Emotional Maturity

There are some adults out there who don’t necessarily act childish or immature on purpose. “Most immature adult behavior reflects a lack of mature parenting and other childhood disappointments. The consequences are most obvious in adults’ relationship behaviour.” (Carruthers, 2014) It is apparent after a lot of internet research that some adults act childish due to some kind of problem they may have had in their childhood, or they may have not had the chance to live all of their childhood so they will never be able to get over that stage of life. Often these childhood traumas come back throughout the adults life and make them immature.


Childish adults at work

Sadly there are those adults who just never grow up for no reason really.  Here are some immature signs at work:

  • Throwing Temper Tantrums- people with power who believe this gives them the right to treat others in any way they like
  • Tattletales- telling tales and grassing on colleagues
  • Not Sharing Their Toys- colleagues who aren’t willing to share equipment etc
  • Craving Attention-people who think everything is about them
  • Sibling Rivalries- unhealthy competition develops with colleagues
  • Crybabies- they may not actually cry but they whine or complain all the time
  • Forming Cliques-people who think they’re special, a group who thinks they’re better than the rest

(McIntyre, 2011)

So not only does childish adult behaviour happen at home, it happens at work too. Its something which goes on in our society all the time, its just not something we notice as much as there are much more important things going on which we focus our attention on.


What is emotional maturity? 

“Emotional maturity is defined by the ability to control your emotions and take full responsibility for your life along with its opportunities and dramas. A large part of being emotionally mature is having the ability to handle anger, disappointment, guilt, resentment, fear, jealousy, disappointment, grief, insecurity, and a myriad of other feelings appropriately. Emotional maturity is defined when you have the ability to experience these emotions and then quickly let them go. People who are immature seem to remain stuck in these negative emotions, unable to get past them.” (hsm, 2012) This is something I often see in adults, evidencing my assignment that adults act like children because children are not emotionally mature.

” Self-centeredness and self importance are normally characteristics of children. Children demand special treatment, make little real contributions themselves, and complain that life isn’t meeting their demands. Over coming this mind set is a normal and an important part of growing-up. When those characteristics manifest chronically in a “grown-up,” they are indications that person is not in fact a mature, responsive adult, but rather still reacting out of their self centered child self rather than as a mature adult. The person may look mature, and have many adult responsibilities, but emotionally, they are still a child.” (hsm, 2012) So even though some adults don’t look immature or childish when you see them in the street, emotionally they still are a child. This is something I will exaggerate in my photographs; an adult who is still emotionally a child.

“When emotionally immature people do not get their way, they often respond to their circumstances in ways that are irrational. They need to control and this lack of control motivates them to act out. They pout, whine, cry manipulate, or violate the object of their obsession, all the whilst believing they are entitled to behave this way. They are in complete denial in regard how destructive this behavior is to their relationship, and now they are actually sabotaging their own goals.” (hsm, 2012) I see this happen more than any other way of an adult acting childish. A good example would be when a woman wants some shoes for example, and her boyfriend/husband says no so they whine and complain until they get those shoes. This is a childish way for an adult to get what they want.


An interesting statement about why adults act like children:

“Here’s the thing about acting like a child: children have no power.  They’re smaller than almost everything else in their environment, they lack the skill and the experience required to manipulate the world around themselves successfully, and the majority of children haven’t developed the empathy required to see beyond themselves.  Everything is “me” oriented and they don’t possess the maturity required to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions, decisions, and choices.  Adults who act like children do so for the same reasons.” (Fikkert, 2013)



Carruthers, M (2014) Emotional Maturity and Immature Adults [online] available from <http://www.systemiccoaching.com/sw_articles_eng/immature_adults.htm&gt; [27 November 2014]

McIntyre, M (2011) How to Deal with Childish Adults [online] available from <http://www.yourofficecoach.com/topics/coworker_relationships/difficult_coworkers/how_to_deal_with_childish_adults.aspx&gt; [27 November 2014]

hsm (2012) Relationships with Emotionally Immature People [online] available from <http://www.heartspiritmind.com/relationships/relationships-with-emotionally-immature-people/&gt; [27 November 2014]

Fikkert, A (2013) I’m sorry, How Old Are You Again? On Petty, Vindictive, Childish, Behaviour in Adults [online] available from <https://andreafikkert.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/im-sorry-how-old-are-you-again-on-petty-vindictive-childish-behaviour-in-adults/&gt; [27 November 2014]