The road from childhood to adulthood is different for everyone. It's a path scattered with unpredictable and planned events that develop feelings, morals, personalities, political views, habits, beliefs, tastes in food and drink, ambition – basically everything that makes you who you are today. Of course, everyone has the ability to alter many things along the way but many aspects are so ingrained, people struggle to overcome them.
Puberty is hailed by many as one of the roughest parts of growing up, and it is typically a period that adults are glad is over. Sure, it's an exciting time, normally filled with firsts such as puppy love, discovering strengths and weaknesses, butting heads with authority, and physical and emotional changes, but that stage of life is also often wrought with self-doubt and anxiety over that life-long journey through adulthood that inevitably follows.
Unfortunately, we all know people who get stuck in puberty, friends and relatives who seem to be going with the flow all through the different stages of childhood and pre-pubesence and then hit an invisible wall. While everyone else in their late teens is exploring career opportunities or picking colleges, renting their first apartment, weighing all their life options, this person is still camping out in front of movie theaters to buy tickets to the latest sci-fi flick, making jokes about bodily functions, and rereading Harry Potter books. Sadly, most of these people can't see the following signs that they somehow hit an invisible brick wall they must break down to continue on to adulthood.
15 Living With Your Parents After The Age Of 30
This odd habit has changed considerably over the past 20 or 30 years. As late as 1990, anyone of sound mind and body who lived with their parents past age 18 was considered a major loser. In fact, many adult women during that time wouldn't even date a man who lived with mommy and daddy (and, yes, living in the basement is still living at home!). Now that age limit for acting like an adult has almost doubled in many circles. If a person isn't caring for a sick or feeble family member, living at home at 30 is a glaring indication of serious immaturity. It indicates the person is afraid of being alone, depends on others for such basic necessities as food and laundry service, doesn’t make enough money to live on their own, and/or has childlike ties to their parents and family members that should have naturally subsided as puberty ended.
14 Absence Of Independence
There's a wealth of truth in the adage, "No man is an island," but no man (or woman) should be so dependent on others that they can't make decisions on their own or go shopping or to a movie or restaurant alone. Maintaining a delicate balance between dependence and independence is the key to living a healthy, productive and satisfying adult life. People who need constant company and validation and approval of everything they do by a third party never develop their own opinions and choose to copy others' viewpoints, and judge others based on hearsay rather than personal experience are stuck in perpetual puberty. They are often surrounded by enablers in their family or peer groups who reinforce their lack of independence by always being available rather than simply saying no and forcing the person to grow up, make choices on their own, and learn from both their victories and mistakes.
13 Lack of Self-Control
While occasionally eating a whole pizza or cherry pie for fun or money, a pattern of activities that indicate no restraint or forethought is a red flag that immaturity is running rampant. The signs manifest themselves in a variety of ways, some overtly and others with extreme subtlety. Spending with abandon with no funds to back it up, overeating on a regular basis, playing video games or watching TV for hours on end, and engaging in social media all day or night (or both) are all common signs a person has missed the vital step from puberty into adulthood. All it takes is basic self-control like filling up the day with more mature endeavors such as a job, volunteering, or enrolling in some classes at a local community college to expand your horizons and meet new people, all free (or very affordable) options and available nationwide
12 Emotional Instability
Young children are generally expected to exhibit signs of emotional and psychological instability as they mature. They usually display their frustration at maturation through temper tantrums, which generally include holding their breath, crying, uncontrollable screaming and physically attacking people and objects. While competent parents use various methods of discipline to deter this behavior in children, when young adults engage in such outrageous antics, it's harder to control or accept. Other signs of perpetual puberty are blowing simple incidents and indiscretions out of proportion, exploding into rages when criticized or confronted, holding grudges over simple mistakes made by family and friends, and erratic mood swings. This generally reflects that the person's emotions are out of their control. These symptoms may indicate something more serious like a chemical imbalance or psychological problems but are often just signs of being unable to pass from puberty (or childhood) into adulthood.
