Effects of Overbearing Mothers on Their Adult Children

Many people would argue that being a parent is the hardest job there is. Learning to be a good parent is a never-ending process which can be difficult and overwhelming at times. Parenting styles can heavily influence a child's life and personality development. In particular, overbearing parenting can be mentally and emotionally damaging to a child, which can lead to negative consequences, even into adulthood.


A child who has an overbearing mother may lack friendships. An overbearing mother will often choose her child's friends for him. She will be in charge of planning parties and choosing who will be invited and who will not. The mother will often speak for her child, and he may grow up feeling shame and not having a voice or opinion. The child may grow up being passive-aggressive, weak and fearful of confrontation, which can cause problems in future relationships.


Perfectionism becomes highly important to a child of an overbearing mother, because it is what the child feels he needs to do please his mother and earn her love. An adult child may feel anxiety and pressure to succeed in their chosen profession. The adult child may require constant reassurance from his boss that he is doing things better than his coworkers. Fulfilling others' expectations becomes the driving force for his behavior. He may become obsessed with doing well and even cheat to get ahead to avoid disapproval.


If a child of an overbearing mother fails or does not live up to expectations, the child will often feel guilt or self-hatred. An overbearing mother may increase these feelings depending on her reaction. Children of overbearing mothers may develop severe insecurities which may lead to eating disorders and self injuring behaviors in adolescence or adulthood. A child may lie about perceived failures or blame others for what he has done wrong. Aggression and overreacting to authority is also common with people who feel frustrated because of perceived failures.

Emotional Maturity

A grown child of an overbearing mother may lack emotional maturity. The person may not know how to express feelings, assert himself or make decisions. He may have a hard time saying no to people, especially authority. The person may cave into others' demands and wishes to avoid conflict with people and gain acceptance. The person has been taught to gain love and approval through performance and following rules. Therefore, the adult child of an overbearing mother may believe loving relationships can only be conditional.