In his most recent podcast, It’s Time for Personal Responsibility (6/11/15), Matt Walsh uses the “McKinney Pool Party” incident to talk about the fact that “teenage” is a category inserted between childhood and adulthood only for the last hundred years or so. Prior to that, you were a child until you became an adult – usually around age 13. That made you a young adult, to be sure, but certainly no longer just a child.
Matt’s point is that we’ve “infantilized” young adults and consigned them to an extended period of life free from responsibilities they ought to be bearing.
I won’t try to present his content any further. I just want to say that I’ve seen his point about “teenage” being a relative new idea made elsewhere, and I think it was in an academic environment. That is, there was evidence given to support the claim.
Irrespective of all that, I agree that teenagers are really young adults and ought to be treated as such. Instead, they are being coddled and excused by parents. As a result, such young people are slow to mature and take up full independence.
I heard today on Al Mohler’s podcast that the out-of-wedlock birth for mothers in their 20’s is over 50%! This is tragic confirmation that people are taking on the privileges of adulthood but not the responsibilities that go along with them. All of society suffers when this is the case.
Teenagers are not children. They may not be independent adults, but they are surely adults. They deserve – and need – to be treated as such…if they are to ever become independent.
Parents, if your goal is that your children have a strong and vibrant faith in Christ that is completely independent of yours, don’t let your deadline be age 21, or even 18. Make the deadline for achieving your goal no later than 13.