What is an adult? Or rather, when do we become adults? And you, do you consider yourself an adult? The question may seem trivial, even insulting, but the answer is not always that simple. Many criteria intersect when trying to give a definition to « adulthood » or even to the simple fact of being an adult. Immersed in a moving, but fascinating notion.
What is being an adult for the Biology?
The dictionary first defines the adult as the one who « reaches the end of his growth, his full development ». This is a purely biological definition: an adult is one who no longer grows, in the first sense of the term.
Some dictionaries add another notion, always biological. « Any being which has almost reached its full development, if not in its dimensions, at least as far as reproduction is concerned, which, consequently, is capable of perpetuating itself by the sexual way, is adult », we read in the definition of the National Center for Textual and Lexical Resources, the CNRS dictionary. Still on an exclusively « corporal » level, it is possible to add the definition of neuroscience.
According to researchers in this field, we are truly adults at the age of thirty: at this age, the development of neurons has come to an end. And the individual is considered capable of mastering his emotions and impulses.
What does it mean to be an adult fo psychology?
We can clearly see, however, the limits of this definition, if only for common opinion. We all have people around us who seem to be adults well before 30, and others who never seem to want to grow up, even though they have long been able to reproduce. This is why the dictionary offers us another definition. « The adult is the one who shows balance, maturity », says the Larousse. And this is where it all gets complicated. Because when are we mature?
The most commonly accepted definition in psychology seems to make maturity and autonomy rhyme, both emotionally, intellectually, morally, financially and materially. “To be an adult is not only to have ‘stopped growing’ (from the Latin ‘adults’), but to know how to make decisions and demonstrate independence.