Sun 11 May, 2003 10:52 am
How old were YOU when you believed that you were finally grown up? What were the circumstances?
Are We Grown Up Yet? Study Says Not 'Till 26
Sun May 11, 7:35 AM ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Most Americans believe someone isn't grown up until age 26, probably with a completed education, a full-time job, a family to support and financial independence, a survey said on Thursday.
But they also believe that becoming an official grown-up is a process that takes five years from about the age of 20, concluded the report from the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center.
The findings were based on a representative sample of 1,398 people over age 18 surveyed in person in 2002. It had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percent.
The poll found the following ages at which people expect the transitions to grown-up status to be completed: Age 20.9 self-supporting; 21.1 no longer living with parents; 21.2 full-time job; 22.3 education complete; 24.5 being able to support a family financially; 25.7 married; and 26.2 having a child.
There is a large degree of consensus across social groups on the relative importance of the seven transitions,' said Tom Smith, director of the survey. 'The only notable pattern of differences is on views about supporting a family, having a child and getting married.
'Older adults and the widowed and married rate these as more important than younger adults and the never-married do,' he added. 'This probably reflects in large part a shift in values across generations away from traditional family values.'
The most valued step toward reaching adulthood, the survey found, was completing an education, followed by full-time employment, supporting a family, financial independence, living independently of parents, marriage and parenthood.
Do you believe that the study was correct?
Are their any other parameters that YOU think a person needs before he/she can be considered grown up?
Well, as my husband says: You have to get older - but you don't have to grow up.
He lives by that - wouldn't you know it, Phoenix?
In my life I would say it was the moment when I started my first job and did not depend on my parents anymore. That was when I was 22.
urs53- I think that the "cutting of the cord" from parents is one of the most important hallmarks of being a grownup. When I was much younger, I knew a lot of married couples, some with kids, who were beholden to their parents for some of their support. As a result, many of the decisions that the couple made were predicated on not the couples' desires, but the parents'.
When I became exclusively responsible for feeding, housing and clothing myself I considered myself grown up, IMO it has nothing to do with age and has everything to do with life's landmarks.
CDK- You are absolutely right. But you were unusual.That is exactly my point. In the US the average person has not gotten beyond adolescence (using your criteria, and the criteria of the study) until mid twenties!
Well, I considered myself being a grown-up when I was promoted to the first commissioned officer's rank in the Soviet Army. It happened in the beginning of 1984, when I was 21.
Between ages twenty-two and twenty-four I finished school, started working full-time, moved out on my own and will never forget the moment it came to me that I, not my father and mother nor my older brothers but I was completely responsible for myself.
Grown up is not a bad thing, y'all.
Hmmmmmmm - here in Oz, many"kids" are now living at home until their mid or even late twenties - and even into their thirties in some cases! I have known some parents to sell the house in order to get rid of them. Not all, of course, but it seems to be a real trend amongst the university crowd in particular, because now they can sleep with their partners at home, I guess - which was one of the things that got my generation out as fast as possible.
In my generation and milieu marriage and kids has not been such a major thing - serial monogamy without marriage and kids optional has been more the thing...
Hmm - in some ways I think I grew up when my mother died, when I was 14 - in other ways probably at about 20 - in other ways not at all. I was self-supporting financially from 15, because I won a scholarship with a living allowance then - and again the same for university - and I worked as well from 15 on throughout high school holidays and all through uni. However, I did not finally graduate until I was 26 - and no, I didn't fail anything!
Getting my first professional job then was a big step, too.
Actually - I am not sure we DO grow up in the same way we used to. I think we tend to remain far more flexible and "light" in our thinking and behaviour, if you can get what I mean, than previous generations - adulthood seemed a far more sober thing in previous generations.
This thinking is reflected, I note, in the human development/life stages literature.
Actually, I'm rather glad to say that I'm grown up nearly by now.
Hmmm - they say 60 is the new forty.
With my genes, I prolly ought to live as though 40 is the new 80!
I was 20 when I had a job with enough financial independence to move out.
Phoenix said that she was mature but hoped never to grow up. I totally agree. To stay young we need to be able to see the world with the enthusiasm of a child. There is a big difference between being childish and childlike. It works beautifully if it is combined with a sense of responsibility.
Didn't Menninger say that adolescence lasted until the age of 24?
I 'grew up' about four years ago. Since then, I've been able to become a kid again.....no worries. 'Don't let the small stuff bother you and by the way, everything is small stuff'.
Phoenix and Diane are both kids at heart ~ don't let them fool ya folks!
Well, I'm past the "grown-up" age in the survey, and would say that in many ways I am all grown up. In other ways, I know I have a lot of growing to do. Of course, I can point out a lot of ways in which my mother has a lot of growing up to do, too. I don't think that being all grown up is nearly as concrete a transition as that survey would indicate.
I am not married yet, and have no children. The reasons for both are primarily financial. In this economy, it's hard for Brian and me to pay rent and eat, let alone to pay for a wedding and for all the expenses that come with children! Of course, recognizing these things and choosing to wait can be seen as a sort of a sign of maturity. But in a way it's also a cop-out. We don't have to take those next steps until the economy turns around. (Other reasons are that he is two years younger than I am, has yet to complete his education, and he feels that he needs to be completely financially responsible for himself, me, and any pets and children we may have in the future. He takes too much onto himself. As he grows further, I hope that he learns to let go a little and trust that things will work out, somehow or other.)
Regardless, I don't see marriage and children as things that necessarily separate the grown-ups from the terminal adolescents. I've seen people younger than myself handle these life stages beautifully, getting married and raising families responsibly and well. I've also seen mothers who were as childish (not childlike, but truly childish) as their young and spoiled children. I've seen plenty of women in their 30s and 40s who are childless and perfectly secure in their identities and level of maturity. I've also known childless women who were destined to never grow up and take responsibility for their actions and words. There are all sorts out there.
I think that taking financial responsibility for oneself is a huge milestone in the growing up process.
Throughout adulthoood, there are tough economic times. Sometimes you need to borrow from a parent or a relative. I think that one big step in growing up is realizing that you need to start paying them back. Families should help each other, and they should also make sure that it never gets too lopsided. Adolescents take handouts freely. Adults repay their loans to the best of their ability.
I'll let you know when I get there ;-)