Childhood vs. Adulthood - Aging and Adulthood – Essay Example

Childhood vs. Adulthood

Little girls dream of marrying their daddies and boys dream of being president of the United States or some other larger than life character; but as they grow older they realize how different life is from what they imagined when they were six. As children develop through their adolescence many of the dreams hold true due to their ideas of right, wrong or what they want in life; but for some, their dreams may be modified, altered or crashed due to events in their lives, or the friends they begin to identify with. In looking at the similarities and differences between children and adults, the most intriguing ones are their outlook on life, the attention to self appearance or vanity, and marriage. A child’s view on life is simple; and they always seem to see the best in every situation.

Theirs is a world where the good guys always win, where crime doesn’t exist and bad things don’t really happen. They see something and imagine what it is, or could be, and in a good light. Children never look for the worst in people, and always give people a fair chance. In contrast as adults we see things in a different light. It seems like the older we get the more cautious and skeptical we become. We know we can’t be whatever we want to, and everything won’t be handed to us. Ideally we would like to hold onto this simple outlook on life but as life begins to beat individuals up the view on the world begins to alter. Children don’t care about their looks typically, or what kind of car they think they will drive; or, maybe they will want one just like mommies or daddies.

Typically they don’t care which boy or girl likes them. In school they don’t always worry about their grades or the homework they have that night. Children may ponder the type of job they may have someday; but there is no real concern about work and usually avoid helping mommy around the house by doing a little work at home. The only time children worry about money is usually when they want to buy something, and not what tax bracket they will be in when they are older. Adults are the exact opposite; they worry entirely too much on who is interested in them and who is not. The cars they buy they see as an extension of who they are, or how they see themselves. Although, they don’t go to school they’re still being judged and critiqued at their place of employment.

Adults have to take care of themselves. They worry more about their job to make sure they can afford the lifestyle they want. As mentioned in the introduction, girls want to marry their daddy. They want to marry the idea of someone as kind, soft, and patient as their daddy. They will search and wait for their whole life to find the perfect husband. They won’t “settle”. Boys and girls also have an idea of how they want their marriage based on off of the game of house they finished playing moments before. As the girls get older and begin to date, the dream may be altered due to hurt, disappointment, or rejection.

They begin to think being with anyone may be better than being alone; and the dream begins to fade. It could also be they realize they aren’t little girls anymore with all the time to find the perfect husband and they panic and settle. Men just get married so they can pass down their name. Every child has an idea or a dream of how his or her life is going to turn out; and their lives are innocent and idealistic. As we saw above our view of life is simple and more black and white, but as we grow older we become more jaded. Their view on life from childhood will turn them into one where they are critical, skeptical or untrusting as a child.

It was also shown as children who don’t seem to care if their clothes match or if their breath stinks will turn into self absorbed adolescents consumed with how they look or social standing. Finally, we read how the princess fairy tale weddings children dream of and their desire to marry their parent even if they don’t like them fades as we get older. The hurts of life and relationships alter the perception of what they will have in life; and those damaged dreams may even have them settle in marriages that never would have happened as children.

Childhood Vs Adulthood

There are those that compare the difference between children and adults; they start to realize what an amazing progression occurs over the years. Children are born knowing only how to cry to express his or her feelings. As an adult, they are to know the difference in a baby’s cry; is he or she crying for hunger? Are they crying to have a diaper changed? Are they crying because of a tummy ache? The questions could go on and on about why. It is a mother’s natural instinct to know what the baby may need. As babies grow into their toddler years, their little brains are like sponges; they absorb everything around their environment. That is how they learn to talk, walk, eat, and make choices of many likes and dislikes. Responsible adults help these babies learn about life; it is the baby steps that take us through life to help us reach our adult dreams.

There are many learning experiences for adults and children along the growing path. By the time one reaches adult age, they should know what is right and what is wrong; for example, not to touch a hot stove or eat a poisonous plant. A crawling baby or toddler may not know those kinds of things, where as an adult should. A toddler does not know how to go to the bathroom alone; this is why diapers were invented to help catch their waste. As adults grow older in their much later years of life, they may develop some kind of disease such as Alzheimer’s. This can throw them back into their childhood, and they may forget how to go to the bathroom, or when it is time to eat. Most responsible adults know how to manage their lives. They have learned how to read, get a job, manage their finances, and follow directions. A child has many life lessons to learn along the way, such as taking their first steps. Young adults get a good education to ensure a secure future in the work place, making sound decisions for themselves and later their families. It is like the circle of life. Babies are born, children grow, youth develop knowledge, and everyone learns something’s along the way.

Childhood and adulthood are like totally different worlds, looking back on our own childhood; people start to realize how and why one becomes the person with a certain amount of knowledge. If lucky, one may have good and responsible parents that teach them how to develop positive life skills. If children do not have strong leadership or guidance from parents or other responsible adults, they may be out in the world floundering trying to figure out who they are. Also, some may never figure out what they need to be doing with their lives in order to become successful. Some may not know how to survive in a normal environment.

