When is a child no longer a child?

Julie - posted on 02/05/2015 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Depending on how mature they are, I say 16. Because at that age you can drive, work, buy your own things, and you usually have more adult responsibilities that younger people don't. Even though you're legally an adult at 18, I don't think 16 is much different mentally or physically. 18 is just an age that was set by the government. You don't just magically turn into an adult at a certain age.

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Jodi - posted on 02/05/2015

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16 is plenty different to 18 - like 2 more years of maturity.

However, having said that, if you are still living under the roof of your parents, it is still their rules. If in some way they are still supporting you (giving you a roof over your head and looking after your child for free while you go back to school, just as examples), then you are not actually living as an adult. I'm not saying you are doing those things, just IF you are. But it really comes back to their house, their rules. If you don't like it, make the adult decision to move out and find your own place where you can have your own rules.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/05/2015

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Also...just so you know...when you're a parent, you kids are always 'children'...LOL...even my MIL calls me 'child'!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/05/2015

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Nicely stated, Julie, and I'm glad you saw where i was headed with my reply.

Let me put it this way. If you were my kid, you would have adult privileges, with the exception of drinking, marijuana, and full freedom of movement. In other words, pretty much: No drinking, no stoning, and be home at a reasonable time...

As long as you are taking care of business (school and little one) you're doing well, and need to keep up the good work.

Perhaps it's time to suggest to your parents a contract for you living with them, that outlines both your and their responsibilities in the home, and how certain situations such as babysitting or grocery runs will be handled. Personally, I think that, for babysitting your sibs, its a fine line between what is 'enough' free time, and too much...my mother started paying me to watch my sibs when I was 16, if it was something out of the ordinary. I paid my eldest to watch my youngest as well...so I think it's only fair for them to pay you. They'd have to pay someone if you weren't there, after all...

Dove - posted on 02/05/2015

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Hey, you asked.... ;)

Yes, you are 17 and a mother now and you are the adult in HER life, but to your parents you are still very much a child. They probably feel somewhat guilty or responsible for the fact that you became a mother too young and just don't want you to create any more hardships for yourself or them.

Really you can sit down and talk to them like a mature adult and try to come to some sort of mutual understanding... or you can move out and do it on your own in your own home on your own terms.

Julie - posted on 02/05/2015

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Dove, to some people 18 year olds are still kids too. To some adults, teenagers in general are still kids. I have friends that are 18 that still live with their parents and feel that they aren't ready to be out in the ''adult world.'' Being an adult can be stressful, I know it already. I would like to be a normal 17 year old with no stress and financial worries, but I have a daughter and I have to make adult decisions.

Trisha - posted on 02/05/2015

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You will always, to some point, be treated by a child like your parents.
If you want to request that they treat you like an adult, you will need to either contribute money to the household, or move out. In fact, that might not even work.
You need to sit down and talk with your parents and let them know how you feel, and ask them the steps that you can take to be treated with the respect *edit* YOU FEEL *edit* you deserve.

Trisha - posted on 02/05/2015

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My stepson is turning 16 this year, and we have been trying to push him towards being more mature and responsible.
You are an adult when you are out on your own, making responsible decisions, and not depending on someone else.
I stress the importance to my stepson of making smart decisions, and when he does not, he should own up to the mistake and try to fix it, and ensure it doesn't happen again. Example: Staying up all night, and being late for school.
Lying to stay out of trouble is a NOT acceptable. Doing things he KNOWs isn't right/allowed is NOT acceptable. If we catch him doing any of the things that he KNOWs aren't the right choice, then he gets grounded, like a child. How he deals with the consequences of his actions are what make the difference between whether we treat him like an adult, or a child for the remainder of those punishments.

Julie - posted on 02/05/2015

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You have a sensible point. I am 17 and I have a 15 month old daughter so I have gained adult responsibilities. I have a car, a job, I take care of my kid, go to school, and on weekends I'm usually at home with my daughter, doing chores, and relaxing. My mom and step dad only treat me like an adult when they want me to do something. For example: run errands for them, do house chores, babysit my younger sibling etc. Which is why I asked this question.

Dove - posted on 02/05/2015

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Actually... you 'magically' turn into a legal adult when you turn 18. If you want to put a 'better' age on it... I believe the brain isn't fully developed until 25... so maybe we could make it that people are not considered an adult until they are 25.

Sure... I know some 16 year old KIDS (because that's what they ARE) that are very mature and responsible... but they are still kids in need of parental guidance. But if you think 16 should be considered an adult... by all means have them move out and fully support themselves at 16... and see how far they can get.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/05/2015

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somehow...this really reeks of a teen that has been told that they're not old enough to do something.

From Mirriam & Webster: Adult; adjective \ə-ˈdəlt, ˈa-ˌdəlt\
: fully grown and developed

: mature and sensible : not childish

Yes, one can be mature at 16, but is one experienced enough to enter the adult world? Not necessarily.

Does AGE = ADULTHOOD? Most definitely not. I know many 50 year olds that act no better than a 5 year old.

Should a minor child who thinks that they deserve adult responsibilities actually deserve them? In most cases, no. I can think of ONE case where I would confidently say a 16 year old was an adult for all intents and purposes. ONE, out of the thousands of 16 year olds I've interacted with.

To be fair, at 16, in most states in the US, you CANNOT drive unrestricted. You may be able to work unrestricted, depending on state of residence, but there are still some states in the US that require you to be 17 before you're allowed to work a full time job.

Your statement of "buy your own things"...Pretty much ANYONE can purchase their own things, if they are given the money to do so...even a toddler can purchase a piece of candy if momma gives them a quarter. Furthermore, at 16, your 'adult' responsibilities mostly consist of getting your butt out of bed and to school on time, PERHAPS being responsible for younger siblings or babysitting clients, but you most definitely do not have truly 'adult' responsibilities. You aren't paying a mortgage, or a car payment, you aren't worrying about where the next groceries are coming from because your infant had a viral infection, and your grocery money was needed for doctors...

The only 16 YO kids that i know who can claim to be 'adult' in any way are, IMO, those who ARE young parents, who ARE finishing school while bringing up baby, and who ARE taking on those adult responsibilities.

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