Compare and Contrast Childhood and Adulthood Essay

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Children and adults sometimes seem like different species. Biologically, children change continually, their brains and bodies rapidly growing and developing. Those biological changes are accompanied by important changes to the mind and emotional nature, with each person exhibiting a different personality, attitude, and outlook on life. Environmental factors including wealth and social status, culture and ethnicity also play a role in how the child develops a self-concept and interacts with others. By the time children become adults, they are much different beings than they were even a decade ago. Adults change too, but not nearly as dramatically as the transitions between childhood and adulthood. The main differences between childhood and adulthood are biological, psychological, and social.

Biologically speaking, children are growing. Their bodies are resilient, especially when compared with adults. If an adult suffers an injury, especially an elder, the results can be devastating. At the same time, a young child has an underdeveloped immune system that cannot yet withstand some of the environmental stressors that could trigger an illness. Some of the biological differences between childhood and adulthood are superficial. For example, although some individuals retain their same smile, skin, and hair throughout their lives, many people do not even recognize themselves in old pictures. Physically speaking, children cannot wait to be adults, but adults often wish they were still children.

The psychology of childhood is completely different from the psychology of adulthood.

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Children can live in a fantasy world and get away with it, whereas an adult who escapes in a fantasy world would be considered mentally ill. Children dream big and have no sense of limitations; they believe they are invincible and capable of anything. By the time they are adults, people become discouraged by rejections, failures, and the pressures of daily life. Burdened with personal responsibilities, the newly minted adult loses the sense of joy, wonder, and possibility that accompanies most childhoods. Children might feel restricted by the rules and boundaries their parents establish, but when they are adults, they realize that those rules and boundaries exist for reasons like personal safety or common courtesy. Although both children and adults are capable of learning, growth, and psychological development, children are generally more malleable and able to change. Adults can become stuck in their ways.

Another main difference between childhood and adulthood is how the person is perceived. Children are treated differently than adults, viewed as dependents, and given a great degree of leeway. When a child makes a mistake, they are punished but they are given a second chance. Adults must take full responsibility for their actions. In fact, the social status differences between children are adults become evident in formal institutions like the criminal justice system. There are two justice systems, one for children and one for….....

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