How to Deal with an Emotionally Immature Parent?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


How to Deal with an Emotionally Immature Parent?


Thank you for your question. I empathize with your suffering and frustration, as dealing with emotionally immature parents is quite the opposite of being supportive, loving, and understanding which is what we all hope for from our parents.

Emotional Immaturity

Parents like this are uncomfortable with closeness and can fail to give their children the deep emotional connection they require. For example, they lack empathy when their child is distressed, or they act out in emotionally volatile ways if their child doesn’t intuit their feelings. Their behavior includes an inability to recognize, express, and control emotions while being able to empathize and respond to the emotions of others.

Commit to Allah

With any problem in life, one should turn to Allah. Allah is the one who made them like that, perhaps as a test for you, and only He can take it away or give you the means to deal with it. Start first with fulfilling your obligations to Allah and to those around you with excellence. You should pray on time, review your personally obligatory knowledge, make dhikr, and read the Quran daily with meaning. This includes being good to them and managing your expectations of them.

Eliminating the haram and makruh from our lives is a lifelong process, and we should all strive toward that. Giving charity regularly is key because the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” [Tirmidhi]


  • Come to terms with your parents for who they are and how they hurt you.
  • Accept them. Their immaturity can be annoying, but if you put them into place in your mind, they will be lovable parents without much else to offer.
  • Do not let them hurt you. If they get angry, leave the situation. Limits are often a good thing.
  • Reduce interaction when they are toxic, dangerous, violent, or abusive. If visits are harmful, call instead of visiting, or keep visits short and more infrequent.
  • Keep your expectations realistic and low. Don’t expect a relationship of mutuality or reciprocity. Do what you do for them for the sake of Allah.
  • Don’t let them determine your self-worth. They might lack empathy and the ability to validate others and don’t expect praise or compliments. Your reward will be with Allah, in sha Allah.
  • Sometimes, compliance is the simplest way to deal with them, pick your battles.
  • Make du`a that they change and try to convince them to get therapy.

Way Out

Show patience, love, respect, and goodness, and you will find that Allah will help you at every turn, by His grace. Know that Allah’s promise is true in the Quran: “[…] And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide for him from sources he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” [Quran, 65:2-3]

Please see these links for useful tips on dealing with them:

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.