Eleven Characteristics of a Childish Adult

Childish adults are difficult to live with. As a matter of fact, they suffer, and those around them do as well. That's why today we want to talk about how you can help them, while protecting yourself at the same time.
Eleven Characteristics of a Childish Adult

Last update: 13 December, 2021

No doubt you’ve come across immature people at some point in your life. In fact, you can probably think of several characteristics of a childish adult. These people aren’t identified by childish habits such as dressing up, playing games, or watching cartoons. In fact, it’s their selfish and immature acts that define them.

The chronological age of a childish adult doesn’t correspond to their emotional age. This means that aspects of their personality related to conflict resolution and emotional management, which normally develop with maturational learning, aren’t enough to lead a full and satisfying life.

In this article, we talk about the most common traits of childish adults. Unfortunately, they often tend to be hidden until you find yourself in a close relationship with one of them.

Childish adults

The shortcomings of childish adults are more evident in close interpersonal relationships, such as friendship, partner, or family. You’ll surely recognize some of these traits, as we’ve all come across these kinds of people at some time or another in our lives.

1. Poor emotional control

We all have emotions, some of greater intensity than others. Emotional regulation is the exercise that allows you to control your emotions so they don’t exert too much of an influence on you when you’re making certain decisions and interacting with others.

However, a childish adult lacks emotional regulation. In fact, their anger, sadness, or pride tends to escape uncontrollably. Furthermore, they pay no attention to the effect they have on others.

Angry man

2. External locus of control

You can attribute what happens around you to your actions, to the actions of others, or chance. As a rule, an adult is quite adept at correctly attributing responsibility. This isn’t the case with childish adults though, who always blame others when the results aren’t what they expected.

3. Lies

Childish adults find, in lies, a valid cover for their interests. In fact, they often lie to hide wrongdoing or to avoid assuming the consequences.

4. Insults

Childish adults are also characterized by poor management of interpersonal conflicts. One of the most notable traits is the habit of insulting others when they argue, instead of facing an argument head-on.

5. Lack of impulse control

Impulsiveness is another of the most striking characteristics of a childish adult. In this context, it’s not so much about making decisions without thinking, but about the small details. For example, talking without taking into account how what they say will affect others, constantly interrupting, and continually changing their mind, etc.

6. Need for attention

These types of people like to be the center of attention. This, in itself, wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for their inadequate methods and the way in which they ignore the needs and rights of those around them.

Have you ever been blamed for not answering your messages when you’ve been going through a bad time? This is an example of childish adult behavior. Indeed, these individuals put their needs above the well-being of others.

7. Abusing others

These types of people use any type of advantage they have over others to get what they want. Just as the big, strong child knows that they can torment others without physical consequences, the childish adult doesn’t hesitate to abuse others when they know they’re going to get away with it.

8. Narcissism

This characteristic of a childish adult arises as a direct consequence of the previous one. In fact, when an individual takes what they want from others without correction or consequences, they develop the idea that they’re superior to them. This facet is related to many other traits. For example, outbursts of anger, fragile self-esteem, and insecurity

9. Contradictions

Since these individuals have a poorly defined character, it’s easy to find contradictions between their actions and their words or even between their own actions. For instance, one day they may say one thing and another say the complete opposite. Furthermore, it’s also very difficult for them to recognize this ambivalence.

10. Low capacity for self-observation

Another characteristic of childish adults is the difficulty they have in realizing the effect they have on others. This is because they weren’t forced to do so in their maturation period.

One example might be that they’re unable to recognize that their exaggerated outburst of anger has made their partner cry. They’ll argue that their partner is to blame for their anger. In fact, they see it as logical to get angry when others don’t behave in the way that they want.

11. Low tolerance for frustration

Adults know that sometimes, despite their best efforts, adverse and unforeseen circumstances can appear that cause poor results. On the other hand, a childish adult is quickly frustrated and abandons their goals as soon as the slightest setback appears.

Worried woman looking out of a window

We all have some aspects to work on in our personalities. That’s because there’s no one with a perfect emotional maturation profile. However, childish adults are characterized by the conglomeration of many of these traits. This hinders their ability to deal with everyday life and their ability to have healthy interpersonal relationships.

However, it’s never too late for them to improve. Going to a professional therapist and working on the aspects of their personality that are preventing them from having a full life won’t only help the individual themselves, but also everyone around them. Therefore, if you feel that you have deficiencies in your relationship, or you live with a childish adult, don’t hesitate to seek therapeutic help.

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