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The barrier into adulthood

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Legal age should be moved to 21

GROWING UP. Teens enter adulthood at the age of 18, yet they are still children. Moving the legal age to 21 can help aid the difficult transition into the adult world. The drinking age is 21 for many health reasons, so the legal age should follow suit.

Natalie Brinkman

GROWING UP. Teens enter adulthood at the age of 18, yet they are still children. Moving the legal age to 21 can help aid the difficult transition into the adult world. The drinking age is 21 for many health reasons, so the legal age should follow suit.

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Legally, children cross the bridge into adulthood at the age of 18. These “adults” can get married, enter legal contracts, get a credit card, vote, or serve on a jury, yet, by the namesake of their age, they are still teens.

Our society hypes the big one-eight birthday, maybe less than turning 16, as some walk into the invisible barrier of responsibilities, decisions, and consequences of the adult world.

But in reality, at 18, these teens are still so young and expected to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.

Brains do not fully develop until around the age of 25. Specifically, the part of the brain that connects emotions to decision making is still developing.

As an adult, making choices based on intuition and judgement is important for day-to-day life, but as 18-year-olds enter the adult world, they are thrust into an environment that physically pushes them to rely on a part of their brain that is still in development.

To combat this issue, the drinking age was pushed back to the age of 21 in the hopes that young people would be able to make better decisions with more life experiences, development, and maturity.

The legal age of adulthood should also be changed to the age of 21. It would allow for teens to grow and develop but also allow for them to engage in responsibilities and decisions before the brain is fully developed.

“It also means that young people have lapses in judgment during this time period as they try to figure out how to be adults,” according to CNN.

Nonetheless, moving the legal age would only be ideal for teens considering college or other extended educational pathways.

Teens that enter the workforce and become independent from their parents must rely on their own finances and decisions after leaving high school.

Possibly, the new rights at the age of 18 could be limited or changed until the age of 21. Financial control and the ability to sign a lease are mainly important to those entering the workforce.

In conclusion, teens are not able to make decisions with proper judgment until their brains are fully developed. Moving the legal age to 21 can help teens develop and grow at a better pace.


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The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio
The barrier into adulthood