are given, all the privileges of adulthood. They can vote, drive, drink, smoke, borrow money sign contracts, rent cars and all the fun things, but when it comes to the more difficult responsibilities of adulthood, like paying their own bills — well, they cannot be expected to be mature enough for those.

The BBC reported recently that child psychologists are getting a new directive — that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25. 18-25 will now be considered “late adolescence.”

Child psychologist Laverne Antrobus, of London’s Tavistock Clinic, told the BBC that children have been rushed into adulthood, and that neuroscience shows, “their emotional maturity, self-image and judgment will be affected until the prefrontal cortex of the brain has fully developed,” which doesn’t happen until “well into early 20s.”

It is enough to make one wonder how human civilization survived until now. How did a nation built by people, most of whom got married and went to work in their mid teens, become one of the greatest civilizations in history?

Or was it just that the complete development of the prefrontal cortex was not as critical in an agrarian and industrial society?

To the BBC’s credit, they did find one dinosaur sociologist, Frank Furedi at the University of Kent, who decried the “infantilizing culture” trend. He said it leads to a loss of aspiration for independence, “inadvertently reinforces that kind of passivity and powerlessness and immaturity and normalizes that,” and leads to difficulties in conducting mature adult relationships.

Sounds like more Democratic voters to me. What’s not to like? No wonder the president and his party are crowing that they will be in power for a generation or more. At this rate, they will be in power indefinitely — at least until, as the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher once said, they run out of other people’s money.

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