Emotional maturity usually comes naturally, but for some people, this step of growth seems to have been missed. Dealing with immature adults can be difficult and stressful. A person who isn’t able to grasp the concept of negotiation is as difficult to deal with as a toddler – hence being an immature adult!

Here are some key examples of the behaviors and traits of immature adults to look out for.

It can also be interesting to analyze whether you are also guilty of some of these traits and need to apply maturity to those situations.

1. Lack of emotional control

Adults who lack maturity will have little control over their emotions and overreact in much the same way as a small child. Have you ever seen a child screaming and crying in a supermarket because they couldn’t choose a product from the shelf? That is a primary example of immaturity.

Children, of course, are not expected to be emotionally mature. They need time and guidance to learn how to process and express their feelings. Immature adults have never learned this, and so can lash out, act out of proportion with the situation or become overwhelmingly emotional.

This sign of an immature adult often stems from a cushioned childhood or having a condition that makes them unable to get in touch with their feelings.

2. Lack of independence

Immature people will not behave with the independence that we expect when reaching maturity. Traits may include a reliance on a parent or partner to cook their food or provide other general household tasks such as laundry.

It may be that immature adults simply haven’t ever been taught the necessary skills to take care of their own needs and have grown up learning complete reliance on others.

In this situation, continuing to support their dependence is never a good idea. Adults who have come to rely on others will never be able to support themselves if they do not have any reason to learn the essential life skills they are missing.

3. Irresponsibility

Immature adults often are most easily identified by their lack of respect for finances and possessions – whether their own or somebody else’s. This stems from the nature of children who don’t yet understand the value or worth of things since they are reliant on a parent or guardian to provide for them.

Most adults learn this value very quickly, and in particular when joining the workforce and learning to equate money and possessions with their income. However, an immature adult has never learned to respect their finances and can be very irresponsible and fickle with money.

4. Selfishness

One of the common behaviors of immature people is innate selfishness. They may find it difficult to relate to or empathize with others, and may, therefore, struggle to maintain healthy relationships of any kind.

This behavior echoes a small child who exists within their world and hasn’t yet learned to empathize. An adult who lacks maturity will be unable to consider anything from the perspective of another person. They will only have an interest in fulfilling their desires.

For this reason, immature adults are often untrustworthy and prone to lie, as with children. This is less likely to be malicious, and more likely to be a product of their selfish nature. It means that they simply cannot accept responsibility for their actions, or perceive the equal value of others.

5. Oversharing

An immature adult usually tends not to have a filter. This is a key trait that is identifiable within children who often need parents to explain cultural norms. For example, discussing other people loudly in a queue or asking potentially hurtful questions in innocence.

This trait can often be seen on social media and reflects the emotional immaturity of an adult who needs to feel validated by the opinions of others. Perhaps less obvious than some of the other behaviors of immature adults, oversharing and not being able to pursue their own goals without external validation is a key trait.

6. Being egocentric

Small children, and even teenagers, often crave attention and holding the spotlight. This behavior is seen in immature adults, who desire attention at all costs and will often upstage others to ensure they receive it.

A sign of this trait could be an adult who creates unnecessary drama at a celebratory event which is not being held for them. Or it could be a friend who discusses problems at every opportunity without giving thought to whether it is appropriate.

This can be a sign of an immature adult who has always felt themselves to be competing for attention. It can also be a sign of an adult who has always been the center of attention throughout their upbringing. Thus, he or she has not developed the maturity to share the spotlight from time to time.

7. Inability to sustain relationships

We all know that relationships of any nature need equal effort to sustain them. Immature adults are often single or change romantic partners regularly. They are also likely to have few friends, as they cannot commit to other people, to show empathy or to understand the priorities and perspectives of people around them.

An immature adult may either have few people close to them or only be close to family members who likely continue to treat them as a child.

How to deal with immature adults?

There is no hard and fast way to manage immature people. But the best course of action is never to support their poor behavior. This will only reinforce their conditioned emotional responses and support this continuing.

Lauren Edwards-Fowle, M.Sc., B.Sc.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    June Ellis

    I have a sibling that is immature and always a person that will argue and never feels responsible for their actions. Over the years I have come to just ignore this person and I’m better off mentally. their oldest has the same attitude I call it Peter Pan syndrome especially when my family member never matured past 15. Will never understand this way of thinking no matter how much I read and learn about it. Thank you for the info.

  2. Avatar
    Simi

    Some of these are helpful and I can relate to some points made as I believe all of us at some point in our adulthood have some or similar traits that stem from our childhood, however, not having many friends or being single as an adult is not immature and this should not be in the 7 traits and behaviours of an immature adult at all.

  3. Avatar
    Angeline Gullo

    We’re seeing Narcissism in Epidemic Proportions in the 21st Century. Shame there isn’t a Database for them to warn others in society. There’s Databases for Pedo’s, Divorcees, Deadbeat Dads, etc but not any Database for Victim’s of Narcissists to consult. Therefore the Problem will just continue to grow and grow.

  4. Avatar
    Alyssa

    “This sign of an immature adult often stems from a cushioned childhood or having a condition that makes them unable to get in touch with their feelings.” You left out possibly the biggest reason for an immature adult, which is childhood trauma (both neglect or abuse). There are a lot of people who grew up but weren’t ‘raised.’ These people don’t necessarily have a condition and can get in touch with their feelings a little too much, often times. It’s a terrible shame because these people want normal, healthy relationships and struggle immensely to learn what they should of learned in childhood.

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