The Water Cooler – 18-Year-Old Adults

February 26, 2014 12:00 pm · 59 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

This is a question for everybody over 25. Even though the law says you’re an adult at the age of 18, do you really feel like you were mature enough to make adult decisions when you were 18?

Talk about it….

1 Anon777 February 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Yes. At 18, I was renting my own place, working full time and being a single mother to a 2 year old.

2 Incognito February 26, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Depends on what “adult decision” you’re talking about.

I moved away from home at 18, had my own apartment, full-time job, and was very capable of taking care of myself. At 23, I bought a one-way ticket and left New England for the San Francisco Bay Area. When I look back, overall, I was pretty mature for my age.

I have friends who have kids who are in their mid 20’s, are not in college, don’t have jobs, don’t drive, and sit around the house sponging off mom and dad – I guess if they consider that making an “adult decision” about something, they’re doing a great job.

3 EAST BAY VELO WORKS February 26, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I have a hard time being mature at 42. Haha!

4 The Closer February 26, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Depends on the individual. Go to youtube and see what eighteen year olds are capable of.

5 JW February 26, 2014 at 12:14 PM

No, I actually didn’t really come up with any goals until I was about 23 or 24. I thought about the military but I have always been really rebellious. I tried college early on but I felt everyone was against me. See where I am going with this? Eventually I realized that I wanted something out of life and began working towards it. I am still doing that in my 40’s. I will say that when I was 18, I thought that I knew everything but that kind of arrogant thinking created many problems which had ramifications until I left the place that I lived.

6 zaacky February 26, 2014 at 12:16 PM

If your talking about the kids today the answer is no most of them live at home and want it all given to them they don’t want to work for it.

7 Connie Dobbs February 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Depends on the individual. Go to Camp Lejuene and see what eighteen year olds are capable of.

8 The Grant February 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I was in the Marine Corps at age 18 and quite capable at making “mature” decisions

9 What security February 26, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Sure we are able to hold a job and rent a plac,,, but it boils down to the frontal lobe… When you are 18 you know Jack….

10 anon February 26, 2014 at 12:25 PM

No, I was more mature at 21 years.

11 NoNotReally February 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

No not really. I didn’t have my act together (acting mature, working full-time, saving to buy my own condo, and having confidence) until I was about 23 and then I didn’t have my act totally together (knowing what I wanted, working towards goals, having greater confidence in myself and decisions) until I was about 26. Still, 18 is old enough to be held accountable for making one’s own decisions. 18 isn’t that young. People at a young age can know what is right fron what is wrong and should be held responsible for one’s actions. I know many 16 and 17 year olds that are in JC’s and will have both their high school diplomas and AA degrees in a year or two. Then, they will enter 4-year colleges. These people set goals for themselves and are responsible and make good life choices for themselves. If parenting is not done right, a person will never grow inside and will fail. I know of too many in their mid to late 20’s and 30’s who are still not financially independent from their parents, still live at home, still rely on mom and dad for cash, etc. It’s just not good. We are the only speciies who many times do not rpepare our young to live independent from us. It is a very dangerous and horrible thing to do. Very unfair to our children.

12 Cowellian February 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

In my never humble opinion, generally, 18-year-olds are not as mature as 25-year-olds. But yeah, they’re old enough to make their own grown-up decisions, including signing contracts, voting, elective surgery, body modifications, marriage, smoking, and yes, even drinking.

13 Well February 26, 2014 at 12:30 PM

No. And a person is thought to be too immature at 18 to responsibly decide to drink alcohol, yet is treated exactly as an adult in all other way almost. You cannot have it both ways. Adult should either be 18 or 21, drink, whatever, all the responsibilities and accountability as any other adult. Period. You can fire a 50 cal machine gun at 18. 19. 20 years old. Drive a TANK! Yet you cannot buy a beer? Give me a break.

14 ladybug February 26, 2014 at 12:35 PM

I know I was. I had no choice. Been working full time since I was 16. I put myself through school. Saved up money and bought my first home when I was 22. I have no sympathy for people who say the word “can’t” or those who look for free handouts. If you want something enough you will work hard to get it.

15 KAD February 26, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Yes, I was certainly mature at 18. I think women are more mature than men at that age. I moved from Nashville to SF, easily got a job due to a good high school education. That was the best decision I ever made.

