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An Honest Conversation About Growing Up with Emotionally Immature Parents: A Candid Conversation with Mina Yoon + Helen Garcia

In the latest episode of Yellow Chair Collective’s podcast, therapist Mina Yoon peels back the layers of her upbringing. She offers listeners an intimate glimpse into the complexities of growing up with an emotionally immature parent and being diagnosed with ADHD later in her life.

For those who have walked a similar path, Mina’s story resonates deeply. It’s a journey marked by the struggle to set boundaries, the weight of guilt and shame, and the relentless pursuit of self-validation. As Mina reflects on her own trajectory, listeners find solace in the shared recognition of their own struggles. 

In the words of Mina herself, “Finding freedom in small steps towards authenticity”—a poignant reminder that healing is not a destination but a lifelong journey. So, to all those who have walked this path, know that you are not alone. Together, we navigate the complexities of growing up with emotionally immature parents, forging a path towards healing, resilience, and self-acceptance.

What It’s Like Growing Up with an Emotionally Immature Parent

Emotionally immature parents (EIPs) are typically so self-preoccupied that they fail to be attuned to their children’s internal experiences. To take it a step further, many EIPs actually promote “role reversal,” in which the parent becomes the child, relying on their children to be their emotional caretakers. They also can be emotionally insensitive, lack empathy and self-awareness, and can feel nearly impossible to communicate with.

Children depend on their caretakers not only for their physical health and safety, but also as their primary source of emotional intimacy, safety, and dependence. Without that, these children often develop a profound, seemingly inconsolable sense of emotional loneliness that carries into adulthood.

Growing up with emotionally immature parents can leave lasting scars on one’s psyche, shaping how we perceive ourselves and interact with the world. However, it’s essential to recognize that healing is possible. 

In this blog, we’ll explore strategies and insights to navigate the journey of healing from the impact of emotionally immature parents.

7 Steps Towards Healing

1. Understanding Emotional Immaturity

Emotionally immature parents often struggle to regulate their emotions, communicate effectively, and meet their children’s emotional needs. This can lead to an array of challenges for their children, including difficulty setting boundaries, feelings of guilt and shame, and a lack of trust in their own instincts. A great first step to healing is to do your own research to learn more about emotional immaturity and how it has manifested in your parent(s), and therefore in your childhood.

2. Recognizing the Impact

Acknowledging the impact of growing up with emotionally immature parents is a critical step to healing and increasing self-awareness. Take time to reflect on how your upbringing has influenced your beliefs, behaviors, and relationships. Examine how your view of the world, relationships, and yourself have been shaped by these experiences. Understanding the root causes of your struggles can empower you to take proactive steps towards healing.

3. Setting Boundaries

One of the most crucial aspects of healing is learning to set boundaries with your emotionally immature parents. This may involve establishing clear limits on how they interact with you, prioritizing your own well-being, and asserting your needs and preferences. Remember that setting boundaries is not selfish—it’s an essential act of self-care. For many Asian Americans, this concept may be difficult as boundaries may seem to contradict collectivist values. However, it is important to keep in mind that boundaries are meant to preserve relationships – in such a way that all parties involved (including you) can show up authentically and feel safe doing so.

4. Seeking Support

Healing from the effects of emotionally immature parents can be a challenging journey, and you don’t have to navigate it alone. Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who specializes in childhood trauma and family dynamics. Therapy can provide a safe space to process your experiences, gain new insights, and develop coping strategies. Additionally, joining a support group may provide a sense of community and validation in what can feel like a very isolating experience.

5. Practicing Self-Compassion

Be gentle with yourself as you embark on the journey of healing. It’s natural to experience a range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and frustration. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Remember that healing takes time, and it’s okay to progress at your own pace.

6. Cultivating Healthy Relationships

Building healthy relationships outside of your family can be a vital part of the healing process. Surround yourself with supportive friends, mentors, and community members who uplift and validate you. These connections can provide a sense of belonging and acceptance that may have been lacking in your upbringing.

7. Embracing Your Authentic Self

Ultimately, healing from the impact of emotionally immature parents is about reclaiming your sense of self and embracing your authenticity. Allow yourself to explore your passions, interests, and values without judgment or inhibition. Celebrate your strengths and vulnerabilities, knowing that they make you uniquely you.


Healing from growing up with emotionally immature parents is a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and empowerment. By recognizing the impact of your upbringing, setting boundaries, seeking support, practicing self-compassion, cultivating healthy relationships, and embracing your authentic self, you can reclaim your power and create a life filled with meaning, connection, and fulfillment. Remember, you are worthy of love, validation, and healing.

Seek Individual Therapy at Yellow Chair Collective in Los Angeles or New York

If you are seeking therapy specifically tailored to your needs, consider reaching out to the culturally sensitive therapists at Yellow Chair Collective. We understand that different parts of our identities can show up in different parts of our lives, and that it can make navigating relationships difficult. We also understand that there may be unique cultural and contextual factors that may influence your experiences.

At our Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, NY-based therapy practice, we have many skilled, trauma-informed therapists who can provide an empowering therapeutic experience. For your added convenience and simplicity, we offer online therapy for anyone in the state of California or New York. We know that the path to healing as an adult child of an emotionally immature parent can be isolating, and we want to support you on your journey. Follow the steps below to begin.

Join an Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents Support Group in Los Angeles, CA, and New York, NY

You don’t have to struggle alone as you navigate your healing journey. Our team of therapists is happy to offer support groups and therapy across California and New York. You can find community in your healing with YCC by following these simple steps:

  1. Fill out our registration form here or below using the prompt
  2. You will be notified of the next support group cohort
  3. Start navigating your healing journey alongside a community

Other Services at Yellow Chair Collective

There are many options for treatment using online therapy in California and New York, it just depends on what you’re needing. And while we certainly service Asian American folks, we also work with individuals from other cultures, too. So, whether you’re needing support in overcoming anxiety, burnout, trauma, or PTSD, we can help. Likewise, we serve teens and couples in need of support, too. So when you start online therapy with us, you can bring your whole self, including past struggles, cultural impacts, and more.