Idiots. Psychologists. But I repeat myself . . .

The latest example of utter stupidity comes from child psychologists.  The BBC reports:

New guidance for psychologists will acknowledge that adolescence now effectively runs up until the age of 25 for the purposes of treating young people. So is this the new cut-off point for adulthood?

“The idea that suddenly at 18 you’re an adult just doesn’t quite ring true,” says child psychologist Laverne Antrobus, who works at London’s Tavistock Clinic.

“My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age.”

Child psychologists are being given a new directive which is that the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25.

“We are becoming much more aware and appreciating development beyond [the age of 18] and I think it’s a really good initiative,” says Antrobus, who believes we often rush through childhood, wanting our youngsters to achieve key milestones very quickly.

The new guidance is to help ensure that when young people reach the age of 18 they do not fall through the gaps in the health and education system. The change follows developments in our understanding of emotional maturity, hormonal development and particularly brain activity.

“Neuroscience has made these massive advances where we now don’t think that things just stop at a certain age, that actually there’s evidence of brain development well into early twenties and that actually the time at which things stop is much later than we first thought,” says Antrobus.

There are three stages of adolescence – early adolescence from 12-14 years, middle adolescence from 15-17 years and late adolescence from 18 years and over.

Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected until the prefrontal cortex of the brain has fully developed.

Alongside brain development, hormonal activity is also continuing well into the early twenties says Antrobus.

“A number of children and young people I encounter between the age of 16 and 18, the flurry of hormonal activity in them is so great that to imagine that’s going to settle down by the time they get to 18 really is a misconception,” says Antrobus.

There’s more at the link.

At 18 (heck, at 17!) I was carrying a rifle and patrolling the African bush.  I was being shot at, and shooting back.  Nobody asked me whether my hormonal activity had settled down sufficiently to allow me to do that, or whether my prefrontal cortex was sufficiently developed for the purpose, or even if I ‘felt ready’ for it.  All I knew at the time was that if I didn’t get it right, I wouldn’t have to worry about the enemy killing me.  My platoon NCO would do that for them!  My father, at the age of 11, was dumped by his mother into a Depression-era workhouse, and enlisted as a boy apprentice in the Royal Air Force at the age of 15.  Nobody asked him whether he felt mature enough to handle either environment, or wanted to do so – that was what the exigencies of the time required, so he did it.

I’d love to hear a USMC Drill Instructor‘s reaction to being told that the new recruits of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children assigned to his tender mercies were really precious little baa lambs who weren’t adults yet, and needed to be treated as adolescents and pampered accordingly for the next six or seven years.  I suspect the psychologist telling him that would rapidly learn a few things to his or her (dis)advantage!  For that matter, tell it to the mujahideen in Afghanistan who run into those same ‘baa lambs’ a few months after the Drill Instructor sends them off to war.  I suspect they might also have a few things to say to the psychologist . . . and I don’t mean quotations from the Koran!



  1. Gee, do you think it's possible that the shrinks are trying to drum up more business for themselves? Naaah, I'm sure that they are paragons of honest concern for the mental and emotion well-being of Obamacare-covered twenty-somethings.

  2. Let's Visualize this. My father was thrown out of his house at 10 years of age, born in 1899. He served in 3 wars, enlisting "illegally", being so youthful. My mother was cast to the wind during WWII, wandering Europe, after being thrown out of school in the 8th grade, escaping the German army every step of the way. Immediately at graduation from high school, my father said to me: "Son, there's the front door, it's been nice — you have three younger sisters.

    All four of us children graduated from University, between us, we have at least six degrees and a number of certifications beyond that. All earned before the age of 25. These brain scientists are full of pig dung.

  3. At 18, I had a key to the launch control for nuclear missiles. The whole idea of extending adolescence is inane; perhaps the psychologists are those with the problem.

  4. Let's see… do we want more patients or not? Profit margins are down. Do I want to start working for a living or not?

    Yeah, childhood lasts to 25, sure.

  5. I think the psychologists would say that the reason those mujahideen (and the DI) can recruit and train so effectively is precisely because most 17-25 year olds have some vestiges of an adolescent thought process. There's no question that life can impose challenges on adolescents, or kids of any age, but there's good science to demonstrate that frontal lobe development, in particular, continues into the early to mid twenties in males particularly. That's not because of 'pampering', or treating them like 'little baa lambs' – it's because that's how long brains take to grow! If you'd like a larger body of evidence, look at car insurance rates and ask yourself when the insurance adjusters believe you've left adolescence behind. It's great that you bootstrapped yourself through life's challenges, but those anecdotes are right up there with the folks who say "My dad gave me my first drink at the age of 7, and it's never hurt me! My kids should be able to drink if they want!".

  6. It may be that their brain is continuing to develop, but that most certainly does NOT mean that they need to be coddled and treated like children. Kids of any age will act and think as they are taught to. If you set the bar high, and provide a good example, you will get kids who can get through life's challenges. If you set it low, you get a bunch of spoiled whiners who don't want to provide for themselves because "It's too HAARD…" As my parents would say, "Tough, do it anyway."

  7. I was working offshore when I was eighteen. Until then, I worked as a house painter, which didn't have age restrictions for insurance purposes.

    I wonder why people have such a hard time calling some young adults weenies? Too many are and their rationalizations don't obscure the fact.

  8. Patrick: The only important point in the article is that it has now been proved that development of the brain continues somewhat beyond the 18th year. I expect that the better psychologists and psychiatrists keep up with such things and take them into account. My late father, a psychologist, would not have been astonished by that news. Some of the rest of the article, though, sounds like people "jockeying for position". Full physical development takes time, but a turnaround from an adolescent attitude to a distinctly more adult one can sometimes be pretty quick. Mr. Grant: if you haven't read it, Victor Krulak's book First To Fight is one you might find interesting. By his account, the Marines have long known that their recruits are still developing and need not just leadership and training, but care as well, while they make that turnaround.

  9. Hey Peter;

    Just finished your book and it was very well and thoughtfully written. Now to that post…..What a bunch of feldercarb…For starters I am sure the obunglercare ruling that kids stay on your insurance until 25 wasn't a factor….Kids mature according to the society norms…Now we are told to coddle junior until 25? If that is the case…raise the voting age to 25 and listen to the same democrats scream because a huge part of their base fall into that age group. The same age group that says that they havn't fully developed their frontal lobe. it would make sense…that explains their wholehearted support for "dear Leader"

  10. one the one end of this insanty spectrum we have the psychologists telling us that a 25 year old is still a child ..

    on the other hand we have judges and district attorneys telling us that a 10 year old is old enough to be judged and sentenced as an adult ..

    would someone please go and make up their minds – for them ?

  11. I wonder if, given a large enough sample, when we studied the brains of people at almost any age, we would find that some of them still have prefrontal cortexes which are changing and developing. Might be related to mental processes of ongoing learning, and not hardwired into a particular life stage.

  12. The more cynical part of me wants to say, well yeah! If you're being supported by your parents/ government, and living the same lifestyle at 24 as you did at 17, down to the messy room, partying, and sleeping through school, then yeah, there wouldn't be much change now, would there?

  13. Patrick nailed it. Psychologists are not saying that a five year old, a ten year old and a twenty-five year old male be treated in the same fashion. The statement is that the brain is still developing, and since that's the case certain mind altering substances should be avoided as much as possible. Alcohol, for instance, inhibits or prevents brain development. Moreover, you don't hand the keys to the artillery to an 18 year old and turn him loose without supervision; particularly when there's lead to duck.

    My other criticism is that you took this out of context then cited a list of exemplary anecdotes as evidence that applies to the general population, and you should not have done that. You're an unusual individual Peter, and you have an impressive list of accomplishments. Not everyone is as accomplished as you are, nor will they ever be. If that were true, we wouldn't have a gang problem, a welfare problem, and the number of people incarcerated would be a mere fraction of what it is today.

    Then, as someone else pointed out, there's the clear evidence seen in auto insurance rates.

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