16 Silva February 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

We were old enough at 18 to go die horribly & be maimed in Viet Nam, so they lowered the voting age to 18, so we could at least have some say in it. Admitedly, I made stupid life changing decisions at age 18. And 32. And 46.

17 Anon777 February 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM

zaacky: “If your talking about the kids today the answer is no most of them live at home……”

I see this as due to the economy, not that they are immature. We still have our 20 year old at home (going to college and working PT); and my 25 year old just moved back home from another state due to no real work opportunities there. He already had a job lined up here before moving back, but it will still take him a bit to save some money and get back out on his own. Only my 30 year old is self sufficient at this point but she also has a husband to share expenses with. I don’t know how the kids today can afford to be out on their own like I was at 18. I personally couldn’t afford to live where I do now, at my age, without a partner to help share expenses.

18 just a concordian February 26, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Lovely question!

At 18 I was pretty stupid. At 25 I was even more stupid. Now, at 37 I find myself extremely stupid. I find myself making the same stupid mistakes I have made in the past. I have had a wide array of experiences in my life, but few of them yielding any sort of a valuable lesson. The rest, just fillers for a normal guy with a normal life.

19 It depends on the individual February 26, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I have long believed that a 2 year stint, far away from home, in military training would do a lot for most 18 year olds. Get them away from Mommy and Daddy, kick the “grow up” start button.

20 Michelle February 26, 2014 at 12:49 PM

It really depends on the individual. I was very mature at eighteen, but now-a-days, eighteen is not very mature.

21 Ted K., SuperMax February 26, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Yes, and I was supervising a crew of 15 USN avionics technicians at the age of 20.

22 nnnooooo February 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Back in my day, 18 year olds were mature enough to hold jobs, support themselves and make responsible decisions. MOST of today’s 18 year olds have such a sense of entitlement, are spoiled rotten and have no drive to achieve that I doubt they’ll ever be “mature”. Notice I said “most”, not all. There are some who are focused and responsible, they just happen to be in the minority.

23 NutCreek Frontier February 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM

At 18, I was too naive to even know what I didn’t know…and I was a very responsible 18 year old, working to put myself through Cal. At 18, I thought rent control, socialism and drinking a lot at parties was the answer.

24 Hump Day February 26, 2014 at 12:52 PM

It depends on the person. I was very mature for my age. Went away to college at 18, married at 22, bought our first home at 24 (on our own), etc.

But “adult decisions?’ NO!

Regardless of maturity, intellect, proper upbringing, etc…’re still an 18 year old KID!

At that age, you think you think you know more than your parents!

I think you have to reach a certain age until you’ve really “experienced life”, and I believe it’s around 40.

40 is the finer side of life is not just a saying. It’s true!

25 Dorothy February 26, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I might have been a mature 18 but looking back I don’t think I was really a full fledged adult until about 25. Being a legal adult is not quite the same as being an actual adult. (Some of us are slow learners…)

26 Blink February 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Everyone needs to be held accountable for there choices…
Think first , act second
Regardless of age
Actions = consequences

27 ClayDen February 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

It depends on the person, and I’m not sure it is any different now than when I was 18. I was making mostly mature adult decisions at 18, but they improved as I got older. Some people never grow up and accept adult responsibilities. When I was 18 I was working about half time and carrying a full load at a community college and living at home; five years later, I was married and we were both working about 25-30 hours per week and full time university students living on our own. My decisions got even better when I got married.

28 dilligafman February 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

at 62 i still feel 18, i’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer!!!

29 Mr. Pink February 26, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Obviously some 18-yr olds are more mature than others. But I think the should up the age of adulthood to at least 21. Why can you vote or go to war at 18 but not have a legal drink till you’re 21? Doesn’t make sense. Just up the age of adulthood to 21.

30 skrab February 26, 2014 at 1:26 PM

At 18 I could make adult decisions about some things. It was easy to show up to work on time, pay bills, etc. On the other hand, I think that my priorities when I was 18 were very immature, and I was not mature enough to be in a stable romantic relationship.

31 warbirds45 February 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The word is called ” Respect “! Some young adults are mature enough to make decisions. I like the phrase….. “The young people have a since a entitlement”, as if they do not have to work, or do anything that would disrupt their world.
What you put into life, or your family, is what you get in return.
A 1st grade teacher said yesterday, that she had great expectations to form the kids into great human beings and to tackle the world. Unfortunately the parents have other ideas.