It is extremely important to teach our children to become mature and responsible. Has anyone ever been to a family or company function and seen the difference in how someone may handle a conversation or a certain incident? An example is an uncle at a family reunion being immature about a discussion on cars. He was bluntly upset that another adult would not agree with him on the subject. Thinking back about that experience, a discussion was prompted about his behavior. It was told that he had always had issues accepting that he was not always right about everything.

His parents had rarely disciplined him as a child and never taught him that it is okay to be wrong on some subjects. Apparently, his parents had agreed with him on many occasions and he felt that the rest of the world would do the same. Adults would expect a child to be upset over a similar situation but never another adult. Learning to accept the good with the bad in the world is a good trait to have. Society must learn that every day is not the same, and all people will experience some unpleasant days just as many pleasant. The sooner in life this trait is learned the better. As one has always said, “Every day is not a bed of Roses” ,society has to take the good with the bad and learn to turn a negative situation into a positive if possible.

As society continues to grow and learn, some may realize the world is a big dictionary. If looking around and exploring all avenues, people can learn a lot from each other. While thinking about writing this paper, an idea came to mind to observe people in public. While shopping, the observation turned into more of a listening and watching scenario. The young adults with toddlers were using different tones of speaking with their children at the play area located in the mall. It is amazing how some parents can be so patient while others have no patience at all. It is no wonder how these children could be affected by their parent’s behavior. It has been said that children will become what their parents teach them, is this just a myth?

Why do some parents think their children should know how to do things that are not age appropriate? A story was told by a lady who was babysitting a four year old toddler that her mother thinks she is old enough to get up in the mornings, feed and dress herself for preschool. She said that was just a parent being lazy. No child should ever have to grow up before their time. It is a parents responsibility to take care of their children until each child has reached an age appropriate milestone. Of course a preschooler may be capable of dressing themselves but may not know how to match their clothes. A loving, caring parent would give that a second thought.

Every family has its own rules about when to teach their children how to cook; or do they teach their children how to cook? Theoretically, every adult should know how to cook; cooking is a survival skill. One example is an adult showing a child how to make good choices in their eating habits, such as vegetables versus fast foods. Most adults already know how to do such things; whereas a child may not. Children should never be allowed to turn on a stove without adult supervision. This could be a very dangerous situation. If parents do not teach their children the dangers of life, they may never know how to handle situations and find themselves in a bad predicament. A child cooking in the kitchen or dressing themselves versus an adult doing the same is another comparison and contrast. People are never too old to learn some things; the world has many options and is wide open for the ones that are willing to explore it.

Under observations, children are very curious about many things. They want to learn and are willing to listen to whomever may be willing to teach them. As a teenager, there are still life lessons to be learned. A teenager’s life compared to older adults is very different. Their dreams are still in the making with a lot to learn. Teen life compared to a baby is another contrast. Many things have been accomplished at that age. Compared to what a young baby has done, or what an eight-year- old has experienced, for instance, driving a car, having a job, and so on. As people grow older, they become wiser and develop according to their environment.

Childhood versus adulthood is truly amazing whenever one starts to think about how far one has come. To watch a baby grow into an adult is interesting. The small things that an adult takes for granted and does daily; a baby could never imagine or think about doing, such as brushing their teeth or hair. These are the baby steps that take us through life to help us reach our adult dreams. As humans continue to progress over the years, it seems as if they become more intelligent earlier in life than in the past. With all of the modern technology in the world today, young preschool children are learning how to operate computers. Some adults that were born in the early 40s and 50s could never imagine even turning a computer on. The comparison between adulthood and childhood continues to amaze society. From a crying baby expressing themselves, to toddlers learning how to talk and walk, young adults learning about life; to adults being responsible and surviving in today’s modern world. What they learn as a child and what they choose to remember as an adult will shape them into the human that they are today.

Aging and Adulthood

Since the 1900’s, life expectancy has increased by an average of 30 years, today the average women will live to be 80.7 years old and the average man will live to be 75.4 years old. At the age of 75 years old, 61 percent of the people are females and by the age of 85, 70 percent are females. Many men die from these leading causes of death: cancer of the respiratory system, motor vehicle accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema, and coronary heart disease. By having the extra X-chromosome women have more resistance to infections and degenerative diseases. Life expectancy is the number of years that a person born in a particular year will probably live. Life span, on the other hand, is the maximum number of years an individual can live, and that remains at approximately 120 to 125 years of age.

Physical and Cognitive Development

As we age there is a natural decline in both the physical and cognitive nature of the human being. There is a loss of height, decline in vision and hearing, and cardiovascular decline. Sleep becomes problematic as well for the aging adult. There is a reduction in the production of some neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which may be a cause of reduced memory function.


