How Do You Know You're An Adult?

Being an adult is more than turning 18 or 21 or 35. But what is it exactly? We asked some teens to tell us what they think being an adult is all about and how they'll know when they're adults. Here's what they said:

Angelica C.

I will know that I am an adult when I can live on my own, when I am fully capable of surviving independently. I will no longer depend on shelter, food, transportation, and money from my parents. I feel that an adult does not mean that you just turn eighteen. For me, being an adult means someone older than eighteen who is capable of living without expenses from one’s parents. I think that many people, especially teenagers, think being an adult means turning eighteen because you are “free”. However, just like Uncle Ben from Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” As one gets older, one obtains more responsibility. So, when a teenager turns eighteen, they have a lot of responsibility; responsibilities such as paying for your own car, home, school, food, and other necessities. To me, if a teenager can take those responsibilities than they are considered an adult. I honestly believe that many Hispanic teenagers who are eighteen or older are not adults because most of them, at least in my neighborhood, still depend on their parents. I plan on being an adult when I turn eighteen and graduate high school. Hopefully, I can receive scholarships to pay for my college education and dorm costs. If that works, then I will consider myself an adult because my parents will not be paying for anything.

Maria V.

I’ll really know that I’m an adult when I find my passion in life. What I mean by “passion in life” is what you want to do in life. For example when you’re little you want to be a fireman, policeman, doctor, teacher, etc… As you get older you start to see what you are really interested on. One you hit high school and you have a career that really calls your attention, that’s when I think you are mature because you have a future plan ahead of you, you are thinking college, and you know that you are doing the right decision.

Andrea G.

I have no idea how I’ll know I’m really an adult. I asked my friends around me when they all thought they would feel like a grown up and they all said “I don’t think you can ever stop growing,” “You may get old but you never stop growing spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.” For me I found that to be very inspirational, when you think about it…It’s true, there is not a point in your life that someone says you’re an adult. I think that it’s just a way to label people and target the specific age group.

I think that I will consider myself an adult when I feel old enough, have kids, am married, and have a job that I love. I feel this way because there is no evidence that you’re an adult when you turn a certain age. One thing I think people say is that you’re an adult when your brain fully matures and it has reached its peak, but boys and girls mature at different rates and you can’t make an assumption on all girls and all boys. Another thing is that everyone has a different personality, biochemistry, and hormones.

How do you think you'll know you're an adult? Is it age? Having a family? A nice car? A home? Tell us what you think in the comments!



Being mature means being able to understand yourself, your surroundings and making the best out of it. I may not know much since I'm barely 13 years old, but I know that you must understand your mistakes and not be too stubborn to change your way of thought. In other words, be more honest with yourself and face reality.

When I mean "face reality", I am just saying that you have to see how everything works around you or see how things might turn out in the near future. Perhaps, I am wrong. Though, I believe that you should follow your dreams and make them realistic, no matter what. Dreams may sound childish but its what drives people to success or you can call them goals.

In resolution, being mature is facing your challenges, surpassing them in your path of life and simply being able to face fact and improve for yourself because you desire to improve yourself. Also, don't do anything unwise or childish while being in a group because following the crowd/sociality isn't always the best thing. The company you have is the person you are.

I Hope this comment helped you.
(Though it doesn't have much.)


You should be responsible and also mature in thinking and also your thoughts. Then you will know that you are an adult.


Being an adult is really a person who can handle responsiblity without the help of your parents or even family members. You should not say you are a big woman or big man to your younger siblings because probably their opinion might be you are immature in your thoughts and your decisions.

