Peter Pan – The syndrome of those who do not want to grow up

Have you seen adults with too childish personality? Maybe they are suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome.


What is Peter Pan Syndrome?

We all know Peter Pan, the fictional character of writer James Matthew Barrie who also appears in many works of Walt Disney Animation. Peter Pan is a 12-year-old boy who always wants to have fun and enjoy life forever. He rejects adulthood and never wants to grow up. Because of these characteristics, the boy’s name is used to call a syndrome of people who also don’t want to grow up.

However, if the fictional character Peter Pan has the right to choose the life of a child, always keeps his pure soul next to a brave heart, then in real life, those with Peter Pan syndrome still have to grow up physically. Their age and appearance are still growing over time, and only their perception and behavior are no different. And from that, all the troubles are born.

Currently, this syndrome can be diagnosed based on signs and symptoms in the form of personality disorders. However, this syndrome is not yet considered by the World Health Organization as a disease and is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder. It is referred to as Psychopathology.

Those who are suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome often:

- Have big ego, can easily feel offended

- Cannot handle conflicts, in all cases

- Do not prioritize importance things and are carefree with everything but themselves

- Do not keep their promises and do not think that is important

- Hate being rejected and are scared of loneliness

- Lack confidence

- Find it hard to express their emotions


Causes of Peter Pan syndrome

The first cause of Peter Pan syndrome may be over-protective parents, which make it difficult for them to develop life skills. According to psychologist Dan Kiley, who identified this syndrome in the book "Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up" in 1983, in every Peter Pan there is a shadow of Wendy.

In the story, Wendy is a lovely girl living in London. Peter Pan has a special affection for Wendy and wants to invite her to Neverland to live with him. However, it is Wendy who shows Peter Pan a world he never dares to set foot in. From there, Peter Pan is scared of the adult world, afraid of becoming a man and choosing to be a free boy forever. Dan Kiley's metaphorically implies the shadow of Wendy is the fathers, mothers or relatives of those who are suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome.

Sometimes, people use the name "Wendy Syndrome" to referr to these cases. If behind Peter Pan is a nervous Wendy, then behind these childish people are parents who always want their children to be forever in their arms. It is the parental protection that accidently spoils the children, making them timid, shy and dependent. Moreover, excessive pampering makes a child believe that he is right in every situation. The child will always consider himself as the center of the universe and keeps that awareness until maturity.


The second cause is that people with this syndrome are all too self-loving. They tend to feel comfortable with the lovely fantasy world they have in their heads. This can make them immerse in the beautiful memories of childhood and do not want to "escape" to face the harsh realities of life.

Another source is the change in the role of women in modern times. Gender equality gradually increases, women become more independent, strong and sometimes have higher positions in their careers that make men feel marginalized or dependent. In some cases, women turn themselves into "super women" who take care of everything in the home, making men loose awareness of being the breadwinner of the family, and become irresponsible and impulsive.

The treatment of Peter Pan Syndrome

Because Peter Pan Syndrome has not been recognized as a psychological disorder, there is no definitive treatment. People who are affected by Peter Pan Syndrome will often find it difficult to adjust in the normal context of society and fail to do what is expected of their age.

First and foremost, fathers and mothers should change their behavior towards their children, and wives should give their husbands a chance to grow up and live a more responsible life. For those with Peter Pan Syndrome who want to change themselves, it is best to seek specialists or doctors for the necessary consultation.



By: Cole Guthrie

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