When Does Childhood End?

Adults often complain that children don't act their ages. Complaints range from little ones acting like their much-smaller counterparts or trying to grow up too quickly. But according to the British, childhood is pretty brief.

Half of British parents believe childhood ends at 11 years old, according to an ICM survey released Monday. The survey, which included almost 1,200 parents with children under age 18, said the British thought at 11 people are "young adults."

The English also have seemed to take a different view of their children's socialization than their American counterparts. Three-quarters of the English allow their children to drink alcohol before age 18, the survey said, and 53 percent of teenagers younger than 16 are allowed to stay out later than 11 p.m.

The research also found that two-thirds of pre-teen girls are allowed to get their ears pierced.

Book publisher Random House commissioned the survey to promote a book by children's author Jacqueline Wilson called "My Sister Jodie."

Wilson told a British newspaper she believes children are growing up too quickly.

"I feel it is a real shame that children act like adults at an alarmingly early age," Wilson told Britain's Times newspaper. "Parents need to take a stand, to tell their children, 'I don't care if everyone else in the class is allowed to do this or that. You're not.'"

Reuters contributed to this report.
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