NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Adolescence has long been thought of as the teenage period of a child's life. Now a report from the Lancet Child and Development Journal says that societal and biological changes have prolonged the adolescent years from the ages of 10 to 19 to now ending at the age of 24.
Dr. Nava Silton, a developmental psychologist, told Fox 5 that that the societal move to extend the age bracket of adolescence is valid.
"Most kids ae not fully financially independent, health care independent, or educationally independent by the age 19," Silton said. "Many are pursuing college and graduate school. And so they're really quite dependent on their parents or caregivers."
The report highlights that young people are also getting married and having children later than before. Biologically, the brain needs time to catch up as well.
"Our brains don't fully develop until about age 25, 26," Silton said. "So it makes sense if they want to extend it a bit to give kids a little more time before they have to go out into the world on their own."
For twentysomethings who object to being referred to as "adolescent," Silton said you can refer to a more comfortable category.
"There's a term called 'emerging adulthood,' which looks at kids kind of between the ages of 18 and 29," she said. "It's a nice transitional term between adolescence and adulthood."
This classification change could lead to policy change, like extended youth support services until 25. That could be very helpful for some families.