Pity the Adult, and Pity the Child

adult or child?– you chose!!

How do we define  a child in terms of it’s physical and mental maturity, and it’s suitability or availability for marriage.

Biologically it is relatively simple as childhood is deemed to change once puberty occurs, but then confusion sets in as first, by legal statute we have  the:-

Age of Majority :-

the chronological moment when minors cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over and for them. wikipedia-the Age of Majority

The age of Sexual Consent

the minimum age of a person with whom another person is permitted to engage in certain sexual activities, though it sometimes is defined as the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts.  Wikipedia-the Age of Consent

and the Marriageable age

the age at which a person is allowed by law to marry, either as a right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. wikipedia-the marriageable age

This all sounds very reassuring, as it would seem that we have successfully negotiated an extremely delicate and at times difficult time of our childrens lives, and protected them up until adulthood is ensured. Oh that this were true, but even if we just scratch the surface we see that world wide variations occur

Continent Age of Majority Age of Consent Marriageable age
Africa 16-22 yrs 12-20 yrs 16-22 yrs
Europe Variable-click here 14-18 yrs 16-21 yrs
North America Variable-click here 16-18 yrs 16-18 yrs
South America Variable-click here 14-18 14-18 yrs

Such figures in themselves would cause us  a headache, but outside of poor or third world countries, we often face an even bigger set of problems; and that, ironically, is because we are physically bringing up our “children” to well. As a result an  imbalance is starting to grow, for are we not ever increasingly producing children with adult bodies yet still with the mind of a child? Does this not lead to a problem for both adults and children, as no party really knows how to behave?

This area is dealt with in more depth in the Paradox of Man Chapter 1, but here just one example will do.

Several years ago I was in the company of my friends, and one of the party was a thirteen year old”child”. Her behaviour and overall demenour came under discussion, and, understandably the consensus was that as  a child, she should act as a child, regardless of what her body was telling her.

This would have been fine if she was a “child”, but by anyone standards she had the body of a thoroughly mature woman, and this was  view which she shared, vociferously with all around her. Everybody but me tut-tut-ted, and spoke of the legal statutes that are within the table, but I came to the defence, or at least the partial defence, of the “child” in question.

“How can we treat “X” as a child” I said to the adults? “When, very clearly, she has the body of a woman, and how can she be expected to act as  a child when hormonally and physically there is so much going on?” ”

Then I turned and spoke to the “child”

“As adults we should recognise your physical development, but that gives us a problem. Legally you are a minor, and we, as adults, are duty bound to think of you as such, and to not place any kind of adult burden upon you. You, conversely have a different problem. Nature has given you a tremendous body which is raring to go, yet with that gift comes certain penalties, the major one if which is that you have almost got to stop thinking as a “child”

Sufficient to say that the smile on her face faded about halfway through my words, and very soon we all went our different ways, but it left a whole series of unanswered questions and viewpoints hanging in the air. The problem for all of us that no real answers, under the current legal system could be found. Here was a child with the body of a full grown woman, with a mental maturity somewhere between the two.

The easy solution would have been to hide behind the current legislation, and, for one or two in the party, that was a preferred solution, but not for all of us, as we chose a different road, and tried to empathise as far as possible; yet it was difficult, for we came from a generation where a 13 yr old child was indeed a child. Mercifully, such problems have been resolved, but the underlying  problem of natural law versus “man made” law still remains.

I know why such legal protection has been formulated, and of course children deserve every bit of protection that we can supply, but if we continue to raise our children in the manner in which we are accustomed, then where will our future lie?

I do not have all the answers, so what do you think as fellow bloggers? Can this dilemma be resolved, or will it haunt us until the end of time?


Categories: Growing pains

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Man made laws follow the theory of averages. At 13 or 16 young adults have to break the shell of childhood. We as parents or guardians should help them in transitions.
    Coming to the photograph you posted. She had been clicked at age 16 by a famous American photographer. When he returned to Afghanistan after 10 years the girl had aged by 20 years. Fire in her eyes spent, cheeks sunk in from harsh life, hollows under her eyes telling the story of her woes.
    A heartbreaking photograph.


    • Hi Rashma,

      Man made laws do indeed follow the law of averages. My problem is that, all too often, it is in conflict with natural law, and in an area such as this huge incompatibility and uncertainty occurs.

      I do not know what balance has been achieved in India but in countries like Britain, children of both sexes are maturing and becoming sexuallly active, far younger than the legal age of consent. Parents should most certainly help them with such a transition, but what help should be given; i.e should they assist in the pursuance of natural or man made law?

      They may wish to follow natural law so as to reflect the natural changes within their children, but if they do so, they may risk prosecution if such a choice or course of action is in conflict with man made law.

      As regards the picture, it is a heartbreaking picture, and I couldn’t think of a better one to demonstrate the message within the post


Your views and your comments are invaluable, so I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Let me tell U a story

An article blog for the short story author Chris Wilson, a special project site dedicated to supporting all those affected by depression and other related illnesses, and a site for all those who either love to think differently, or who love the English language

My Wonderland. Mental Health Blog

Finding normality within Bipolarity. The inner musings of a chemically challenged manic-depressive. Mildly* asocial and a purveyor of awesome.

Karen Wilson_ Awaken

Tools for Personal Development

Writing Compulsion

Compulsively creating reality, with a little bit of the unreal.

Jennifer Michelle Jones

Writing things you wouldn't repeat in polite company...

The Elephant in the Room

Writing about my experiences with: depression, anxiety, OCD and Aspergers


through the darkness there is light

Youth Of A Nation:Bent not Broke

Not all wounds are visible

Myshelle Congeries

I Bleed Words Sometimes

Be Good or Be Good At It!

Real Life...only Funnier!

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

A place to explore new ideas in Learning



HorrorPublishing.com - Horror Press Publishing

Chris Mentillo Official Social Media Site

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

Vampire Maman

Musings of a Modern Vampire Mom

K.S.@ksfinblog: Global Analyst

Scientist - Open invitation to people from charities and Not for profit corporations

Coffee. Write. Repeat.

Writing my way through life, one word at a time.

Heather SinnerElla Hoe

Voice of Health and Body Image

I'm Good: A Blog Campaign for Mental Health Recovery

I've struggled. I'm growing. I'm good.

%d bloggers like this: