About: the end of childhood

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Guysanto
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About: the end of childhood

Post by Guysanto » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:58 pm

We know that some men never grow up. We're willing to give women a pass on this one. But what is the milestone that most clearly distinguishes the end of childhood and the beginning of adultery, sorry... adulthood? If adulthood does not start so precipitously at the end of childhood, then consider the puberty/adolescence stage as the transitional stage when one can "play like an adult", but be mostly incapable of assuming adult responsibilities.

When did you realize you were no longer a child? [assuming that you did at any point in time]

What did I mean by "play like an adult"? Let's consider the biological definition. That is [for a man], you have had your first ejaculate, by way of intercourse (not likely), or masturbation (more likely), or a wet dream (the likeliest possibility). That is of course Nature's way to tell you that as far as "SHE" is concerned, you no longer are a child, though distinct societies and their legal systems have quite different standards on the matter.

[For a woman] that point in time would be the beginning of menstruation, loosely translated into the day of the first period, but in biological terms, you do have to go back a few days earlier when the first egg is actually released from one of the ovaries. But then again, considering that some girls get their period at the tender age of eight or nine, we cannot possibly conceive of them as "adults", no matter what Mother Nature says. Perhaps that's only the biological definition of the onset of puberty. But then, the question remains: when can we consider a human being "adult" through common understanding, and not by the variable edicts of lawmakers, as useful as those may be?

Again: when does a child become an adult? When did you become an adult? And when will "your children" ever become adult?

Please let's start a conversation on this issue: it could be very useful to many of us, and even to you.

Barb
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Post by Barb » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:41 pm

Anyone who has ever taught in a Middle School (grades 6-8) knows that despite any physical evidence to the contrary, those students are not by any stretch of the imagination adults.

So its gotta be something other than sexual maturity or God help us all!

Shelony
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Post by Shelony » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:05 pm

Let me start by wishing everyone a happy year 2008. The Q series is very interesting and thought provoking. I will address this question of adulthood in a light way for now but hope to be able to spare more time to go deeper later.

I like the way Guy poses the question because I believe the transition from childhood or adolescence to adulthood is a subjective idea. "We" usually become responsible adults before the general populations and our children won't make the transition until after our death. Or to make it more personally, right now, I am an adult but I can easily identify people my age or even older who still do not act like adults. Or even better, when in my mind, I started seeing myself as adult, some people my age were acting childish according to my standards and when my sisters or cousins reached that age, I did not think they were adult yet or responsible enough to be considered adults.

Now, I can say that I won't have any problem acknowledging my son as an adult once he shows that he's mature but the reality may be different when the time comes. Frankly I doubt that the average "us" ever see our offsprings as fully mature adults regardless of their age. " Nou toujou pase plis nan la vi, gen plis eksperyans, pi byen prepare pou gro traka la vi yo; pitit nou kapab grandi jouk yo tounen bra pi wo, men nou menm nou se grenn pronmennen"

Shelony

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Post by Guysanto » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:08 pm

[quote]So its gotta be something other than sexual maturity or God help us all![/quote]
Of course it's something other, Barb, but what would "you" say it is?

By the way, we have moved away from sexual maturity being the standard of adulthood, but think back of other societies, across time and/or space. In many cases, the readiness to reproduce was pretty much it -- as adolescence was indeed very short. These days, adolescence - particularly male adolescence - seems to last forever! But back to your own answers...


[quote]acting childish according to my standards[/quote]
Shelony, tell us about those standards and what you consider "acting childish".

[quote]when my sisters or cousins reached that age, I did not think they were adult yet or responsible enough to be considered adults[/quote]
Now I know I am going to hear Anacaona's side.

Barb
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Post by Barb » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:16 am

I heard an interesting theory on the dawn of human culture. It is at the point when it becomes possible for grandparents to be around for their grandchildren. As long as people are simply being born, reproducing themselves and dying, there is no opportunity for cultural memory. Once there is enough surplus or technology or whatever to allow people to live long enough for their children's children to be born, it becomes possible for them to pass on accumulated knowledge to the next generation. The parents are so involved in just physically surviving and providing for the young, but with the additional help of grandparents to care for grandchildren while parents hunt, gather, farm or whatever, the stories and the customs and the practical knowledge start to be passed down.

So maybe the grandparents are the first adults under this theory. Mid 20's to early 30's seems right to me.

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