Adulthood in America and It’s Issue

In 1972, Congress passed a law that granted citizens over the age of 18, as adults. However, this has created some problems in society.

Camilla S. & Kaitlyn M.

In 1972, Congress passed a law that granted citizens over the age of 18, as adults. However, this has created some problems in society.

Aurora GS., Kirsten L., and Thomas T.

In 1972, Congress made the final decision to change the age of legal adulthood to 18 from the prior age of 21. Becoming a grown-up sooner allows citizens the right to vote for government representation.

The passing of the 26th Amendment settled one of the major debates of the time. People who were old enough to be drafted in war should be allowed to vote for the person who sent them there. To erase confusion between the voting age and adulthood, states also began to change the age of adulthood to 18 years old. Teens were content with their new rights because of their newfound freedom. 

Moving now to 2021, identifying as an adult at the age of 18 has created some significant issues in US society. 

Adulthood represents presumed maturity, as children exit the ‘teenager’ phase. Giving 18-year olds responsibilities has created a problem. 

“As teenagers, they are still going through a lot emotionally and mentally,” said The Should. “[Most are still in school and] lack the maturity to be regarded as adults.”

Adults have endless freedoms: being able to drive, getting to vote, and more. Even if those rights seem ideal, there are still some downsides to being an adult so early in life. These responsibilities can bring unanticipated pressure.

According to the Careerfoundry, there are a lot of obstacles a new adult has to face. They have to juggle money problems, self-doubt, and the transition from childhood.  

New adults have been exploring our complex world for only 18 years of their lives. To become an adult, there are certain required standards. In such a vulnerable position, how are they expected to make good decisions? 

According to a recent NPR podcast, the age of maturity is definitely not 18. Instead, the podcast explains that at the age of 25, young adults drop most childish desires and complete the childhood phase. 

“Their prefrontal cortex is not yet fully developed. That’s the part of the brain that helps you to inhibit impulses and to plan and organize your behavior to reach a goal,” said Dr. Sandra Aamodt. 

There are many competent 18-year olds who are prepared for the challenges of adulthood while others aren’t. Either way, the age group struggles to make good choices, all stemming from a lack of maturity.

“The risks of crime and car accidents and all the crazy things that adolescents do are actually more issues with young adults,” said Dr. Aamodt.

Without having the mind of a developed adult, 18-year olds are more likely to make unwise decisions, while being introduced to new responsibilities like voting and driving.

In 1972, Congress made the final decision to set the age of legal adulthood to 18. However, in 2021, evidence suggests that Congress may have made the wrong decision. Voting, driving, and independence from parents sound like incredible opportunities, but if these responsibilities are put in the hands of an 18-year old, do they really know what to do with them?