ON APRIL 27, 2012 AT 10:07 PM, BRYCE SAID:

How do you know when you are an adult? You know that you are an adult when you despise others, when you despise those that aren't your family. Your an adult when you have to deal with the reality of life. When you pay bills, answer the phone, and put up with the children that no longer resemble the child that you once were. Adulthood is hell, it is becoming your parents, it is the thought of approaching death. So stay a child for as long as you can, it is the ultimate freedom, the freedom that you will never have again


For me, I consider someone an adult when they are 18 or older and can take responsibility to do things on their own (ie: make mistakes, accepting the blame, and then fixing their own mistakes, paying their own bills, paying their own rent, paying for their own food, eduction, etc.). Our brain will always grow and learn no matter how old you are. The person who you become at 21 years old may be a different person when you weer 18. It all depends on the experiences you go through. Your perspective of life and the world surrounding you changes as you go through events. No matter what age you are, a person will always continue to learn. Though I think a person can consider themselves an adult when they start doing things themselves and not relying on other people. I'm 22 years old (as I am typing this) and pay for my own rent, my own wifi bill, my own bill, and I do mostly everything by myself. It's a lot of responsibility but it's also a fun adventure to manage your budget and earn your own living. You get to do whatever you want.


all very true


Very first thing I want you to realize before reading this, is that you (presuming middle school/high school) are probably not living the way you will be in 5, 10, 20 years. This is not because things change, but because YOU change. Also, not everybody does change, and just because a percentage of people don't, has no bearing on your life. Failing in life is as easy as doing nothing. Failing is probably caused by sitting around and expecting to succeed because that is what they were told they were going to do, or doing work just because one "hassss" to. I am not perfect, I still write papers because I "haveee" to, but I realize that unless I really want anything from life, I have to begin to truly want something, and pursue it. Any narrow-minded fool can live life expecting one day they will emerge a butterfly overnight, but that simply is not how it works. Understanding that you can change is the very first step.

I also want you to realize a few things about me which will give some philosophical context: I am only 18 and I am still maturing and discovering new things about life everyday, and what I say should not become somebody's understanding of the world around them. It is not because I think I am wrong, but because I do not know who is reading this, and because everybody is different. I am by no means "right" about anything, these are only truths that apply to myself and my own set of circumstances/limitations/advantages I have had throughout my life. I can only assist in leading you to your own realizations. What I am writing now is an accumulation of my thoughts since I was born, but I cannot give you my life story as an example obviously. As I have aged, I have noticed that indeed there is right and wrong, but more importantly, there exist truths which explain why things are right and wrong. Doing the right thing because it's "good" is fine, doing the right thing because it is easy is fine, but doing nothing because the right thing to do is hard or considered "bad" is a sign of laziness, and it is near impossible to mature mentally and physically if you are lazy. Also, referring to the beginning, if you are lazy, realize that you can change just as easily as you can keep lazy, all it takes is a fundamental understanding of why you are doing what you are doing and a good reason. Realizing what you are, and how you may not be as perfect as you make yourself out to be, is the mentality one must keep in order to better oneself.

When reading anything, you must realize that the person writing I am a human being sitting on a bed in their dorm. I just got back from class, and I live a "normal" life like anybody else with the similar circumstances as I do. For everybody, life is different. It means different things and brings different things (good or bad) to people at different times, but we all operate in the same world whether we like it or not, and that is the TRUTH, so how would live assuming it isn't? For me, one of the first steps to coming to these realizations, is realizing the people are just people. You have heard this many times, but really THINK about it. Your parents are people, just like you. They started in the same place and will finish in the same place, as will you. The only difference between you and your parents is what you decide to do with your life, and what they have done with theirs. You might have kids someday, and envisioning that thought and applying it to the way you think about your parents will help realize the main idea.

Everything you do and think comprises you as a person and only you. The exact same applies to everybody else. If you do things that you do not want to do, you are only hurting yourself because you are not developing a true sence of self. You must respect yourself as if you were another person, and you should respect other people as if they would be you, because the truth is, if you do anything negative to anybody else, other kids probably would think you are cool for being a bigger person that nobody wants to mess with, but fundamentally you did those things so other people would look at you that way. This begs the question, so whats the point in doing them if in the long run, people will forget, and the person who you hu and have yet to realize these things. I read a quote that went something like this: Other people are just you in a different setting, different past, and with different circumstances.

