When interpreting this, one needs to take the age of maturity into consideration. The teenage years should be a period of change before teens are pushed into young adulthood and expected to act responsibly in society. In fact they are responsible for the lives and safety of the men and women around them. This is evident that at the age of eighteen, the human brain has still not reached its full maturity, but is just in its final stage. In the present times, adolescents are growing up too fast and are really not prepared intellectually for the world.
Now, one can argue that this period of preparation is what will comprise young adulthood, but what I am pointing out is that teenagers do not have enough time to discover their true potential and passion or talents. Sure, they can drive, vote, and work in their local fast food joint, but they haven’t been given the chance to mature emotionally gradually. Their brains are drowning in hormones, because they are on the point of adulthood but not there as yet; telling them they can enjoy the fruits of adulthood is filled with danger.
Teenagers simply cannot drink in the same way as adults, simply because their bodies are not ready for it, nor are they ready to take on the responsibility of parenting. Since eighteen is the legal age of adulthood more girls at that age are likely to fall pregnant because they feel they should have mature sexual relationships: but their hormones and inexperience makes it very difficult for many of them, and they get themselves into trouble with infections or pregnancies.
Fair enough one might say that driving, working, and behaving like adults every day: improving their performance, working hard, as well as organising themselves all include some degree of responsibility and wouldn’t that qualify for being a young adult, having matured to make rational decisions and in some cases, be held accountable for motor vehicle violations and accidents? Yes, I would agree, but what a terrible and harsh way to be taught a lesson based, in the case of a car accident, on having made a mistake.
Teens are still dealing with all kinds of emotional and physical issues that they need to deal with as teens, not as adults. After all, experience is the best teacher and that is exactly what adolescents need in order to mature. One cannot expect a teenager to complete his or her final year of school and take on the life of a mature and well-mannered adult in the following year. Change cannot happen overnight.
Though a teen may have trouble planning their future ahead, the fact remains that once they are legal adults, and no longer living at home, they have approximately 60 years of life ahead to do whatever they want, without parental limitations. Most parents remember what it was like to be limited in their decisions and privacy by their parents. And, how many of the decisions they made as teenagers and young adults affected the rest of their lives, therefore it will be relatable, in some cases, with what parents of the adolescents had went through in the past.
There are some instances where young rebellious adults take full advantage of their freedom, by taking drugs, drinking alcohol, going drag racing and going to ‘wild’ night clubs, amongst other things. These may seem like little things, but in the end it does more damage to their lives than good. In some ways, given teenagers’ immaturity that changes with the circumstances, they are treated more harshly at school than many adults at work.
Majority of teenagers get caught up in the world demanding for qualifications, they are aware as never before that if they want to earn money as an adult, they must go to university. This means that instead of them being able to enjoy life, form dreams and learn how to be themselves, they are already stuck on the treadmill of work. Often they will not even have worked out what it is they want to do before they find themselves at university, studying something they don’t particularly enjoy, simply because they know it is expected.
There are many things that teenagers’ stress about and along with the stress they will experience the pressure when they face the world, by quickly grasping things and the ways of the outside world as they go about their daily lives. There is a whole world waiting for teenagers to join it, when they are fully ready and have realised their individuality in its definite form; they will be capable enough to make choices in their private lives, the results of which will affect no one except them.
There can be good and convincing arguments made for both sides, but in my opinion teens are not ready for adulthood at the age of eighteen. Adolescents need time to focus on the emotional and physical changes taking place in their lives, space to grow up safely and to mature accordingly. Along the way, they will take on more responsibilities and learn more which will adequately prepare them to behave like young adults, without the pressures of adulthood and without being expected to be adults having just finish school.