The Disconnect Between Biological and Mental Maturity

18 years old is a watershed for a child from a minor to an adult. In a legal sense, at this age, people begin to take real responsibility for their actions.
For children, this is also the starting point for them to really start to take control of their lives.

However, does reaching the age of 18 mean that people have really grown up? Actually not. In addition to actual physical age, there is also a concept called mental age.
Some people have grown up biologically, but that doesn’t mean they are mature enough mentally. Some people may not be 18 years old physically, but they have become a mature adult mentally.

In fact, in daily life, we can often find such a problem in adults: their mental age does not match their biological age.

Compared with their biological age, their mental age lags behind in development, and they still stay in the mental state of children. This is why many adults suffer.

If you’re constantly in pain, there’s a good chance you’re still in a “child mental state.” So, what is the “child mental state” mean?

Psychologists divide people’s mental states into three types: children’s mental states, adult mental states, and parents’ mental states. These three states do not exist independently in most cases, but switch back and forth in different life scenarios.

For example , when getting along with strangers, many people will adjust themselves to an adult psychological state, communicate with strangers with a more calm, objective, and mature attitude, and demonstrate strong self-control and social skills.

However, when getting along with the closest people, people tend to get along with relatives and friends in a more relaxed state of mind. In this case, the problems in a person’s heart are easily exposed.

Some adults who have never grown up will show their children’s psychological state to the fullest at this moment.

The first striking feature of the mental state of a child is the inability to take responsibility for his actions. Generally speaking, people of this type are basically grown up in these two family environments , the first is the doting type , and the second is the controlling type.

The common thread between doting and controlling parents is that they do everything in their child’s life for them.

Doting parents are afraid that their children will be hurt and want to give them all the best. Growing up in this environment, children completely lose their independence. They don’t know how to take responsibility for what they do because they always have their parents behind them.
Controlling parents regard their children as their own appendages, make decisions for their children, and control their children’s lives.

Children who grow up in this environment have no chance to dominate their own lives. After a long time, they get used to obeying their parents’ arrangements and completely lose the ability to be responsible for their own lives.

Even after growing up, it is difficult for this type of child to become a truly independent adult. Although their physical age has been increasing, their mental age has been stuck in childhood.
When something happens in life, their first reaction is to rely on their parents. If they do something wrong, they will habitually pass all the responsibility to their parents.

In recent years, the term “family of origin” has not only been well-known by the public, but also overused by many people. There are many people who have just learned a little psychological knowledge and apply the theory of native family to themselves.

I attribute my misfortune in my life to my original family, and blame my parents for all my pain.
But in fact, from a psychological point of view , a child with a bad native family and a child with a bad life because of a bad native family are completely different things.

Although some children failed to experience a happy childhood, they were able to find light in the shadows. And those behaviors that only know to attribute all pain to the original family are precisely a manifestation of psychological immaturity.

The second characteristic of children’s self-state is that they cannot correctly evaluate themselves.

An adult with an independent personality and a mature mind can correctly evaluate himself, but in childhood, because the child’s mind is immature, he is easily influenced by the outside world and has a bad evaluation of himself.

For example, when the teacher criticizes the students, most of the students will have a sense of shame. They will easily doubt themselves, are they not doing well enough? Is it because I am not loved by the teacher? Are you a bad person?

If an adult stays at this psychological age, then when they grow up, they will think or solve problems in the same way when they encounter similar problems.

For example, when they receive some negative evaluations in their lives, even if these negative evaluations are not truly objective, they will subconsciously seek the reasons for themselves.
They cannot evaluate themselves objectively and correctly, and are easily influenced by external evaluations, and they will also have a lot of negative emotions as a result.

So, what does an adult who has really reached maturity in mental age do?
First of all, a truly mature adult will objectively analyze whether these negative evaluations are objective and correct. If other people’s criticism is really justified, then adults will accept it with a kind of “it’s not right” attitude, and work hard to correct it.

If the other party’s words are wrong, they will only take these comments as rumors and will not take them to heart.

The third characteristic of children’s mental state is to solve problems with emotions. When children are young, they do not have the ability to distinguish right from wrong.

All they know is that they will feel particularly unhappy when their parents reject their request, so they cry and use their emotions to solve the problem.

However, many people still use this method to solve problems when they grow up.
When they are in a relationship, if their partner rejects their request, they will equate the rejection with “not in love”.

In the workplace, if colleagues reject their requests, they will regard the rejection as “disrespect” and “deliberate embarrassment”, which will create a bad impression on colleagues.
In the eyes of these people, they cannot be rejected. They will not regard rejection as a normal objective phenomenon, but believe that the so-called love and liking are obedience.

Once rejected, they will raise this ordinary behavior to an emotional category.

Therefore, many people still use emotions to solve problems after they become adults. They are always suffering because others do not love and respect themselves enough, but they are not aware of the problems in themselves.

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