Aging and maturing are two completely different things. I feel that one truly begins to mature once he/she realizes things completely on their own and begin to fundamentally and philosophically change the way they view something. This must happen on your own time, and terms. For example, I have realized over the past years that, indeed, there are things that are right and wrong, but more importantly there are truths and non-truths that ARE the reason why something is right and wrong. Life is an ongoing process, and there is never just a one-time thing (in the fundamental sense). Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is not usually complicated, but very simple. For example "levels" are an individual level and a group level. However, I have also learned that in order to mature, these truths cannot be taught, only discovered. One becomes an adult when they realize these truths for themselves and are not only aware of them, but apply them because it is the only way to live a life true to yourself. The key is realizing the little things in life matter just as much as the whole picture, because they are the big picture.

In order to discover the meaning of this reading for yourself, take the time to think about what I wrote and apply things you may have learned to YOUR life as you do them. In other words, decide for yourself that you wish to mature, and discover these things on your own, you can do it. If anybody can do it, and if you are not matured, then you just need to realize that you have room to grow, and actually pursue that growth. Do things for yourself, because that is all that matters.
Just remember, I am speaking as only a human being that has accumulated 18 years of experience living in our culture and world. Your outlook on life is probably different, but not being afraid to think for myself and see what is true in my life is the best thing that I have done for myself. It can only be appreciated once you actually do it. Which leads me to my final point: what I wrote either will make sense, or it will not. That is the beauty of maturing mentally. Once you are able to make sense of the world around you in the way most true to yourself, you will be able to give yourself a sense of respect, take responsibility for your actions, and grow confident with yourself. AKA "Growing up".


I'm Almost 20 Right Now [So Weird to Think/Say That ><] I Live With My Boyfriends Family Cuz Of My Own Family Issues. I Have Medi-Cal And EBT But No Job, Its Really Hard For Me To Get A New Job After Moving Here. Ive Never Once Considered Myself An Adult Though. My Boyfriend Pays Our Bills. The Only Thing I Technically Help With Is Food. I Wont Consider Myself An Adult Until I Can Get A Steady Job For Once. And Help Support My Boyfriend And Me In Moving Into Our Own Place Instead Of His Parents Place..


well for most of the part i believe that there are no adults...that everyone is not always responsible or mature. but its hard to enforce this belief all the time because there is this age old stereotype called an "adult" that's been sold to us since we were kids by our parents, by our teachers. so i get really confused, because when do you know that your right and your parents or an "adult" figure is wrong? its hard to trust your instincts when the thought that "im still young and my parents know better" has been so deeply ingrained into us.

ON OCTOBER 11, 2011 AT 2:55 PM, ALLY SAID:

I think someone is truly an adult when they can make a mistake, take credit for it and work to fix the mistake you made.

ON MAY 21, 2011 AT 12:03 AM, BAM SAID:

I'm not sure one can pinpoint an exact age where a person is grown up. I feel like growing up is a process and it happens with experience. I turned 17 in March and I think I'm on my way to becoming an adult, but I still have much more to experience and learn. I think a person is grown up when they don't have to ask themselves whether they are grown up or not.


i will know am grown when i see a pay check wid my name on it!!!!!


Well i know wen im an adult wen i can finally stop depending on everybody lyk frends and family. I will have my own whip,money,shelter. but in order for me to have all my needs n wants i must b determined to get a job so i can do everything on my own n this year will be Tish year bcuz i will b 17 march 30

ON JANUARY 21, 2011 AT 11:57 AM, HOPE SAID:

I guess I would in some way have to agree with all of you and yes research does say that girls aren’t fully mature until their early 20’s and guys mid and late 20’s. I believe that either way it is individual, however the brain does give us another level of thinking. It depends what you do in life that will affect the mature growth in your brain. It is sad that some professionals know this and continue to push younger people to a level which they are not at and they (professionals) know this. Study the frontal cortex and amygdala, more less you will understand what I mean. If we damage (any kind of damage not just physical) any part of our brain through choices we make…who knows when you become an adult, maybe 40! Lol.

I believe we become adults when we are man enough or women enough to listen, learn and understand that it is ok if we are wrong, but correct it the next time around. ;~)


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