Immature Child, Anyone Have This Problem?

Updated on September 05, 2014
A.H. asks from Minnetonka, MN
12 answers

Does anyone have a child who is socially immature compared to their peers? DD turned 12 on 8/20 and today is her 1st day of middle school. We kept her back from kindergarten because she was immature, and is still immature, despite being kept back. She reacts inappropriately to kids who are bothering her, cries over tiny things, doesn't know when the joke isn't funny anymore. I've seen some maturation over the summer. She's slightly better at regulating her emotions, but I don't think it will last in school when she faces more pressure than she does at home. She does see a therapist and I am looking into a social skills group before. I tried vitamin B12 and these gluten free diets in the past and none of them worked. Does anyone else have this issue?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Miami on

Have you had her evaluated? If she cannot read people's social cues, you should have the doctor have her evaluated.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Modesto on

Kids (small people) mature differently.
Dont label her.
Be glad she's not flouncing around trying to be sexy.
Arrested development is not a bad thing.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

She's twelve. She doesn't need to act like a grown-up yet; she will have the rest of her life to do that. One of my daughters is immature, and I really think it's fine. Yeah, it's annoying that she finds fart jokes so hilarious, but you know, it doesn't hurt anything.

Just let her be.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

Yes, that is my daughter, and that was me. I didn't want my drivers license until after i was 17. I didn't feel sex as a teen was appropriate and I waited. I never did drugs. I was an old soul, embracing the more protective morals of the 1950s, and that internal maturity made me embrace the simplicity of earlier childhoods. Externally, it showed me as immature. I didn't want to grow up and deal with the stresses of my peer group. I wanted to stay a child and be protected and cared for. It was hard to be socially immature, but it also served as natural protection for me. I just didn't get into trouble, but I still dealt with the world through tantrums and tears much later than I should have. I took jokes too far, could dish it out but couldn't take it, and had a hard time fitting in socially.

I still cry easily, but then, so does my dad. He's a wonderfully sensitive and strong man. It's just who he is, and it's who I am. I don't tantrum, but it can't help that sensitivity, which can be very embarrassing. It can be hard to watch your kid be out of the norm, but they do grow into who they're going to be. Fish oil makes a huge difference in my daughter's ability to handle life, and during her first year of middle school, I was able to start really seeing things that were bothering her and addressing them. It took a long time to identify it, but our dialogue is more open and targeted and she is blooming so far in 7th grade. She never has felt like her emotions are in her control, but with my help and therapy, she's starting to be able to talk about her reactions and tantrums and anxiety. Be patient and stay the course. If you feel like messaging me, feel free. I totally get it.

Eta: my daughter's immaturity goes beyond emotion - she still plays with younger toys and rejects the social media her peers crave. Like me, she has an internal maturity that causes her to reject the childhood of today and crave a simpler time. She feels like the world is growing up too fast and leaving her behind. She is protective of her childhood - it's a double edged sword.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

I was immature for my age growing up. I was 17 before I even wanted to go on a date. I got made fun of a lot by the bad girls in high school. I was very involved with the youth group at my church. There - I was one of the crowd. My advice is find an interest or group that your daughter fits in and let her grow up at her own speed. Give her some responsibilities that may be for someone more responsible and see how she does. I am grown now - but girls I grew up with that were immature ended up actually being a lot closer to their moms than the girls who matured at a faster rate. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would work harder to embrace her as she is right now. She very, very likely has picked up on the idea -- even if you have never, ever said it out loud to her -- that "Mom thinks there's something wrong with me." Believe me, even if she's immature, she knows how you feel and may be thinking that you see her as somehow a problem to be solved. That in turn could be making her cling harder to being a kid.

Kids are very perceptive and pick up on how parents regard them -- even if you have taken care never to say a word to her.

As others have noted, putting it in my own words: Don't rush her to be more "mature." I expect you're concerned that, since she's starting middle school, she is possibly a target for teasing or even bullying since she's not as "mature" (read: tough or worldly) as other kids. While yes, it is possible that other kids will pick on her, it is also possible that she is going to find a group of friends who are more like her -- kids who are not interested in the same things as the rest of the kids.

Please be sure to encourage her to participate in some of the school's extracurriculars based on her interest (not on whatever extracurriculars you think might make her more mature). Does the school offer a student newspaper? Interviewing other teachers and kids could help her work on social skills (and most student papers are very forgiving about writing skills, if she's not big on writing). Is there an after-school drama club where she could enjoy acting or, alternatively, lighting or backstage work if she's interested but not in acting? Have her do one solid activity based on her interests.

