Growing up, my dad would get so angry when work didn’t go his way for the day. He would avoid me and throw a fit about how things were just going down the toilet. I remember asking him during one of his blowups what had happened. To my surprise, he said one of his employees didn’t fill the truck back up after a long trip. I asked, “Couldn’t he just do it in the morning?” My dad doubled down in his anger. I remember walking away thinking he was reacting rather childishly.
That day, I lost a little respect for my dad. Just because you’re an adult does not automatically mean you are mature. Your maturity—or lack thereof—shows up in how you react to life situations. The level of mental development and wisdom you display in different situations reveals your maturity level to your kids. And immature parents are damaging to kids. They need healthy and mature dads in their lives to learn from. Here are 5 signs you’re an immature dad.
1. Immature dads are self-involved.
Being self-involved as an immature dad means you somehow make every situation about you. When your kids do something great on the ball field, an immature dad will make it all about him instead of championing the kid. He is the dad stepping in front of his son for the team pictures. When you do this, our children feel devalued and confused. Mature dads recognize when to let their kids have their moments—moments they will remember for the rest of their lives.
2. Immature dads are distant in hard situations.Mature dads lean into the struggle and show their kids what it looks like to face obstacles with perseverance.
Immature parents are scared of showing real emotions and tend to pull back from being too close to anyone at home. In not understanding their own emotions, they make sure they have distance between themselves and hard situations. If you back out every time life gets hard, you are showing your kids that they should do the same thing. Mature dads lean into the struggle and show their kids what it looks like to face obstacles with perseverance.
3. Immature dads avoid conflict.
Immature dads who avoid conflict are more likely to give their kids anything and everything they want. In trying to avoid conflict, we raise kids who do not understand the word “no.” This is also harmful to our kids because they learn to take advantage of Dad and often pit him against Mom to get their way. Mature dads are not doormats; they lead with standards and values even when it means their kids might get upset.
4. Immature dads have excuses for everything.
It’s always someone else’s fault. Immature parents don’t take responsibility for their actions or own up to all areas of their lives. When our kids constantly hear a parent make excuses, they tend to be great at coming up with excuses themselves. One of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is to let them see how you handle adversity with honor and dignity. You will teach them exactly what you want them to do as adults without ever having to say a word. Mature dads do not make excuses. They find solutions.
5. Immature dads are passive.
It is easy to be passive and let our kids figure out life on their own. Kids run the house when parents are passive. It takes a lot of maturity and energy to walk with our kids, teaching and training them as they grow. When we refuse to be passive and instead spend the time our kids need from us now, we will see the return on our investment when they grow up. We must choose each day to be involved, included, and intentional in all areas of our kids’ lives. When we are active, not passive, we are leading from a place of presence and our kids are not running the house—we are.
Sound off: What are other signs of an immature dad?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “In what ways do you think you’ve become more mature this year?”