When it comes to physical maturity you can normally observe where someone is in their development. While you might mistake a 19-year-old teenager for a young man in his early twenties, you would never think that an infant is a 5-year-old girl and you would never think that a man is his forties was in his late seventies.
Emotional maturity is a little more complicated to ascertain. At first, a man in his late forties can seem to have the emotional maturity of someone who is in his late forties —i.e. he can seem to have the emotional maturity of a seasoned adult… However once you get to know him, it can become apparent that most of the time, even though he is in his late forties chronologically, he has the emotional maturity of a teenager with occasional digressions to the emotional maturity of a child.
Emotional Maturity is something that you often need observe over time to get an accurate picture of where someone is.
Stages of Emotional Maturity
People generally spend the bulk of their time in one of four stages of emotional maturity—Child, Teenager, Young Adult, and Seasoned Adult.
If you observe someone with an eye to discerning their level of emotional maturity, most of the time, you will be able to ascertain at what stage of emotional maturity they spend most of their time.
Sometimes, particularly under stress, people regress. I once dated a man that became emotionally immature when he was under any type of stress. He would drop from the Seasoned Adult Stage to the Teenager or Child stage during disagreements or difficult situation.
I thought I was dealing with a person with anger and control issues until I took a closer look at his reactions. He would sigh loudly when he didn’t want to hear others speak their mind, he would state his opinions harshly without any empathy for others feelings, and he would always seek to give ‘pay back’ to anyone that frustrated him. When I mentioned his emotional immaturity levels to his son, the boy agreed that his father regressed when he was upset.
He said his dad becomes a 17 year old bully when he doesn’t get his way. I remember asking why seventeen? And his son stated, “… because my Dad acts just like the juniors and seniors boys at the high school.”
Striving to be More Emotionally Mature You can become more emotionally mature. If you have people in your life asking you to become healthier in regards to your emotions. You need to become more self-aware of when you’re ranting, pouting, sighing, or acting out like a child. When the stories you’ve made up in your head about a situation carry more emotional weight that what really happened, you may be creating unnecessary drama.
Decide today to access where you are in your emotional maturity and work on how you react under stress. Your family and friends will appreciate it.
Back in my mom’s day. They would show her high school class movies to teach psychology principles. (It was a far cry from the animated musical educational short films I watched called Schoolhouse Rock but it did the trick.)
Here’s one below that talks about Emotional Maturity. In it a teenage girl reflects on her emotional growth, as she remembers episodes in which her love, fear, anger were not always under control
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