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Is 16 and adult or a child?

(106 Posts)
CalleighDoodle Fri 04-Mar-16 13:26:49

Not a thread about a thread. Actually a thread about two threads so technically...

Ive read today very different responses to questions about people the same age. Similar issues (sexual relationships). different sexes.

How can a female at 16 be called an adult who should be allowed to do what she wants, despite that behaviour being very risky, yet a male at 16 is a child who shouldnt date one person 6/7 years older?

I know a number of late-teen women who married men at least 10 years older than them. Is that ok because they are a more adulty adult that a 16 year old woman, and much more of an adult of a 16 year old 'boy'?

Aibu here or is the sexism on a women's forum towards women really quite unbelievable?

Patapouf Fri 04-Mar-16 13:29:04

I'd say a child, absolutely.

Danglyweed Fri 04-Mar-16 13:29:40

Yup, a child!

ghostyslovesheep Fri 04-Mar-16 13:30:30


CalleighDoodle Fri 04-Mar-16 13:30:43

Id say child too.

DurhamDurham Fri 04-Mar-16 13:31:50

16 year olds are children,I've two girls one is 22 and the other is 18. They were both still children at 16.

freshprincess Fri 04-Mar-16 13:33:16

Child. They're still in school, ffs

Ohtobeskiing Fri 04-Mar-16 13:33:55

Well, on Mumsnet, any discussion surrounding higher education a 16 year old is an adult who ought to be capable of making all their own decisions without support.

Edna1969 Fri 04-Mar-16 13:33:56

Definately a child.

I would be very concerned about any teen relationship with an older person.

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 13:34:53

It's a funny inbetween stage. It depends on what you are talking about.

At 16 it's difficult to discipline a 16 year old in the same way you would a younger child.

But at 16 most think they know better, than they actually do. I know I did

SweetAdeline Fri 04-Mar-16 13:35:01

I'm not sure the two threads are comparable if they are the two I think they are. On either thread I think you would get the same answer if you swapped the sex of the 16 year old. That is, a 16yr old having sex with another 16yr old is different from a 16yr old having sex with a 23yr old regardless of which sex they are.

SealSong Fri 04-Mar-16 13:36:42

Child in the eyes of the law. The Children's Act covers up to 18 years old.
Children do get more rights for self advocacy and consent generally speaking from 16 onwards though.

BathshebaDarkstone Fri 04-Mar-16 13:36:48

I'd say it depends on the 16 year old.

FigMango1 Fri 04-Mar-16 13:36:55

I would say child definitely. Yes they may be at the age to do a lot of 'adult' stuff, but they don't possess the emotional maturity to handle any of those 'adult' decisions. So a child.

ijustwannadance Fri 04-Mar-16 13:41:08

Kidult. They think they are grown up and mature but not quite adult yet.

MrsSteptoe Fri 04-Mar-16 13:41:36

On the whole, I would say a child on the basis that they have not yet been exposed to life as an adult (i.e. I'm assuming still in FT education, living with parents)
But I also think it's contextual. Is a 16 year old with a baby a child? Yes, in some ways - but they are also a parent, which is to some extent (not entirely) antonymous.
It's an interesting question today, because there are at least three relevant threads running parallel.

MrsJayy Fri 04-Mar-16 13:42:30

Tbf not everybody said let her do what she wanted not read the other thread 16yr olds are teenagers so imo older children and need protecting

CaptainCrunch Fri 04-Mar-16 13:42:42

What I find strange about MN is so many threads go on about 16 and 17 year olds being "children" but the minute someone posts about having an issue with dc aged 18 the same posters start screeching "they're an ADULT".

KoalaDownUnder Fri 04-Mar-16 13:44:01


I haven't seen the thread about the 16-year-old girl, but I have nieces that age, and their parents certainly consider them children. And would intervene (aka do their job as parents) if they were engaging in 'risky behaviour'.

notarehearsal Fri 04-Mar-16 13:44:18

16 is a young person, not a child anymore but a young adult imo

WhoWants2Know Fri 04-Mar-16 13:52:33

It sounds like you're confusing the age of sexual consent with adulthood. An adult can have consensual sex with a person over the age of 16 without legal penalty. So on that thread, yes, a girl of 16 can have sex with who she wants to. As you say, it is risky and I don't think anyone on that thread was in a rush to say it's a great idea.

The 16 year old would be considered an adult in other ways. They can't legally do many of the things that adults do: buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, join the army (without parental consent) get married (without parental consent), get a driver's license, vote...

So in your example of an older adult marrying someone in their late teens- yes, that is a much different thing than an older person entering into a relationship with a 16 year old. It isn't a sexist thing, in that it doesn't matter in that case whether the 16 year old is a male or female. The trouble is that the older adult probably has the advantage of life experience that the 16 year old doesn't have. The older person potentially has their own home, job, car, and (in the case of the other thread you're referring to) child. It isn't a level playing field, and I think that's what people object to.

Once everybody is fully an adult in the eyes of the law, those differences won't necessarily apply.

WhoWants2Know Fri 04-Mar-16 13:53:42

- the 16 year old would not be considered an adult in other ways.

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 04-Mar-16 13:54:31

Child, definitely.

And yes, to CaptainCrunch's post of 13.42. I don't contribute to threads like that but I secretly smile. I accept that 18 year olds are adults in the eyes of the law, but I wouldn't be happy if either my 18 yo or for that matter my 19 yo took it upon themselves to, for instance, get married right now or have a child.

Which is not to say that some 18 year olds aren't very mature, but my kids are amongst them. There is something to be said for the old age of majority 21 being re-instated for some things.

TooOldForGlitter Fri 04-Mar-16 13:56:22

Child. 18 is too young to be classed as an adult IMO but nothing is going to change there.

Arfarfanarf Fri 04-Mar-16 13:59:05

Adulthood isnt an event, it's a process.
At 16 they are legally a child, with all the protections that go with that.
But at that age you cant treat them like a child. They have to be allowed to make some decisions, have some independence, have some responsibilities, take some risks, make some bad decisions! etc to what extent depends on the individual child.
Its the age when you are preparing them for adulthood while remembering that they need your support and guidance and still need boundaries

It's a difficult and challenging time for child and parent

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