32 anonanonagain February 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I was mature for an 18 year old in certain ways. I was a responsible young adult, didn’t drink yet, held a job and went to college. However, I feel I wasn’t mature enough to recognize that certain people aren’t always honest or have your best interests in mind. Getting out there in the big world and living a life wises you up to this fact real fast… There is no other way to gain this knowledge but to learn from experience…..

33 Clayton Pete February 26, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Yes and no. At 18 I was living on my own with no safety net, working 2 jobs and putting myself thru school as best I could. I still made dumb decisions and had some questionable habits, but I was capable of earning a living and had lots of friends.
That said, I was still very immature and quite stupid in a lot of ways until I hit my late 20’s or thereabouts.

34 I'm The Urban Spaceman February 26, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Like most 18 yr olds, I knew everything and was smarter than the next guy or gal…unfortunately, the earth kept spinning, time marches forward and I am reminded daily of how much more I know about life after an additional 35 years, and how little I knew back then.

35 funny man February 26, 2014 at 1:47 PM

as they say, youth is wasted on the young
im somewhere between the question demographic and the old foogies that populate claycord.. and i’d say 21 is about when i had a handle o my life. putzed around a few years at dead end jobs, bought a condo and went to college at 23 without my parenst help. at 18, lots of nope going on then, ran with the wrong crowd, smoked dope and partied alot :) when your 18 you think you own the world and know everything

36 Miss Ranchogirl February 26, 2014 at 1:47 PM

it does depend on the individual, but overall I would say; no
Besides if they are not mature enough to drink alcohol until they are 21, why would we think they are mature enough for other adult decions?

37 Matt February 26, 2014 at 1:58 PM

The average 18 year old male is smoking weed, drinking, looking for every opportunity to get laid, driving way too fast. Including the good kids. Need I say more?

Sure, you can go off to college, join the military, have a full time job.

You can get married and have kids at that age, which is beyond stupid. Adults playing house and kids having kids is ridiculous.

So, to the answer the question, HELL NO!

38 Always Right February 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM

The voting, drinking, contracting, age of consent, marriage, etc. age should be standardized at age 20.

39 anon February 26, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Who was watching your 2 year old when you worked full time?

40 Elwood February 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Hoo har!

41 RunDogRun February 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Yes. I was a very mature child handling
family responsibilities for my father while
he was deployed to the Korean conflict. I
started school at four and I began working
at 17. Unfortunately, I missed most of the
important and fun things in life, so now
I say “Screw it.” I do whatever the hell I
want and if somebody doesn’t like it I really
don’t give a tiny rat’s ass.

42 Anon2you February 26, 2014 at 3:05 PM

This is a yes and no topic. I agree with several previous posts that indicated that 18 is definitely ADULT in a lot of ways (i.e. Military Service, getting married, having and raising children) and I personally was held accountable at 18 as an adult and even younger with my family situation. Now, when I think back on it I realized now how unprepared I was at 18, and in fact really hit true maturity at 21 thru 23 years of age. Also, I agree that it is not right that society views 18 as a Legal Age of consent, for sex, marriage, military service, taxes etc., yet the legal drinking age is 21. All in all, I would push to shift “adult status” to 21, which is probably more realistic in general terms…

43 Guap February 26, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Ask any Soldier, Sailor or Marine — Coast Guard, eh….

44 L February 26, 2014 at 3:40 PM

A few may be, most are not!!
Just because you have a full time job, doesn’t mean you are mature enough to make a resposible decision (money issues would be my first thought)

45 Of course! February 26, 2014 at 4:52 PM

The NRA says the are. They went to court to challenge a Texas law that says those 21 and over can get a license to carry a concealed weapon. The NRA argued that 18 – 20 year olds should be able to carry concealed weapons, too. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Just imagine how much more polite teachers would be to students if they knew those students might be packin’ some heat. Imagine those lunchtime fight in the quad… with guns! I bet Johnny would think twice about asking Tommy’s girl to the prom if he knew Tommy had that gun in his backpack.

46 Sabrina February 26, 2014 at 5:05 PM

To answer the question, no. Some are more mature than others, but at 18 you’re still a kid.

I’ve always wondered the 18-21 dilemma, when 21 is a “true adult.”

I can’t help but wonder if it’s “military related.” Send them off to war at 18. The younger you are, the easier you are to control.

