emotionally immature parents

4 Kinds of Emotionally Immature Parents and Their Signs

There are four different kinds of emotionally immature parents. However, despite these different categories, they all have something in common. Parents become emotionally immature when they don’t know how to process their feelings.

This means that they often shut down or lash out, and they don’t know how to connect or bond. Think you might have an emotionally immature parent? This article can help you figure it out.

What Are Emotionally Immature Parents?


Emotionally immature parents create problems and mental and physical anguish for their children because they can’t control their own emotions. They often have problems with boundaries and are narcissistic.

There can be many different degrees of emotional immaturity in parents. Sometimes, these can be very serious and include things like mental illness or abuse of some sort.

13 Signs of Emotionally Immature Parents


1. Don’t Take Responsibility

Do you try to tell your parent or parents what they did wrong, or how they upset you, only to have them turn it back on you? They will say things like you are making a big deal out of nothing, or you are making things up. This is a common behavior for many emotionally immature parents.

2. Project Problems and Issues

If they have a problem, does everyone suddenly have a problem? You aren’t able to feel anything outside what they feel or want you to feel. If you have additional problems, or stand up about feeling a different way, then it leads to a fight or even punishment.

3. Will Deny Actions

Emotionally immature parents, when they can’t pin the blame on someone else, will straight up deny something ever happening. Did they hit you? They would never. Maybe they get drunk every night and don’t come home until early in the morning, well they would know if that happened.

Sometimes you will even feel crazy, as they will fake it so well that you start to doubt it even happened in the first place.

4. No Empathy

Your parent doesn’t understand where you are coming from. They can’t understand why you are upset, or sometimes even that you are upset. They may think you are being dramatic for no reason or making a big deal out of something because they have no way to see your side of things.

5. You Feel Lonely and Don’t Bond

Even if your parents are always around, whenever you are home, you will feel lonely. You may also feel that even if you and your parents talk a lot, they know nothing about you and you know nothing about them.

6. Interactions Feel One-Sided

Do you feel like you are always asking about your parent’s day, or trying to tell them about your day, but they never ask about your day or seem to care when you are excited about anything? Sometimes they will even talk over you and completely ignore what you are saying.


7. They Try and Guilt You

Parents who are emotionally immature will do anything to get their way and stay in control. This includes guilting, shaming, or making you afraid until you give in. It is manipulating and you may often feel like you are crazy.

8. Their Needs Are First

Have you ever run out of food because your parents were busy spending the money on themselves? Or did you need school supplies or maybe new clothes? Maybe you weren’t allowed to be upset because your parents were upset or it would be inconvenient for them.

This is because the needs of your parents will always come first for them. They don’t have time to deal with your problems and don’t even consider using their money or energy for you more than necessary.

9. Won’t Ever Open Up to You

Your parents will never open up to you. They won’t reveal that they had problems or were ever as emotional as yours were. They won’t even open up to provide you comfort, like hugs or a deep connection so you don’t feel so alone. They just can’t.

10. Don’t Respect Your Boundaries

Do you set boundaries to protect yourself or have some privacy, only to see them quickly and easily break them without thought or care? This is because your emotionally immature parents don’t know how to differentiate you as an individual self. There is no need for privacy when you’re nothing more than an extension of them, or something they can use to their advantage.

11. They Don’t Put in Emotional Work

Emotional work is when you do things emotionally for people. This can be something simple, like being polite or nice, or trying to find the right thing to say to someone. These are often considered polite things to do and part of the societal norm, but your parents won’t bother to do this unless they are trying to show off for someone.

12. They Act Like You Are an Extension of Them

Since you are just an extension of your parents, you don’t get the right to your own feelings, thoughts, or desires. And if you do anything they don’t like, they react with shock, disapproval, and anger.

You are afraid to speak out or state what you want to do with your time, because then you will be in trouble or severely punished, and that thing may be taken away from you.

13. Enjoy Ruining Your Happiness

Depending on the type of emotionally immature parent you have, they may even be cruel, mean, or enjoy having you upset. They will go out of their way to hurt their child’s pride and crush your dreams whenever they can.

4 Types of Emotionally Immature Parents

Emotionally Immature

1. Emotional

The first kind of emotionally immature parents are the emotional parents. These are usually parents that make everyone feel drained and exhausted after interacting with them.

They are usually very sensitive, people have to walk on eggshells around them or risk their anger or blame. They are also usually manipulative and controlling. They keep score and bring up past problems or things someone else did wrong to get their way.

There is no way to convince them or change their mind. They see everything only in black or white, with no room for compromise or coming to an understanding.

