It’s easy to assume that only parents who were genuinely abusive or neglectful leave emotional scars that their children struggle with in adulthood. But emotionally immature parenting can absolutely affect children even as they grow up.

Lots of emotionally immature parents are merely carrying on behaviors that they picked up from their own parents because they had no other models. As their children grow up, they might have difficulty forming healthy relationships of their own or trusting their own judgment. They may feel like they’ve had to be more independent than their peers. Alternatively, they might struggle to assert their own independence. Here are a few ways in which emotionally immature parenting can affect people in the long run.

Struggles to Form Secure Attachments

Children of emotionally immature parents may find it hard to form secure attachments in relationships. They might avoid romantic relationships because they don’t feel comfortable truly trusting anyone, and when someone is interested, they might push them away or refuse their affection.

On the other hand, adults who weren’t given the chance to establish an identity and life beyond their parents might cling to a romantic partner and expect everything out of this one relationship.

Anxiety or Depression

People who were raised in households with emotionally immature parents may deal with anxiety or depression in adulthood. If their emotional needs were not met, or they did not feel comfortable being themselves, they may be anxious about getting close to others or being vulnerable.

They may have been constantly criticized, which leads to them questioning everything they do. Coping with these unmet emotional needs as an adult can lead to depression, as can strained relationships with your family.

Lack of Boundaries

When a child grows up with emotionally immature parents, they are far less likely to learn about the art of setting healthy boundaries. They might feel like they can never say “No” to a request, or that their own needs simply don’t matter.

Often, they are so used to catering to other people or walking on eggshells around them that they feel guilty when they do try to assert their own needs. They can end up enduring lots of discomfort for the sake of making others happy.


Sometimes, emotionally immature parents demand that their children meet completely unrealistic standards. They might push their children to receive perfect grades and participate in endless extracurriculars.

Additionally, they might have extremely strict behavioral standards for their children, which makes their children feel like they have to act like mini-adults. In adulthood, children who were raised in this manner might have difficulty asking for help. They may be prone to taking on too many responsibilities and falling into periods of burnout.

Unconsciously Engaging in Immature Parenting

Many people who were raised by emotionally immature parents do realize how their upbringing affected them in adulthood. They may choose to pursue healing through therapy prior to getting married or having their own children.

However, lots of people who were brought up by emotionally immature parents do not necessarily understand how this parenting style had an impact on them. They may not have many examples of healthy relationships to compare and contrast with. Therefore, they don’t think that they need to seek help before having kids of their own. They can easily unconsciously engage in the same parenting methods that their parents used. This can create cycles of generational trauma within a family unit.

Are you struggling with the long-term effects of emotionally immature parenting? A therapist can help you heal. Reach out to us to learn more about your options for scheduling your first therapy appointment.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This