Recently, child psychologists in the United Kingdom received a new recommendation: that their treatment population should not be birth to eighteen, but rather birth to twenty-five.
The reason behind this change is our advancing knowledge of human brain development. Our brains, including functions involving self-regulation, decision-making, and risk-taking, do not develop into a “fully adult” brain until age 25 or later.
This has brought a storm of criticism. Some question the effect of the new guidelines on young adults, and whether it will prolong adolescence beyond where it is. Some think we are coddling young people who have been considered adults for most of history.
As anyone who works in the field of adolescent health knows, this research and these recommendations are not new, and our health system has been slowly incorporating these ideas into health care.