Often, they take everyone around down with them, including their children. If they are mad or upset, then their children should be as well or are often punished with them.

These types of parents don’t know how to self-soothe and rely on other people to make their emotions better or worse. If no one helps them, they then turn to things like substances or shopping to make their mood better.

They are referred to as the most infantile of the four types, and are very unstable and unpredictable. These parents are often labeled with problems like psychosis, bipolar, narcissism, or borderline personality disorder.

2. Passive

Passive parents rarely have their own thoughts or opinions. They usually choose a partner that has one of the other personality types and forms a codependent relationship.

They can show love and affection to their family, but only up to a certain point. They still have extreme moments of immaturity and self-centered thinking. They also often give in to what more dominant forces say.

The biggest problem is their unreliability. They may support their child sometimes, but as soon as a conflict arises, they don’t offer anything, and many times pretend nothing is happening anyway. They don’t protect their children or offer any real support under the surface.

Most children learn quickly to not ask these parents for assistance with real problems. They may be great on the surface, being the fun parent for a while, but they aren’t there when it comes to anything deeper, and often leave their children in harmful situations. Friends may see them as the cool parent that never gets upset, but that’s only on the surface.

3. Rejecting

Rejecting parents aren’t ones that ever really want to be a parent. They are the least empathetic of all emotionally immature parents. They may tolerate their children on the surface, but as soon as anything serious occurs, they easily get irritated.

Usually, it is because they can’t deal with their own emotions and avoid any kind of intimacy or vulnerability. Children often find themselves being a bother, or not wanted. They often give up easily, knowing their parents won’t care or make an effort.

They have no real bond or emotional connectedness to their parents or children.

4. Driven

Driven parents often seem normal on the surface, as they are invested in the success of their children. However, this is just on the surface. They are actually very controlling and view the child basically as an extension of themselves or a doll.

They know what is good for their children and what their kid wants. They leave no room for negotiation or freedom. Most children get so depressed and unmotivated that they give up and don’t open up.

These parents usually had to raise themselves and relied on no one else, and are very proud of it. They don’t want their child to not succeed by being too nurtured and think they know what is best.

How to Deal with Parents That Are Emotionally Immature: 5 Tips

Deal With

1. Practice Your Own Version of Emotional Detachment

Learning to use emotional detachment to your advantage can stop you from doing it unknowingly as you get older. Plus, it stops you from getting yourself hurt as your emotionally immature parent tries to manipulate them.

Try to observe their behaviors and why they are doing them, instead of reacting to them.

2. Stay Calm

It is important to remember that your parent or parents shut down rather than feel emotions. So trying to guilt them or appeal to them with anger or sadness isn’t going to work. They will just shut down and make the situation worse.

Instead, work on speaking calmly and clearly, with little to no emotion, and focus mainly on facts instead of emotion.

3. Don’t Try to Improve the Relationship

Unfortunately, unless your parent has a moment of clarity, their personality and your relationship won’t ever change. By expecting that change to occur, or something to be different the next time you talk, you are only setting yourself up to be hurt again.

4. Set the Pace

Emotionally immature parents are quick to steer conversations toward their needs and end goals. You mustn’t allow this to happen. Set goals for every conversation, and perhaps a timer. Keep your goal in mind during the whole conversation, and don’t be afraid to end the conversation if it isn’t going anywhere.

5. Read

You aren’t the only one who has experienced an emotionally immature parent. There are many people out there, and there have even been studies done on parents like this. Read and learn about other people who have dealt with similar parents and how they handled it. Or, read books from psychologists who have researched parents similar to yours.

Do My Emotionally Immature Parents Love Me?


Your emotionally immature parents likely love you. However, this is love in their own way, and it is often not healthy for those that are involved with them.

Essentially, it is similar to being with an abuser. They may love you in their own way, but that love is variable, and can often be shut down when they don’t get their way.

Most emotionally immature parents tend to back away from real emotion and try not to feel it. Unfortunately, this includes love. They may not even be aware that they are doing it, and not understand why people say they don’t make a real connection.

This doesn’t mean it is necessary to continue to talk and communicate with them. Sometimes, the only option to protect yourself, and prevent you from becoming this same parent in the future, is to cut off the connection.

That temporary, fleeting love they feel isn’t worth your sanity, especially when they can shut it down so they aren’t vulnerable at any time. Their desire to protect themselves is so strong and fierce that everyone gets pushed to the back burner, including their children.

If you do continue to stay in touch, you should do so with the expectation that things will not change, and you will have to accept them as they are.