My definition of adulthood does not tie adulthood and age. Somebody could be very old and behave as a child. Usually, age is highly correlated with maturity, but not always. Maturity is a combination of physiological development and transformative experiences. A person can show high physiological development but still does not show maturity. Maturity implies to develop the cognitive resources to process life experiences in a happy and effective way. To reach adulthood, people must transform themselves along their life. But basic physiological developments need to reached before. For instance, the human brain will not read until the pertinent neurological structures have been developed. Coverserly, somebody can reach physiological development and stay as an immature child.
People adapt the environment and achieve adulthood by overcoming obstacles. If people do not experience obstacles in life, they will never become adults. This is one of the problems that youth experience today. Parents’ self esteem is so dependent of children happiness that they do not allow their children to experience problems. Children who do not experience problems do not have the opportunity to reach adulthood. I believe part of the problem creating this “low self-stem overprotecting parents” is the consumerism shown in Western societies. Parents in Western societies do not have sources to find meaningfulness beside their children and pets. People work for money and dress to impress but they do not do anything for meaningfulness. As a consequence, adolescence has been enlarged by modern parents to keep children closer.
To be an adult implies to assume responsibilities. Youths do not feel ready to assume responsibilities because their parents assume all responsibilities for them. This change in our society has a huge impact in the type of audience that we have at college classrooms today. Teachers need to reflect on this to develop more effective ways of teaching.