Whether male or female, there is a tendency to lose height as we age. Height loss is related to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints. For every 10 years after the age of 40, we tend to lose about 0.4 inches and the rate of loss is even more rapid after the age of 70. As you age, you may lose a total of 1 to 3 inches in height.

Your lifestyle choices affect how quickly the aging process takes place. It is important to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and avoid tobacco and illicit drugs. Also, less muscle in the legs and stiffer joints, which can be improved with exercise, can make moving around harder. Increase in body fat and changes in body shape also affect your balance making falls more likely.

As we age, there is a decrease in all of our senses such as hearing and vision, affecting the aging adult with greater impact. Hearing loss not only affects our understanding of the spoken word, but balance as well. Balance is controlled in the inner ear, fluid and small hairs within the inner ear stimulate the auditory nerve. This helps the brain maintain balance.

All of the eye’s structures change with aging. The sharpness of vision gradually declines and focusing the eyes on some things close becomes difficult. Common eye disorders in the aging adult include: cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy. My mother had macular degeneration and that lead to depression for my mom. She was unable to do the one thing she loved, such as reading, and without that she became depressed. She felt that with reading she could go anywhere her mind would take her and she was able to continue to learn. Not being able to read took a large portion of her life away.

The senses affect the physical as well as the cognitive development in the aging adult. With the reduction in sensory stimuli everyday normal activity may be affected, such as bathing and grooming, conversely, doing household chores, engaging in intellectual activities, and even watching television, and this can reduce cognitive activity. The lower speed at which information is processed may be due to deficits in working memory and other cognitive tasks and may have detrimental effects on more complex tasks. Tasks with high attentional demands show impairments whereas routine tasks requiring little or no attention are therefore easier.

Estimates suggest that as many as 5 percent of those age 65 have dementia. What aren’t these supposed to be the golden years. For the aging adults, ages 85 to 90 years old, estimates as high as 50 percent have been suggested for those living with dementia. Of those with dementia 50 to 75 percent are thought to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Cleveland Aging Clinic. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease represent very significant public health problems, since the population in this age group is increasing rapidly.

Health and Biological Factors

Healthy aging involves the body and the mind: by keeping the body healthy and the mind active we can have healthy aging. With a lot of free time on their hands, the aging adult needs to build some sort of structure and purpose into their lives. If they are new to retirement, boredom can have a negative major impact on their lives. Socialization is very important: joining a church, clubs, and organizations are very good for socialization and family. Grandparents and great grandparents can become caregivers to the children. My Aunt, that will be 90 in December, watches two of her great grandchildren several days a week. The bonding and the sense of purpose are so very important to the aging adult as well as the importance of memories create for the children.

Being healthy means that a healthy diet, one that is rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates is essential. Followed up with a good exercise routine, walking for cardio and light weights or resistance training to enhance muscle tone will help keep the aging adult healthy and feeling great.


What are the relationships that the aging adult has? As the older adult ages they become more selective about their social networks, according to the socialemotional selectivity theory. There is a higher value placed on emotional satisfaction gained from spending time with familiar individuals with whom they have rewarding relationships with. The aging adult values quality over quantity in their relationships, they generally choose to have a smaller close knit group of family and friends. As the aging adult comes to perceive that they have less time left in their lives, they are more motivated to spend time pursuing emotional satisfaction.


As the aging adult comes to perceive that life is finite, how might that affect their personality? In one study (Roberts, Walton, and Bogg, 2005) it found that older adults were more conscientious and agreeable than middle-aged and younger adults. In the aspects of conscientiousness there were increases in impulse control, reliability, and conventionality. By remaining optimistic the aging adult had a more positive outlook on life, and this may have a positive effect on their lives.


There are several transitions going on in the aging adult, first there is the transition from working to retirement, or from being a housewife to having the husband home all day. Either of these situations can create stress for one or both of the parties involved. If it is a couple, learning to interact with each other on a daily basis can be difficult. The couple has to learn to find common interests so that the day to day of being together will be enjoyable.

Next there is the transition to the nursing home, whether it is as a couple or by themselves. Nursing homes can create fear: fear of dying, fear of being a burden, and fear of loneliness. These fears are also very present when a partner is lost. The loss of the partner can be traumatic beyond belief, for some there is no transitioning pass this loss. The partner left behind no matter how much the family is there for them, just cannot go on without their partner that provided their purpose in life and now it’s gone for good and they just give up on life. The loneliness and depression can over take them and they have no will to live.


So are the golden years really the golden years? They can be, with the right amount of planning and being very health wise. By learning to be social, creating a purpose for life, and keeping structure in the everyday life of the aging adult, the golden years can be a beautiful and very enjoyable time in life.


Development Across the Life Span (2008). Feldman, Robert S. Prentice Hall (5th ed.). The Breakthrough Blog (July 2013). Retrieved from Aging and Cognitive Function (2007). Retrieved from MedlinePlus (2011). Retrieved from