adjective; derivation
to be treated as an adult at an early age, or to pressure a child to act like and have the maturity of an adult That there is now a word for this phenomenon that is universally understood is a sad reflection of our culture at large: children, at least in the upper classes of society, are now pressured not only to win acceptance into the best universities, but to the best preschools. Children today rarely have unstructured playtime outdoors; instead, they are shuttled by their parents to lessons, practices, tutors, and extra classes which will make them smarter, or at least make them look more attractive to whichever selective elementary or middle school they wish to attend. Although there is a growing backlash against this sort of pressure on children, it will undoubtedly continue until a major change occurs in the educational system, especially in the private sector.
The precocious child - to become adultified early and yet to remain hovered over for longer - is echoed in the situation of the privileged child, ushered along a highly scheduled path of credentialed performance from cradle onward.
Etymology : Latin adultus, past participle of adolescere, to grow up
Source : New York Times Magazine
Last modified: 10 June 2008