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OT - child or adult

Aniki's picture

Another post got me thinking... Do you consider 17 years old to be a child? A 17yo can drive a car, hunt, and hold down a job. A 17yo can join the military and fight for his/her country. A 17yo can be tried as an adult in a court of law. 

But do you consider a 17yo to be a CHILD?? Childish, sure. But a child?? Thoughts.


tog redux's picture

They are still minors in most areas - can they join the military without parental consent? And kids of any age can be tried as adults, but usually aren't (except in two states - NY and NC, which still have the age of criminal responsibility below 18).  They can't do a lot of things yet without parental consent.

I think they are in between child and adult. Adolescent. 

mollygreen22's picture

I dont consider a 17 year old a child at all.  Definetely teen. I too was independent living out of my childhood home,  and now i dont know how i got by.  I was defientely not mautre enough to make adult responsible decisions.  I dont consider them a child but defenetely not an adult. 

Cover1W's picture

No.  I don't even call SD13.5 a child or kid any longer. She still refers to herself as a kid, and mommy still gets her ready for bed (I recently found this out...!!!!).  But going through puberty and developing a brain outside of 'kid brain' = not a kid.  A young teen, or older teen, as in 17, yes.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Depends on the "child". I was adult at 17 becuase I was doing adult things such as having graduated highschool and being self-employed. My sister was still a child past 18 becuase she wasn't independant or able to function as an adult. Of course they are still a minor by the law but again that highschool garduation comes in.

CLove's picture

here its 18, when you really "belong to yourself".

agitated's picture


1. My SD16stb17 does not have a drivers permit; she't toooo scaaaarrrrrred to drive and daddeeeee won't force her.

2. She doesn't have a job even though the house rule is to get one within 6 months of turning 16; but then there's daddeeee again saying she is trying. She is NOT trying by applying to 4 places!

3. She doesn't know how to use the microwave or toaster oven wtihout being directed, every single time by one of us. For they record, my bios (14 years old) can do this.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Yes and no. I agree with the above... They're teens. No they shouldn't be given ruleless range of the world. But they also shouldn't be completley sheltered. This is the stage they should have a bit more responsibility and freedom, but still have enough structure and discipline so they don't do anything too stupid that ruins their future, and they get enough guidance for when they're really on their own.

Middle ground. Not a child. Not an adult.

STaround's picture

Cannot get most types of financial aid for college on their own.  Parents income will determine. But if they are going to college, they should be getting grades on their own.

Can drive, but insurance is so expensive, many have given up getting a license at 18.

Can legally rent out an apartment, but where I live landlord will likely want a parent guarantee.

Cbarton12's picture

I mean they are more children than adults. 

But as others as have said, they are aptly named teens. They are definitely more independent or should be but they still lack a lot of maturity and knowledge. 

ESMOD's picture

At 17 I was enrolled at college and living away from home making all sorts of "adult" decisions and taking care of my own needs.  Feeding myself, keeping my home clean.. doing laundry.. getting myself to class.. getting myself to work etc..  I would not have considered myself a child.. though technically I was still a dependent of my parents.

Legally, there were still a few things I wasn't able to do until 18.. but mentally?  I don't believe my thought process was dramatically different at 16, 17, or 18 years old. 

My parents had taught me to be a critical thinker and weigh the consequences of my actions.... not saying I always made the right decisions.. but then again.. I don't do that at 50+

I don't think that a 17 year old is a child with the same connotation that a 7 year old is a child.  Physically, they are mostly matured adults... Mentally they have the capability to think for themselves and there is no magic wand that makes a 18 yo more responsible than a 17.9 year old.

Depending upon the individual of course.. but I think that "young adult" could be a label at 17 years old onward.. Prior to that.. teenager.. which is a mix of kid and adult qualities. 


ESMOD's picture

BTW, I also do agree with the statutory rape laws that make allowances for situations like an 18 yo and 17 yo dating... where the age difference is relatively small and would be considered a normal age gap. So not a 19 yo and a 12 year old match.. but 17 and 19? that's not too different.. It's not really abnormal for people with 1-4 year age gaps when they are early 20's and younger.  It's quite different when it's the 40 year old teacher and the 16 year old student.. vs the 18 year old senior girl and her sophmore boyfriend who is almost 17 years old (1.1 years apart) etc..

The intent of our sexual predator laws wasn't necessarily to ensnare teens dating in what might be considered normal age gap situations (I am not saying it's ok for them to rape.. but that if it's consensual.. and it's just age difference that is fairly normal for kids that might be dating)



bananaseedo's picture

Teenagers- until age 20-then young adult- then maybe 25 adult.  My youngest doesn't want to drive, he is scared, he also doesn't get out much and is a homebody-and has some friends that drive so he doens't have much of a need to drive.  He's looking for a summer job and until he can afford all that comes with a car he'll be driven.

The cost of living right now is outrageously higher then it ever was.  I had a very very low paying job at the time, so did my ex and between us and my brother we rented a two bedroom appt.  Our insurance wasn't too bad- cars weren't expensive.  Groceries, utilities, all of it.  We lived pretty good and I made 1/4 of what I make now and I don't live half as good.

Insurance where I live is like $300 a month for an old ass car for a 19 yr old!   W/no bad record.  That's more then a car payment would be if there was one.  Right there it's around $500 if it's a low car payment, not counting maintenance, gas, oil.  When they pay $8 hr starter jobs? Come wonder they are forced to stay with parents until much older now.  Unless they lived in a cardboard box.  Then lets talk how student debt is drowning everyone!  I refuse to let them take large loans and I doubt either of them will do a 4 yr degree but probably focus more on a trade and have smaller loans. 

WarMachine13's picture

I was emancipated at 16. Most of my friends were on their own by 18-19. IMO, it's all about how you're raised. 17 is young adult.

Aniki's picture

WarMachine, I know someone who was emancipated at 15. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for you and him, but both of you have come out on top!

Monkeysee's picture

Adolescent/young adult. If a 17 yo is considered a child (unless there is a developmental issue), there’s something wrong with how they’re being raised. 

Kes's picture

Personally, I left home at 17, and would have been ticked off if anyone had called me a child. In the UK, legal adulthood is 18 for voting and most other things, you can still have sex at 16 and marry with your parent's permission.  

At 17, I certainly would consider that the parents' job is pretty much finished, although if a 17 yr old is living in the parents' home then they should be expected to observe any house rules that apply to everyone, such as quiet after 10pm etc. and phone home if you are going to be very late.  

I treated my own daughters as sensible human beings from quite a young age, and they grew into responsible (ish) teens.  I rarely had to exert any discipline as they were mostly self regulating.  

notasm3's picture

A lot of this is just semantics. 

But I really bristle over the whole crap about the brain not being developed until 25 so one must excuse any aberrant behavior from someone younger than 25. 

I graduated from college at 20 - with ZERO parental support. At 24 I managed the installation of a huge groundbreaking telecommunications project in Europe (almost 50 years ago). A system that I wrote at age 23.  So did I do all of that with a brain that was only partially formed? Hell no. And it wasn’t just me. My friends were also achieving major successes. 


Aniki's picture

I bristle over it, too, notasm. I look at so many of my family members and friends who, by age18-20:

  • had a full-time job OR
  • had a part-time job AND attended college FT
  • purchased a car 
  • BOUGHT a house
  • married
  • had children (one friend of mine had her 3rd son at age 20 and is still happily married)

I honestly believe that poor parenting has stunted emotional growth and their children are not prepared to care for themselves because of it.