The military definitely wants 18 year olds.

47 RANDOM TASK February 26, 2014 at 5:11 PM

this is demifornia …no one is held responsible for their actions …they get it signed off …and stuffed away

48 Atticus Thraxx February 26, 2014 at 5:19 PM

“I bet Johnny would think twice about asking Tommy’s girl to the prom if he knew Tommy had that gun in his backpack.”
Maybe Timmy’s girl is packing too and she doesn’t want to be with either of them.

49 DanMtz February 26, 2014 at 5:34 PM

In some ways yes, in others no. At 18 I was in college spending most of my waking hours on school work and being a part of the community in the dorm. Being able to manage all of that was a sign of maturity. It was a sheltered existence, though. Didn’t have to worry about bills or making meals, etc.

50 Gus February 26, 2014 at 5:36 PM


Old enough to die in Afghanistan serving this country but not old enough to have the rights of a citizen, how liberal of you.

None of your ancestors have ever served in the military have they. Parasite, not an insult, a statement of fact.

51 Vicky February 26, 2014 at 5:36 PM

The same way no one wants to be with you.

52 mwo1859 February 26, 2014 at 5:43 PM

At the age of 20 I was running my own car club (After Hours), working 2 jobs (Car Quest, Emporium Capwells) and bought my first house on Crawford Street.

53 Still anon February 26, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Are you kidding me? Oh my gosh, no where near being an adult!!!

54 glen February 26, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Some of the young adults who work around me ask questions about things they have never done before. Decisions they are not sure about or have never had to do. As an older adult I give them my 2 cents and explain why. They look to us (older people) to provide this mentoring. It’s their lives and their decisions though. So I would say yes, most 18yo are adults and can make their own decisions (with perhaps a bit of help on the tougher ones).

It’s interesting that most younger folks have a different perspective on values than most of my generation had at a young age. Among other things, they seem to be genuinely concerned for the welfare of people in other countries they have never been to and to people they have never met. They are sensitive to the plights that exist in other places. The younger people today see how things affect the world rather than their country, and make decisions based on that. Maybe the computer age has made ‘earth’ a single country in their view.

55 Smokey February 26, 2014 at 9:35 PM

18 year olds don’t know a darn thing. They just think they do.

Of course 18 year olds aren’t capable of mature decisions. Some people mature faster than others, and women mature faster than men.

18 year old kids are STILL TEENAGERS! And anybody who doesn’t admit it is in denial of how they acted at that age, or in denial of the activity of their own children.

If it was up to me it would legality would be 21 for everything. But it isn’t. So be it.

56 caskydiver February 26, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Absolutely….at 18 I knew exactly what I was doing and the ramifications of my actions. I feel as a society we are trusting our younger people less and less over time. I really believe that the more responsibility you give younger people, they will rise to the challenge and surprise you. It is when you show you don’t trust them that you don’t get their trust in return. Heck, I recall getting my first rifle at the ripe old age of 8 or 9 yrs old (3rd grade). While I was supervised the first year or so, once my parents saw I was handling myself responsibly, I was able to walk the woods w/ my gun alone. Making younger folks responsible at an early age is a good thing…whether it is doing chores around the house, being allowed to be home alone, getting a job, etc. etc. At 18, you should have already been trusted with much so that you are able to function alone in society and act as a responsible adult. Doing so takes practice starting at a young age. “Helicopter parents” are not doing anyone (especially their kids) a favor by shielding their kids from responsibility and not making their kids suffer the consequences of their actions starting at an early age.

57 Dr. Jellyfinger® February 27, 2014 at 12:10 AM

I’m still not capable of making adult decisions. Thank goodness for my Magic 8 Ball. I ask it everything & let it make the decisions. So far so good, but if something does go terribly wrong, I have plausible deniability.

58 personally February 27, 2014 at 6:56 AM

I bet all of you saying that 18 is not an adult, would change their mind when they are forced to be legally and financially responsible for someone until they are 21.

If you didn’t start feeling like an adult until 23, it’s because you had a few years to learn. If you make being an adult at 21, then most won’t feel mature until 25. What’s next? Saying you were not mature enough until 25 so that should be the age of consent?

59 The Mamba February 27, 2014 at 7:46 AM

As I’ve said before, I’m lucky I survived my 20s. At 18 you are legally an adult, but nowhere near being an adult.

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