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Question
Posted by: tuscan | 2011/09/26

what is the definition of adult independence

Hi CS,

Please give me a defnition to help me understand what it means to have adult independence?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I don't think the adults of the world have ever gathered to agree on such a definition ! Is this a legal term you have heard of ( in which case you'd need to ask a lawyer ) ? If you mean just what do people mean when they talk about a person becoming an independent adult, then I can have a go. There is an age recognized in law when someone becomes legally an adult, and able, for instance, to sign contracts and so on, on their own. At different times and in different countries it has been 21, 18, and even 16. There are different ages at which the law considers you criminally responsible for breaking the law, too.
But apart from the law, socially we expect someone to start acting like an adult and taking responsibility for their decisions in life, at around the same time. There's a balance between the privileges ( freedom to make your own decisions without someone else being entitled to interfere ) and the responsibilities ( the need to make good and wise decisions, thinking through the possible consequences of our decisions and actions ) and accepting responsibility for what we choose to do

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2011/09/26

To me you''re an independent adult when you can look after your own physical, emotional and financial needs. But the definition would vary according to the circumstances. It reminds me of a story I read about a social worker who was teaching a somewhat mentally disabled person the skills necessary for living by himself - things like shopping, cooking and cleaning. He asked her if she had ever lived by herself and she replied no, when she got married she moved from her parents'' house into a new home with her husband. His comment was " So you never made it to independent living!" 

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/09/26

I don't think the adults of the world have ever gathered to agree on such a definition ! Is this a legal term you have heard of ( in which case you'd need to ask a lawyer ) ? If you mean just what do people mean when they talk about a person becoming an independent adult, then I can have a go. There is an age recognized in law when someone becomes legally an adult, and able, for instance, to sign contracts and so on, on their own. At different times and in different countries it has been 21, 18, and even 16. There are different ages at which the law considers you criminally responsible for breaking the law, too.
But apart from the law, socially we expect someone to start acting like an adult and taking responsibility for their decisions in life, at around the same time. There's a balance between the privileges ( freedom to make your own decisions without someone else being entitled to interfere ) and the responsibilities ( the need to make good and wise decisions, thinking through the possible consequences of our decisions and actions ) and accepting responsibility for what we choose to do

Reply to cybershrink

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