Comparative Essay between Childhood and Adulthood

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  872 Words
Date:  2022-03-15


Childhood and adulthood are very critical moments in everybody's life and they are associated with different episodes, most of which are based on the level of thinking that one has. It is easy to confuse childhood with infancy, but the difference is that infancy is when the child is one year old and childhood starts at age two when the child is known as a toddler. Adulthood is when people grow up although they may still be developing in several ways. In most cases, a person at the age of 18 years is considered a young adult, and one is assumed to be mature enough to make their own decisions. At a younger age, or in childhood, people rely on the adults around them to make decisions and to survive. There are several differences between the two stages of life and these include the legal responsibilities that one can have when they are in childhood and in adulthood. The analysis is based on the thesis that childhood is highly different from adulthood.

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Independence and Responsibilities

Independence is and responsibilities are some of the main differences between childhood and adulthood. In childhood, one has to obey all rules set up by the schools, parents, and other adults around them. For example, children eat what their parents choose for them and they are not allowed to make those choices. If allowed, they are likely to feed on unhealthy, sugary food as opposed to nutritious foods and fruits. In adulthood, the situation is different and one can choose what to do, eat, or where to be. The other one is responsibilities, whereby children have fewer responsibilities and their moral and financial responsibilities are on their parents. In adulthood, one has to make decisions that are viable and one has the responsibility to manage their finances and they have to follow the expected norms and moral responsibilities (Padilla-Walker, 2015). They are also liable for any moral irresponsibility they may do because they have the knowledge and freedom to choose.

Knowledge and Freedom

The level of knowledge and freedom is different in adulthood and childhood. The knowledge acquired during the lifetime is retained in the life of the person as an adult. The things that people go through in their lives, including working in different working environments and interacting with different people increase their knowledge. In childhood, one does not have a chance to mingle with many people, and their life is usually restricted to school and similar learning opportunities. The freedom that children have is much lower as compared to adults. For example, if one wants to go out shopping or to go for a walk with friends, they can just go, as opposed to children who have to ask for permission from their parents. From this freedom and knowledge, the two get the differences in memories and innocence.

Memories and Innocence

The memories held in the minds of people in childhood and adulthood are different, so are their innocence. Adults have many memories related to the experiences they have had in their past life. Many of those memories are from the places they have visited, the work they have done in the past, and the number of people they have met. In childhood, people do not have chances to travel effectively, they also have little to remember. The level of innocence is also different in the two ages. Children are believed to be innocent and shielded from the challenges in life. In adulthood, one has to face these challenges head-on and this makes the difference between the two ages. The struggles in life, the memories they get, the exposure in life, and other factors create the identity and skills that people have.

Identity and Skills

The identity and skills of a person are formed over time and it is based on what people believe in and what they have already done. Moral development is part of early adulthood and it starts in childhood (Lapsley & Hardy, 2017). Children are identified with their parents and their identity is only recognizable when they start making their own choices later in life. Their skills also develop with time and this is mostly a result of the things they do in their life. For example, after schooling, people attain skills based on the courses they undertake and the work they do. The exposure that people have in their early life determines the skills they get and the people they become.


Childhood is highly different from adulthood and this is because of the factors analyzed above. The independence and responsibilities that people have at different ages are different and so are the knowledge and freedom they attain. People also have different memories and innocence depending on the things they do. They also develop different skills and identities which makes it possible to become what one wants in the future. The comparison between the two ages shows what growing up means in life and the diversity associated with it.


Lapsley, D., & Hardy, S. A. (2017). Identity formation and moral development in emerging adulthood. Flourishing in Emerging Adulthood: Positive Development during the Third Decade of Life, 14-39.

Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2015). Moral development during emerging adulthood. The Oxford handbook of emerging adulthood, 449-463.

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