Same applies outside school. If she does not have activities, work with her to find some -- let her drive it. If she is already in activities that aren't really clicking, please let her drop them; for instance, if she is in a sport that she doesn't love (and which brings on the tears), let her drop it! And replace it with something else -- Girl Scouts (which can be great if it's a good troop with an experienced leader who is good at getting every girl a role in activities), or a church group if that's your thing, or a different sport, or an arts activity at the local rec center or whatever. I am not saying to schedule her constantly, just to be sure that you review whatever she does now to ensure it's making her happy, and that you have her be the one to decide on new activities where she'll be with other kids. She will find more maturity as she starts to do well in whatever activity interests her.

Why is she seeing a therapist? Is it solely because you have concerns about her maturity, or are there other things going on--? If it's the former, and you have her in therapy just because she's immature in your eyes, please reconsider. What does the therapist say about her? What has the therapist recommended you, as a whole family, do with your daughter?

If there are other reasons she's seeing the therapist, fair enough, but do talk alone with the therapist about whether your own concerns about maturity are really more about your fears she'll be teased and isn't tough enough for middle school. You can't make her tougher, or teach her never to cry, but the therapist may help you as the mom see whether you're projecting some of your own fears onto her.

I'm not sure why vitamins or diet would have anything at all to do with her maturity. If she is physically immature, that's different, and a doctor would be the one to talk to about food and vitamins, but those things have nothing to do with helping her be mature socially. Again, I'd really suggest you talk to her therapist about your worries and get some guidance on whether your expectations for your child's maturity are just too high and not realistic.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm wishing you the very best of motherhood. While I know that you are working hard to help your daughter, I would suggest that at the same time you project total acceptance of whatever level she is at. This is very hard to do, when you so dearly want her to be accepted by others. But I believe that your acceptance is so, so, much more important. All my best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

is she autistic by chance?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I'd focus on working out some coping mechanisms for her. Being socially awkward and immature doesn't go away, you learn to cope and navigate.

Roleplay how to deal with kids who are bothering her....with the full understanding that her lens is different than the norm. So if you know that she won't be able to "stand up for herself," just encourage her to leave the situation or go up to an adult with an unrelated question. If she needs to cry, encourage her to come talk to people she can trust. Say to herself, "This can wait until I can talk to mom."

A good daily calendar to use (our middle schools give them to the students anyway) is helpful. She can write down more than just assignments in it, she can write a reminder of something to work on or talk with you about. Show her how to keep things organized, including her feelings. Teach her to speak to her feelings. "I'm feeling _____" and "You look like you are feeling ______. Is there anything I can do to help?" To work on recognizing feelings and social cues, not not crossing boundaries she doesn't pick up on.

Overall, be her guide. Talk out these things. Help her self identify her emotions, and ask her what she sees when talking with others (go someplace to people-watch and ask her how she thinks people are feeling based on their facial expressions and body language.... that mom scolding her child... how is she feeling? (Frustrated and tired)) Encourage LOTS of reading of fiction (which helps socially awkward and immature kids begin to identify body language in real life because of how books describe that body language and link it to emotions and words).

You can work through this, but it doesn't have to be a big deal. She's just needing further guidance to develop skills and coping mechanisms.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Let her be. So she is immature. Would you want her overly matured discussing inappropriate things, dressing like a 21 year old. Immature can be a good thing. Embrace her innocence.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My daughter is 11 and many of her friends are similar. In fact, my daughter seems younger than most 11 year olds to me too, in the fact that she still likes younger kid activities and toys. I think it's great that you are working on regulating emotions, but it seems very common to me in the preteen stage that some kids are still working on this. We had a friend of my daughter over recently and in a span of 4 hours, she had overreacted about 3 times, twice with tears. I think a lot of it comes down to personality.



answers from Portland on

If she has friends and does well with learning I would not be too concerned. Kids mature at different rates. It's possible your attention to her immaturity is causing her to be overly sensitive. What does the therapist suggest.

My 11 yo grandson is much like your description of your daughter. He's on the autism spectrum. These traits fit with Aspergers. He is aware that he has difficulty with social skills but just isn't able to noticably change his behavior. I've known brilliant and average people lacking in social skills even as adults. They are successful in different ways. They are who they are. Acceptance goes a long way towards helping them feel good about themselves.

I've suggest she is likely to catch up maturity wise by the time she's an adult. I was an awkward child and teen. By the time I was 30 I'd been a teacher with some maturity issues and then a police officer. It took me abit longer to catch up socially with my peers.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions