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!