It’s normal to wonder what it’s like to be a kid again. Many adults also like to relive childhood memories by enjoying the pleasures of childhood. It’s not unusual to see grown adults eat ice cream and cotton candy, or go to carnivals or watch morning cartoons. The problem is that some people take “reliving their childhood” all too seriously, to the point that they start acting like children. Some people may be incapable of making rational, grown-up decisions, or choose not to because they’re not competent enough to handle decisions at adults. Sometimes, they even go to the length of acting like children.
Infantile and childish behavior may seem “cute” for some, but it can be irritating for many people. As adults, we are all expected to think and act our age. Childish behavior is not only grating, but it can cast serious doubts on whether or not a person should be taken seriously. If you have a friend, family member, or a workmate who acts too immature, here are some ways to get rid of the bad habit.
Most childish people are perfectly capable of making rational, critical decisions on their own, but they prefer not to do so because they thrive on attention. Immature adults are attention-seekers more than anything else. While they are competent and can look after themselves, they want other people to make decisions for them because it seems “innocent” or “cute.”
One of the best things you can do to get rid of a childish person is to simply ignore him or her. Most immature people become very competent and independent adults when people no longer give them all the attention they crave. It takes some time before a childish person will get the message, but he or she will eventually understand that his or her cute antics will go nowhere.
If They Act Like Babies, Treat Them Like Babies
Sometimes reverse psychology is a very effective way to get rid of a childish person. If a person you know acts like a baby, it may do you well to treat him or her like one. While you don’t have to go to the supermarket to buy adult-sized diapers and bottles of baby food, you can still treat an immature person like the overgrown spoiled brat that he or she is:
- Attend to their whims. The key to making this tactic work is to not respond at all to their needs, but to do them favors they don’t really need. Treat them in such a way that they themselves become extremely irritated and annoyed by how you respond to their needs.
- Speak in a patronizing, babying voice. If someone constantly acts like a child, then he or she should be addressed as a child. As soon as they talk, don’t take their opinions and thoughts seriously. They’ll soon understand that their antics keep them from being taken seriously by other people. Eventually, they’ll get the message that they need independence and conviction to get somewhere in life.
- Keep pinching their cheeks. Some people try too hard to be cute, and expect to be complimented on how young or how cute they are. Compliment them to the point of complete annoyance. Pinch their cheeks, and tell them how cute they really are even in the most absurd and strangest situations.
- Take them to children’s places. Sometimes a grown adult takes childishness just a bit too far, and acts immature all the time. When this happens, you can take them to restaurants, parks, and other recreational places where they can act like children. Buy them toys, kiddie meals, balloons, cotton candy, and things that are only for children. At the very least, they would realize how wrong they are in acting like little kids all the time.
Confront Them Heads-On
Reverse psychology doesn’t work all the time. Sometimes you have to give a respectful, diplomatic explanation to a grown adult to say that he or she doesn’t act his or her age. Here are some explanations that even a child would understand:
- It isn’t look or sound cute anymore. Professional conduct is required in many schools and workplaces. Dress codes and etiquette may sound stifling, but they are enforced for a reason. Besides, if you’re irritated by the child-like antics of a friend or a family member, chances are other people are irritated at him or her too.
- Many critical decisions have to be made independently. Grown-ups need to make decisions on the fly, especially when they need to be made as soon as possible. Some immature and childlike people expect that people would make decisions for them, and all they need to do is agree. Tell them that there are times that they need to make critical and important decisions on their own.
- Grown-ups need to take responsibilities. Childishness is often a sign of irresponsible behavior. Sometimes, a child-like retort is passed off as an explanation for why a task was not accomplished, or was not done right. The rule is that if you’re old enough to vote or pay taxes, you’re old enough to take responsibility for the rest of your life.
Set Limits and Expectations
As much as people are expected to act their age, there are some exceptions to the rule. Sometimes it helps to be a bit childish, like in parties, if you’re really stressed out with work, or if you’re out to have some fun.
Even if it helps to be childish, it should only be treated as a way to break the ice. Grown-ups still have responsibilities and expectations, and fun should not get in the way of getting the job done. Remember to put childish pranks and behaviors into context. If you feel that the gag is a bit off, or if you feel that some people are offended by childishness, then it’s better to lay off the childish pranks and behavior.
Seek Professional Help
Childishness can sometimes be so extreme that there’s no rational or acceptable reason for it anymore. “Adult babies” and “diaper lovers” (AB/DL) do find pleasure in wearing diapers or acting like babies for sexual and psychological satisfaction. Infantilism is often considered to be a paraphilia, or an extreme sexual interest. While most paraphiliacs do acknowledge their unusual fantasies and refuse psychological care, intervention may be necessary if infantilistic fetishes get in the way of living a normal and productive life.
Grown-ups demand that the people around them act their age. Now that you know how to get rid of childish people, you can expect that you won’t be the unofficial baby-sitter for grown-up babies any more.
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