Recently I heard statistics that point to the fact that adolescence is not ending at 18, 19 or 20. We have begun to see adolescence clear into the 30s. This idea was foreign a few generations ago. Teenage years were a time of apprenticeship and beginning of responsibility. Girls were married at 14,15 or 16 and society thought nothing of it. Why? Their period of development preceding maturity was a child. They expected more of them by the time they became teens.
Maturity is not a black and white moment defined by reaching a certain age. Maturity is the achieving a certain level of character that defines you as trustworthy. Maturity is having self-control. Self-control to do what you need to and refrain from those things you don't.
I have noticed a lack in teaching children to be mature. The Bible says even a child is known by their doings. I fear that we are going to see adolescence reach far into middle age if the direction of parent rearing doesn't change. By the grace of God, I hope to raise my kids to glorify Him. When I discipline Benjamin for his lack of control, I do so to better his life that he may be behaving as more of an adult at 13 than most adults are.
One of my favorite quotations on maturity.
What is maturity ? Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction. Maturity is patience. It is the willingness to pass up immediate pleasure in favor of the long-term gain. Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging set-backs. Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse. Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say, "I was wrong." And, when right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, "I told you so."
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities; then they do nothing.
Maturity means dependability, keeping one's word, coming through in a crisis. The immature are masters of the alibi. They are the confused and the disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business, and good intentions that somehow never materialize.
Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change, the courage to change that which should be changed -- and the wisdom to know the difference.