11 Roller Coaster Relationships
Teenagers and young adults are expected – even encouraged – to have many different types of friends and to date a variety of people. This helps develop moral codes, appreciate a wide spectrum of viewpoints on beliefs, politics and world events, and discover what they value in people in general, all vital to becoming a fulfilled adult that contributes to society as a whole. People who fail to develop these adult attributes are stuck in a never-ending cycle of jumping from friend to friend and love interest to love interest like sampling all 31 flavors at an ice cream parlor and finding something wrong with all of them. Instead of learning how to discuss and resolve conflicts with friends, family and boyfriends/girlfriends, puberty prisoners choose paths of least resistance including abruptly ending relationships, claiming boredom or incompatibility. While these reasons to end connections may occasionally be valid, the lack of desire to compromise is a strong sign of immaturity.
10 Overwhelming Debt
Money management is one of the most challenging aspects of life and an area in which many mature adults fail, so immaturity only complicates the situation. Credit card companies often send teenagers cards before they've ever held jobs and have no clue about interest rates or late fees. The debt problem is frequently complicated by student loan and car payments and by the time this group hits their 20s, they're drowning in bills they can't pay. Those stuck in puberty bury their heads in the sand and are soon asking family and friends for handouts every month to pay for basic living expenses like rent, food, utility bills and basic medical costs. More mature spenders create a budget, cut or reduce non-essential spending, and figure out ways to dig themselves out of the hole they've created by childish decisions based on fantasy and wishful thinking.
9 Too Much Physical Intimacy
Chemistry during intimacy is arguably one of the most magical feelings in life. At its best, you'd swear you feel electrical currents pulsing through your veins, transforming you into a veritable love robot. But if you think you feel this phenomenon on a regular basis and jump into the sack often and soon after meeting someone, that's a sure sign of immaturity, not chemistry. Mature relationships are built on trust, reliance, common interests, compatible goals and other non-physical factors. Not to say physical compatibility is not important to a romantic relationship, it just shouldn't consume it. Lack of self control is expected (and hopefully dissuaded) in small children but has absolutely no place in adult couplings. People hopelessly trapped in puberty often change partners as frequently as a square dancer and miss the satisfaction of experiencing many other facets of mature love that are as fulfilling as physical gratification.
8 Constantly Defying Authority
There's absolutely nothing wrong with questioning authority when you believe a genuine affront to your rights has been committed. After all, our country was born out of civil disobedience. But if you scream, "Foul!" every time someone calls you on in infraction of standard rules put forth by the authority of governing agencies like the IRS, state and local regulatory agencies, and cops, you'll not only subject yourself to more pain and suffering, you'll prove beyond a shadow of doubt that you're acting like a spoiled child who has never been told, "No." People trapped in the throes of puberty often have a problem with anyone asking or telling them to do anything, no matter how insignificant. More mature adults understand the wisdom of choosing battles, which means recognizing the difference between what is a true affront and worth questioning and what are merely concessions necessary to function in society.
7 Unfinished Work and Projects
Children are known for having very short attention spans, which is why it normally takes a variety of toys to entertain them and the books you read to them have so few pages. As people mature, their attention deficit typically dissipates, giving them the ability to focus on 2-hour movies, cook a complete dinner, read long novels, and generally complete whatever they start. Those stuck in teenage sets of mind start multiple projects with great enthusiasm and then quickly lose interest and abandon them, resulting in half painted pictures, one knitted square for an afghan throw, and birdhouses with no roofs. With maturity comes the dedication to see ventures through from start to finish. Slaves to puberty lack self-discipline and ultimately confound their problems by feeling guilty for their lack of follow-through. Finishing just one long-term task often gives them the boost they need to repeat the process.
