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For other uses, see Kidult (disambiguation).
For a book, see Rejuvenile (book).

The portmanteau coinages kidult,[1] rejuvenile,[2] adultescent[3] refer to adults with interests traditionally seen as suitable for children.

It can also have other meanings, such as a parent who enjoys being a parent due to spending quality time with his or her children, but is reluctant to lay down the law or handle the more serious aspects of parenthood.[citation needed] An example is Robin Williams' character in Mrs. Doubtfire, a father who has fun with his children but is a poor disciplinarian and is seen by his wife as an irresponsible head of the household.

In the past, psychology recognized the concept of puer aeternus, or "eternal boy", a person remaining emotionally at the adolescent level. In pop-culture it got the name the Peter Pan syndrome, after the archetypal "eternal boy", Peter Pan.

However recently it is a growing recognition that for an adult to have interests traditionally expected only from children is not necessary an anomaly.[2] The entertainment industry was quick to recognized the trend, and introduced a special category, "kidult" of things marketable for kids and adults alike.[1][4] Enormous successes of films like Shrek and Harry Potter,[5] of books traditionally targeted for teenagers[6] and the fact that Disneyland is among world top adult (without kids) vacation destinations[1] seem to indicate that "kidulthood" is a rather mainstream phenomenon. And unlike puer aeternus, "rejuveniles" successfully marry adult responsibilities with non-adult interests.[1] When Christopher Noxon appeared on The Colbert Report on June 29, 2006, he remarked that "There's a big difference between childish and childlike".

Karen Brooks explores a contribution to this phenomenon of what she calls the phenomenon of the "commodification of youth": entertainers sell "the teen spirit" to adults who in the past were called "young at heart".[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Kidult", Oxford Dictionaries
  2. ^ a b Christopher Noxon, Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up, 2006, (online book preview)
  3. ^ "Adultescent", Oxford Dictionaries
  4. ^ "Forty-Year-Old Virgins", by Tony Dokoupil, December 15, 2007
    • Quote: "So what's driving this rejuvenile movement? Marketing, mostly."
  5. ^ "Are you a Kidult?", The Guardian
  6. ^ "The grown-up world of kidult books", The Telegraph, 11 January 2003
  7. ^ Karen Brooks, "Nothing Sells Like Teen Spirit: the Commodification of Youth Culture" in: Youth Cultures: Texts, Images, and Identities, 2003, ISBN 027597409X, pp. 1-16