Late adolescence: it gets longer and longer

In the society in which we live, childhood is getting shorter and adolescence gets longer. So much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has adapted to the new social realities and has extended adolescence by definition to a period of youth that traditionally reached the age of 19, and now reaches 25.

Thus, what until recently experts recognized as "late adolescence", now the World Health Organization (WHO) defines it directly as adolescence, and extends this period to 25 years. And although historically this international body limited this stage from 11 to 19 years, specifying that early adolescence covered 12 to 14 years and late adolescence from 15 to 19 years, now many of its specialists argue that this stage of Life goes on until the age of 25 and there are many experts for whom the age of adolescence can exceed 30 years.


Adolescence is a relatively new period

"Adolescence is a relatively new period, our grandparents passed from boys to men or women without anything in between, they had that need to survive," says José Romay, Professor of Sociology at the University of A Coruña.

Today at 25 years old many continue with a very precarious job and do not dare to become independent. It is not strange, that they consider not rushing to grow up and assume adult responsibilities. Thus, according to the Youth Report in Spain, 29.8% of women and 41.1% of men continue to live in their parents' homes between the ages of 25 and 34. While only 25.8% of young foreigners between 25 and 29 years old live with their parents.


What happens when there are children 30 years old or older who still live with their parents? Except for justified cases such as, for example, caring for them due to illness or being older and needing help. Some young people are afraid to "fly" from the paternal nest and become independent, that is, to mature and assume responsibilities of their age (the so-called Peter Pan syndrome). There are external factors that also intervene against: those caused by the labor and economic crisis that in our country has caused a youth unemployment of almost 50% and that have precarious and poorly paid jobs.

It also influences the necessary training to practice any profession that requires more time and expertise to achieve it. Adolescence is a stage of changes and any change in our lives implies a minimum of emotional imbalance that must be faced to adapt to the new situation. Adolescents want changes to be rapid, they need short-term answers to their demands and new technologies can influence the advancement of adolescence because they offer immediate answers.


Although they have the same age, the maturational process of people can have different rhythms, but there are parental attitudes that influence in delaying the maturation of children, such as:. Overprotection, permissiveness and not limits, are behaviors that delay the passage from adolescence to maturity. . From small is important that they are autonomous and responsible for small tasks, although of older we will also have to dialogue and negotiate with them to bring action and behavioral positions. .

Be models of transmission of values ​​different from those offered by the current consumer society that influence them to value, among other things, comfort and not renounce the standard of living of living with parents. . To promote a healthy and positive self-esteem, based on "being", doing, sharing with other people, rather than "having" (personal image, material goods, etc.)

Marisol Nuevo Espin
Advice: Mercedes Corbella

Video: Why does it take so long to grow up today? | Jeffrey Jensen Arnett | TEDxPSU


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