|BoyWiki Dictionary: Childhood (dictionary)|
¹ (NOTE: This is the only "official" "politically correct" definition. See below for additional information.)
Childhood is the age span ranging from birth to adolescence. According to Piaget's theory of cognitive development, childhood consists of two stages: preoperational stage and concrete operational stage. In developmental psychology, childhood is divided up into the developmental stages of toddlerhood (learning to walk), early childhood (play age), middle childhood (school age), and adolescence (puberty through post-puberty). Various childhood factors could affect a person's attitude formation.
The concept of childhood emerged during the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly through the educational theories of the philosopher John Locke and the growth of books for and about children. Previous to this point, children were often seen as incomplete versions of adults. Childhood starts at age 2, and ends at age 18.
"Childhood" childhood vs. childhood "childhood"
In Western societies, teenagers have been stripped of their rightful autonomy, and placed into an artificial category called "childhood," along with true children (true children being young people up until they reach around 8 years old, which is when adrenarche, and adolescence, begins.)
Growing up is a process, one which proceeds at different rates for different people. Some adults may never reach effective emotional maturity, despite having reached the age of majority and achieved sexual maturity.
Young people are often precocious, and some may reach levels of physical and emotional maturity much more quickly than others. By denying young people their natural right to/opportunities for engaging in normal and varied activities which allow them to gain meaningful experiences, young people may grow up to become stunted adults, without the capability to function effectively in society.
European teenagers are quite often more much mature than American adults who may be in their 20s. European young people are often amazed at the naivety of American young people.