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Overcoming Immaturity in Children

by Martha Holden, studioD

Immaturity in children is one of the puzzles parents try to solve daily. The once sweet bundles of joy suddenly become a cause of headaches for many parents. In dealing with this problem, it is important to distinguish immaturity from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Immaturity in children is when they don’t act their age -- a 10-year-old behaving like a 4-year-old.


For a parent, the best approach in dealing with immature children should be based on understanding. The immature behaviors -- attention seeking, demanding, irresponsible and crying -- are controlled by the brain. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the frontal cortex -- the area of the brain that controls reasoning -- develops after childhood. The study further indicates that children are likely to act on impulse or engage in risky behaviors. Parent’s understanding of this development process helps to provide them with the right attitude in dealing with immature children.


Attention seeking is a problem among immature children. Children are prone to display various acts, such as throwing tantrums or crying, just to get attention from the parents. Giving the child attention before he starts seeking it can be of great help. When the child gets the desired attention, they are more likely to behave appropriately. In doing this, parents should desist from comparing the child with others. This may make the behavior of the child to be worse. Alternatively, parent can suggest to the child that privileges will be stripped off if he does not behave well.


Children learn from their peers. Constant interaction with age mates or older children -- who are more mature than the child -- helps to instill a sense of maturity in the child. Parents can also enroll children in social skills groups run by professionals. Attending social events with children of the same age helps the child to improve his socialization skills. Parents should identify the child’s area of interest -- sports, music, scout or club -- and encourage him to join.


Boosting the child’s self esteem helps to deal with the immature behavior. Gaining confidence enables him to think on his own and develop mature traits. Helping a timid kid to be comfortable in his skin is a step towards maturity for the child. According to an article published on July 13, 2006, by today.com, many parents can tell if their child is shy by 3 or 4 months of age. There is enough time for the parents to mold the baby to grow into a confident and mature child.


If a child has trouble shifting focus, can not pay attention to detail, is ever forgetful, fidgets and squirms frequently, or is overly impulsive, an examination by a psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician is recommended. These could be symptoms of ADHD, autism or another issue. Immature behaviors have their boundaries.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

Photo Credits

  • Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images