My daughter Kate aka “The Gator” turned 9 just before Christmas.  She is an interesting mix of age appropriate behavior  plus some advanced thinking/creativity and vocabulary skills.  But make no mistake, she’s a kid.  The next phase of her life would normally be considered as adolescence --widely assumed to start in those early teenage years and end around 18 but there’s some new scientific thought on that time frame.

Scientists are now saying it lasts longer-far longer.  Australian researchers say the definition of adolescence should be expanded to include people ages ten to 24.

Scientists explain that while many adult legal privileges and responsibilities start at age 18 , the actual adoption of many adult roles and behaviors really occurs later.

Researchers believe society needs an accurate accounting of the time frame for the developments that take place during adolescence so we can properly frame laws, social policies, and service systems.

The reason for the expansion at both ends of the age scale?  We now have plenty of evidence that the brain keeps maturing past the age of 20, and with modern nutrition and health practices adolescence actually starts earlier around age 10.  (Daily Mail)