From subjects such as a change in the voting age to the driving age, it has been a debatable topic to whether there should be a few modifications to ensure everyone’s safety from teenagers. Throughout many decades of the continuous controversy, many Americans still have opposing viewpoints about when teenagers actually mature and when they are able to possess “grown-up privileges”. Numerous claim that significant changes within the brain anatomy are still occuring during young adulthood, and that there should be stronger restrictions. Others see that teenagers should have the chance to learn independence by themselves. As a society, it is seen that maturance only arises when minors are given legal permission to experience adulthood and when they learn to cope with independence without helping hands from the people how have raised them.
First and foremost, the world views young adolescents as immature and irresponsible when it comes to decisions that could possibly affect everyone’s future, including theirs. Legal choices such as voting and driving at a specific age are able to test one’s management in controlling compulsive behaviors, which is part of the teen brain according to the article, “Is 16 Too Young to Drive a Car?” by Robert Davis. Even so, scientists have proven that areas such as using logic to reason shall mature by the time they are 16 from “What the Brain Says About Maturity” by Laurence Steinberg. The author states, “Systems responsible for logical reasoning mature by the time people are 16…” (Steinberg, 17-19). During the process of brain development from teenagers that are given access to a car, many restrictions are suggested for them in order to enable thinking about future consequences, which is also part of the teen mind. For example, from a literary piece written by Jamie Lincoln Kitman titled, “Better Training for New Drivers,” he presents an instance, where in New York, “...young drivers cannot drive past nightfall or with more than one unrelated person under the age of 21 in their car…” (Kitman, 111-113). Teenagers who do not have a lot of experience behind the wheel are able to learn responsibility by following safe restriction that shall prevent them from harming anyone and will fulfill the knowledge that their actions will have major consequences if regulations similarly to this are not followed.
Moving forward, throughout the teen’s early life, it is obvious to the naked eye that their parents have held their hand through all the highs and lows that have taken place in life so far. Since the teenage years are transitions into adulthood, allowing young adolescents some sort of freedom to learn about the real world authorizes them the ability to plan for their own future. From first hand experience, a college professor named Barbara Hofer had written a small article about how she had noticed the biggest change in young adults when they are away from their parents to attend school: independence. Her writing, “A Parent’s Role in the Path to Adulthood”, explains how important it is for an emerging adult to feel autonomous, meaning that they should feel as if they are not being controlled by any outside force. Hofer writes, “Another psychological aspect of being an adult is feeling autonomous, and individuals whose autonomy is supported—at any age—are more personally motivated.” (Hofer, 146-148). This idea of freedom empowers the young mind to acquire knowledge about the real word by themselves, which inspires them to develop the thought that they are able to live without continuously being dependent from their parents. Continuing, in order for the emerging adults to identify themselves as unrestrained from guardians, it is observed that they should have the freedom to make their own decisions. The article continues to state, “... college students are not getting the
opportunities they need to grow into autonomous, healthily connected adults when parents are still hyper-involved in their lives. ‘Emerging adults’... need opportunities to make their own choices.” (Hofer, 150-155). Again, mothers and fathers who access their children to making their own conclusions allow them to pave their own paths and write their own stories.
All in all, society as a whole still ponder about when the youth actually grow up to be successful adults. Would it depend on neuroscience or statistics to answer these mind boggling questions? As for now, it is perceived that emerging adults thrive when they are given legal permission to experience what it is like to be an adult and when they are set free from their guardians. As the people from the Vietnam-era would say, “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” meaning that if teenagers are put in an adult’s position to benefit their country, they should be able to be put in a position where they are allowed to change their own future.