Stretching the border of childhood and adulthood is necessary

Article in Jeugdbeleid by Peter Greeven and Philip Veerman

Published: 07 June 2016


The definition of a child as ‘a human being untill 18 years of age’ has been overtaken by new knowledge as a result of brain research, new insights from developmental psychology and societal circumstances. Philip Veerman and Peter Greeven (in their article ‘stretching the border of childhood and adulthood is necessary’ in the Dutch magazine Jeugdbeleid: Youth Policy ) plea to extend the notion of what a child is till 24 years of age. They base this proposal on a lot of scientific research. That children (want to) show adult-like behaviour earlier but also want stay longer in childhood forces society to change the rules. This has led the authors to embrace the idea of emerging adulthood of Arnett. Young people are no longer a small version of adults. The borders of ‘youthland’(about which Lea Dasberg wrote about in the Netherlands 40 years ago) are stretched. And youth care and child protection agencies can’t stay behind, is the opinion of the authors.

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