6 Not Being Able To Say No
Always saying yes is as bad, if not worse, than always answering no to people. Victims of not progressing into adulthood are like children and teens who believe the only way to get a cookie or borrow the family car is to say yes to everything their parents ask, questioning nothing, not even asking why when it's appropriate and logical. That behavior may earn a child a ribbon for being well-behaved and conciliatory but as an adult, it typically leads to always being a follower, a peacemaker, a pacifist, sometimes referred to as a doormat. Not only are "yes" people repeatedly abused by the users of the world, they never rise to positions of authority because their apparent lack of self-respect causes friends and family not to respect them either. Being nice is an asset too many people lack but like many good things, in excess it becomes a negative.
5 The Need To Be The Center Of Attention
It's completely normal for both adults and children to seek appreciation and acknowledgement for outstanding performance and achievements. Receiving approval builds self-esteem and encourages people to shoot for even higher goals. But a sure sign a person is trapped in puberty is their need to be praised for even the smallest (and expected) accomplishments such as arriving on time for an appointment or lunch date, cooking a meal for themselves, or simply doing laundry. They also expect gifts they give to be the "favorite" of the recipient and clever remarks they make to be repeated ad nauseum. Immature people also have a problem with loyalty, quickly discarding any acquaintances they feel may steal their spotlight or who are no longer useful to them as eye candy, chauffeuring them all over town, or repeatedly lending them money. All in all, being stuck in puberty often manifests itself in impulsive behavior and thoughtlessness.
4 Never Having A Job Longer Than Six Months
Being stuck in puberty can make holding down a job for more than six months extremely difficult, especially if the person suffers from other hindrances of the syndrome such as no self control, emotional instability, problems with authority figures, not finishing tasks, and the need to be the center of attention. Even the inability to say no can lead to bosses and coworkers taking advantage of immature people constantly seeking any approval available and volunteering to do the most menial tasks. Those people eventually get the boot because they demonstrate no potential to grow, learn, and take on more responsibility. Immature people are notorious job hoppers, typically claiming they were bored (which often translates to lazy) or the boss didn't like them (because they actually told them what was expected of them to do their job), excuses usually heard from the mouths of small children.
3 Always Being A "Victim"
Te characteristic of being suspended in unending puberty often begins in childhood and is sadly and frequently perpetuated by parents who refuse to think their child ever does anything naughty or exercises poor judgment. When kids hear their parents blame teachers for their poor grades and accuse the child's friends for forcing them to take part in adolescent pranks, the child often carries that victimization fantasy into adulthood. As their minds develop and imaginations grow, these people have illusions that people, as a whole and individually, are plotting against them, hell-bent on holding them back both personally and professionally. This viewpoint on life is not only chillingly odd but also underscores the belief that as the center of attention, puberty-bound people believe they are important enough to garner such profound consideration either negatively or positively. Seeing oneself as a victim is often so distracting it costs the sufferer in social settings as well as professional ones.
2 Badmouthing Everyone
The boom of social media in the past couple of decades, specifically Facebook, was the greatest gift those gripped by eternal puberty who live to throw shade on people could have ever hoped for. Formerly limited to bashing people in private conversations or sharing scathing remarks when addressing large groups, this sector can now bully, badmouth and shame anyone they please without any consequences, often times anonymously, a clear sign of serious immaturity and cowardice. Pop psychology has long claimed that saying detrimental things about people behind their backs, true or not, is a sign of low self-esteem, a trait shared by many who can't seem to make it to the door leading to adulthood, much less open it and start down the road to maturity. Rumormongers and naysayers have long been characterized as immature and this group backs up that theory in spades.
1 Falling In Love Too Quickly
If you ask a person over 50 years old how many times they've been "in love" the answer is usually under 5 times and almost never more than 10. But if you ask someone in their early 20s the same question, the answer typically much higher. Time seems to put true love experiences in perspective for most people but those doomed to being a prisoner of puberty sometimes never stop falling in love with every person they hook up with, either socially or sexually. And since they actually believe they were in love and can't distinguish between physical or emotional attraction and real love and commitment, when each relationship in the string ends badly, they endure heartache over and over again. Wisdom is supposed to come with age and maturity, but folks stuck in this sad cycle will experience undue pain and suffering until they break their pattern of behavior.