Waving Goodbye to Childhood

Waving Goodbye to Childhood

Savana Freyman

Savana Freyman, Staff Writer

Here in Florida, anyone 18 years or older is considered a legal adult. We live in a society where teenagers can drive alone at 16, yet are too young to see an R-rated movie or vote for president. 18 year olds can also enlist in the army, yet they are too young to buy beer.

When taking a stroll down any WHS hallway during a class change the question is raised: are students mentally prepared to take on the responsibilities of being an legal adult?

“I think 18 is too young to be considered an adult, most 18 year olds these days are still living at home with their parents and are completely dependent on them,” Chad Householder, senior, said.

Neuroscientists now know that brain maturation continues far later into development than has previously believed. Significant changes in brain anatomy and activity are still taking place during young adulthood, especially in prefrontal regions that are important for planning ahead, anticipating the future consequences of one’s decisions, controlling impulses, and comparing risk and reward, according to research conducted by the New York Times.

“I think 18 year olds are still very young and inexperienced. Teens are very indecisive and are still deciding what they want to do with their lives in the future. Also, most 18 year olds are still in high school and living at home,” Nicole Lemos, senior, said.

Turning 18 in America comes with more freedom, but also more responsibilities. For instance, a person becomes eligible to vote, get married or divorced and are eligible to sign legal contracts such as credit cards, housing and bank accounts. The American government also requires men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register for the military draft.

The list goes on: 18 year olds can buy tobacco products, change their names, get tattoos and piercings without parental consent. They can buy spray paint, liquid white out, lottery tickets, hotel rooms, and insurance. Rash decisions that young adults make, such as deciding to get “tatted up” are choices that they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives.

With age comes responsibility. 18 year olds are tried in court as adults, not a juvenile and are also eligible to serve on jury duty and can be sued. Alongside all of this, the parents of these young adults are no loner under any obligation to support them.

There are both benefits and responsibilities that come with turning 18. Leaving childhood and taking on roles as a young adult can be overwhelming, yet it’s something that every teen must inevitably face.