Age Of Responsibility And Maturity

Categories: Responsibility


The phrase “responsibility for one’s life” is often closely associated with the term “adult”. Depending on who you ask, the term adult may have quite a several definitions. In biology, an adult is basically a being that is fully grown or developed and which has reached sexual maturity. In the real world, however, the term adult is defined from a social and legal point; which is someone who has attained the age of majority – usually 18 but may vary depending on country.

Adults are thus regarded by the law as independent, self-reliant, and someone who understand that he is already at the age of responsibility. Lots of essays have already explored this topic, however in this one, I will have a try to briefly express my viewpoint about the age of responsibility.

Age of Responsibility: Change in the Human Cycle

People are always developing and changing throughout their life cycle and these changes come with different responsivities. Typically, a human life cycle consists of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

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But legally, people are classified as either children or adults. A child is a minor or someone below the age of majority. In the modern era, children are raised by parents or guardians, and these individuals are usually held responsible for the welfare and actions of these children. This move helps to ensure the children have basic requirements such as food, shelter, clothing, and even education, and a lack thereof might result in the parent or guardian facing dire legal consequences.

The Changes to Age of Responsibility Laws

Children have always been deemed as blameless for crimes since they are classified as unable to make serious decisions.

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Consequently, they must be under the care of a responsible adult up until they attain the age of majority. However, this hasn’t always been the case. In the early days, children as young as seven were deemed responsible for their actions and could therefore face criminal charges. This notion was as preposterous as it was outdated since a seven-year-old child can’t even be entrusted to provide for himself. To date, countries like the U.S and Canada hold children older than twelve responsible for their actions.

Free Will and Responsibility in the Society

Upon reaching the age of consent, a person is considered responsible for their society-bound actions such as voting, marriage, employment, paying of taxes, etc. This is because an adult is considered as someone who can think and make decisions for themselves without being influenced by anyone. A normal human adult is the kind of creature that can be held responsible for its actions due to the metaphysical and psychological attributes of conventional adults, such as free will. This free will is what makes them be held responsible for their actions as they also ought to know that choices have consequences. As a result, the society hopes that adults can act based on reason.


In conclusion, taking responsibility for one’s life requires maturity. Maturity dictates that one knows when, where, and how to act, according to the situation that one is in. You could never put an exact age on maturity because humans, as diverse as they are, also mature at different rates. You could find a thirteen-year-old that acts and behaves like an adult, yet there could be another twenty-three-year-old that acts as a complete child. Nonetheless, due to legal requirements and the need to maintain order, the age of eighteen has been widely adopted as the legal age of consent.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Age Of Responsibility And Maturity. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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