Once upon a time, it was normal for young people to achieve adult things like settling down, getting married, and having kids from the age of 18.These days? Turns out we’re in need of a little more time.

As pointed out by a recent BBC News article, new guidance for psychologists will have them treating people as adolescents up until the age of 25, rather than 18. This is as a result of scientific research which shows that brain development continues into our twenties, instead of dwindling out a couple years shy of 20.

According to the article, researchers use this information to explain why young people these days are living longer in their parents’ homes and living a kind of “passive dependence” when they could be asserting their independence. They think that these generational characteristics reflect neuroscience, rather than cultural shifts.

This is where I, and Professor Furedi (the sociologist interviewed in the article), beg to differ. He feels that since we are more overprotective of our kids, their adolescence is extending into their twenties, making them more immature and less self-assured about making a life for themselves.

Agreed! Many kids these days are given everything on a silver platter – from education to the latest gadgets, clothes and so on – without being taught the character values that could balance that privilege out. They may be able to navigate the latest software, but do they even make their own beds in the mornings? Those are the types of things that are going to get you through life!

So what’s to be done? A bit more of demanding of kids (nothing massive, just the basics) and lots less mollycoddling! As mentioned in the article: “The solution … is not sending them out of the home, it’s making them do their own washing, pay their own way, pay towards the rent, pay towards the bills, to take responsibility for cleaning up their bedroom and not waiting on them hand and foot…”

What do you think? One – are young people taking longer to mature? And two – if so, is this because of parents and culture babying them for longer?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.