“Don’t be Childish!”

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By Thamar Jones
As a teen, have you ever been called childish or “immature” by adults or older peers in your life? If you have, I’d bet you’d love nothing more than to prove them wrong and show the world just how mature you can be.
In general, maturity comes with age but you may not be able to truly mature until you go through different life experiences. Still, if you want to come off as more mature to others, there are a few areas you can tweak. Become more mature by improving your behavior, emotional responses, intellectual abilities, and communication style. In this week’s article we’ll cover some ways to improve your behavior and follow up with emotional maturity next week, with intellectual abilities, and communication style to come in the following weeks.
If you want your behavior to reflect maturity start off with:
Following the rules- If you want to act in a mature fashion, you need to respect authority. No matter where you go—home, school, or work—you will have to obey rules set by authority figures. In most cases, these rules are set to keep you and others safe, so comply with them.
It’s normal for teens to want to push back against authority sometimes. If you want to discuss rules with authority figures, argue your case in a respectful manner. That way, the adult is more likely to listen.
For example, you might say, “Mom and Dad, I’m fifteen now and I think I deserve a later curfew. I always come home on time and I never get into trouble. What do you say?”
Secondly: Be responsible. Follow through with commitments and take care of yourself and your responsibilities on your own as much as you can. If you do get in trouble for some reason, be honest and accept whatever consequences might follow. By holding yourself accountable for your own actions, you can show your maturity to your parents and others.
For example, if your friends have invited you to a sleepover but you already agreed to babysit your younger siblings that night, politely turn your friends down. It might be hard, but being mature means sticking to your commitments and showing you can be trusted to follow through.
Improve your manners. Having good manners shows respect. Proper behavior also helps adults see you as more mature. Good manners cover a wide range of behaviors: saying “yes, sir/ma’am,” answering the phone with “hello,” not interrupting others’ conversations, chewing with your mouth closed, and holding the door for the person walking behind you.
Many rules of etiquette may already have been explained to you. However, you can ask your parents or other adults, “How can I show good manners?” to learn more.
Clean up after yourself. A mature person doesn’t expect others to go around cleaning up their messes. If you’re a teen trying to be mature, then you’ll want to start picking up behind yourself. This means putting your plate away after meals and wiping up any spills. You should also return games, movies, or books to their proper place after using them.
Keep your room tidy by tossing dirty clothes in the laundry and putting away clean clothes in drawers or in the closet. Make your bed each morning immediately after you get up. Place your book bag on a hook behind the door to keep it off the floor. Line up shoes under your bed or on shelves in your closet so you and your parents don’t trip over them.
Make it easier to tidy by setting a timer for 20 minutes and doing a deep-clean of your room once a day. Play some music to make the time go faster.
Develop smart and healthy habits. A mature teen knows to say “no” to delinquent behaviors. Using alcohol and drugs, lying, stealing, fighting, acting recklessly, or destroying others’ property will only get you into trouble or hurt. Instead, be drug-free, wear your seat belt when driving or riding in a car, and stay away from negative influences.
By displaying maturity in your behavior, you will receive more privileges and others will have no choice but to respect the adult that you are becoming!
Next week we explore how we can be more mature emotionally.