Oct 8, 2019
What is an Emotionally Immature Parent, & How to Identify a
Lindsay Gibson, PsyD.
Dr. Lindsay Gibson, author of Adult Children of Emotionally
Immature Parents, & Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents
explains what an emotionally immature parent is, and how this
impacts their adult children. I talk about crying when I got
overwhelmed when my kids were young, and Lindsay comments on this.
We talk about how to establish good emotional ties with our
children, and what constitutes good enough parenting,
Lindsay provides nineteen qualities to identify what a healthy
relationship looks like.
- What is emotionally immaturity?
- Why is it important to understand it?
- What are the main characteristics of an emotionally immature
- How do relationships with emotionally immature parents affect
their children’s lives?
- What are the main things to remember when dealing with
emotionally immature parents?
- If you’re dating, how do you pick a person who is emotionally
- How do you identify what a healthy relationship looks
- What is our human Bill of Rights?
- We talk about repair work with parenting
- I share that I’d get really frustrated with my boys when they
were young, and I’d cry because I didn’t know what else to do
- Lindsay talks about how she views this
- We talk about the pressures of parenting
- Lindsay explains what good enough parenting is—which
should be very reassuring to parents!
- I share about having a tantrum when my son had a tantrum and
how it felt lousy afterward
- We’d do good repair work, but I eventually learned to stay
- I would also let my boys know when I was edgy and close to
loosing it. I would let them know what they could do to help
- They’ve told me as young adults how helpful this was to
- We talk about emotional intimacy with our children
- How do we let ourselves be known by our children when we are
having difficult feelings
- How to establish good emotional ties with our kids in a good
- Winnicut talks about good enough parenting
- Research shows that it just takes 30% of being a good
enough parent in order to have a favorable outcome
- Lindsay gives an example of how an adult child could set a
limit with their emotionally immature parent if they decided not to
spend Thanksgiving with the family
- When adult children set limits with their emotionally immature
parents, the parent feels rejected; unloved or they have a strong
- When setting a boundary, you want to stay present to your own
- You want to be able to have empathy and acknowledge what it is
like for the other person
- You want to remember what your goal is for the interaction, so
your intention is clear for yourself
- You also have an opportunity to observe how the other person is
reacting, and the defenses that they use
- Emotionally Healthy Relationships
- Is the person generally realistic and reliable?
- Do they work with reality rather than fighting it?
- Are they finding ways to solve problems or are they complaining
about how they’ve been victimized?
- Do they have a consistent and reliable nature about them?
- Do they take things personally?
- When they get upset, can they still think? Do they lose the
ability to be rational?
- Signs of temper, impatience or impulsivity should be a red
flag—those are cardinal signs of immaturity
- Another red flag is when a person gets very upset, then tells
you it’s just because they love you
- You want your partner to be reciprocal; you do something for
them and they do something for you
- You set a boundary, and they say OK
- If you set a boundary, and your partner tries to talk you out
of it, or walk you out of it, that is two red flags
- Boundaries at the beginning of the relationship will tell you
almost everything you want to know about that person
- Being flexible and able to compromise is a sign of
- You want someone who is basically truthful; that you can trust
who they are
- Does the person respond to you in a manner that you feel safe,
and seen and heard?
- Do they reflect on their mistakes and try and change, or do
they make excuses?
- Do they reflect when you tell them you’re mad at them, or do
they say, “Why do you keep bringing that up? What’s wrong with
- If they can’t accept when you’re angry and they get defensive,
that’s about having a major lack of empathy
- Your partner is thin skinned meaning they do not allow
other’s reactions to happen, because that person gets so
- Nobody is more intrinsically important as an adult than anybody
- They way that emotionally immature people react with guilt,
shame, fear and self-doubt, can make the other person start to
doubt their reality
- This is where you have to remember that “There’s good stuff in
Lindsay Gibson, PsyD. has been a licensed clinical psychologist
for over thirty years and specializes in individual adult
psychotherapy with adult children of emotionally immature parents.
She is the author of three books, the most recent
being Adult Children of Emotionally Immature
Parents and just out in May of this
year, Recovering from Emotionally Immature
Parents. In the past Dr. Gibson has served as an adjunct
assistant professor teaching doctoral psychology students, and she
writes a monthly Well-Being column
for Tidewater Women magazine in Virginia Beach,
Patricia Young hosts the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive, and
works with Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) helping them to
understand their HSP traits, and turning their perceived
shortcomings into superpowers. Patricia is passionate about
providing education to help HSPs and non-HSPs understand and truly
appreciate the amazing gifts they have to offer. Patricia works
globally online with HSPs providing coaching. Patricia also
facilitates online groups for HSPs that focus on building community
and developing skills (identifying your superpowers, boundaries,
perfectionism, dealing with conflict, mindfulness, embracing
emotions, creating a lifestyle that supports the HSP, communication
Dr. Elaine Aron’s website—HSP self-test
Dr. Gibson’s book was translated from English to Russian by
Elena Tereshchnkova You can find the actual translator
Facebook group Unapologetically Sensitive-- https://www.facebook.com/groups/2099705880047619/
Music-- Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson www.andyrobinson.com