Peter Pan Syndrome

May 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

What is the Peter pan syndrome?

It is a term used to denote a person who is unable to grow into maturity. A person of course, will grow physically but clings onto his childhood because he does not want responsibility.

He is a grown up man but does not behave like a mature person. In other words, peter pan syndrome is a man in physical form, but a child inside. Why the term peter pan is used? Well, you probably know a peter pan, a lead character in the book written by J.M Barrie.

He is a boy who lives in Neverland together with his friends. He is the boy who does not want to grow up. However, in the peter pan syndrome, it could not only affect the male population. There is also peter pan syndrome in female, although peter pan syndrome in men is more prevalent.

Peter pan syndrome warning signs

  • Uncontrolled anger that oftentimes lead to the point of wrath
  • Happy at a moment but will then turn into extreme panic
  • A feeling of guilt and depression
  • Undependable
  • Has a difficulty expressing feelings
  • Undependable
  • Has a hard time building genuine relationship with other people
  • They tend to blame others for their frailties in life
  • Not having the drive or motivation to find work
  • Does not focus on improving one’s self
  • Tends to abuse drugs, smoking excessively, and resort to alcohol abuse

A shadow image of the famous character Peter Pan with a tagline never grow up.picture

Image 1 : A shadow image of the famous character Peter Pan with a tagline never grow up
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Causes of Peter pan syndrome

Overprotective parents

The way parents treat and nurture their children plays a major role in the character traits of their children. An overprotective parent hinders the child from becoming mature and independent. Just because the parents are always there to handle the problems of their kids, children won’t be able to face the challenges in life all by themselves.

According to Dan Kiley, a psychologist, in every peter pan there is a Wendy. Hence, he used the term Wendy syndrome to denote a woman who acts as a motherly figure to her partner and friends.

Narcissistic personality

Peter pan syndrome is linked with a narcissistic personality. Those people with peter pan syndrome tend to fantasize with childhood stuff. They don’t want to deal with reality and difficulty in life. They always want to be the center of attraction. They don’t want to feel neglected.

Environmental factors

Peter pan syndrome has nothing to do with genetics. It is something that can be acquired. The environmental influences are a great contributor to peter pan syndrome. Their character developed over time depending on how they are raised by their parents. The so-called Wendy syndrome has a huge contributing factor to peter pan syndrome.

How to diagnose Peter pan syndrome?

To come up with the right diagnosis, a person will be assessed for characteristics of peter pan syndrome.

However, peter pan syndrome is not yet medically accepted by the world health organization. In fact, it is not yet in the list of psychological disorders of the American Psychiatric Association. Peter pan syndrome is a psychopathology.

Peter pan syndrome treatment

There is no exact treatment for peter pan syndrome since it is not yet recognized as a psychological disorder. There are recommended management remedies, which aim to significantly improve the behaviour of people demonstrating peter pan syndrome.

However, there is no guarantee of success. The effect of management remedies varies from one person to another.

Some of the management modalities include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Psychodrama
  • Family therapy
  • Transpersonal counselling
  • Solution-focused therapy

A person demonstrating peter pan syndrome should be kept away from things that destruct his focus and concentration such as computer games, alcohol, internet, and substance abuse. Instead of focusing on these thing, the person is refocused on the real issues in life and enticing the person to face the problems and challenges in life.

One should keep in mind though that peter pan syndrome cannot be dealt with overnight. It is hard wired and it does take time to change it. Hence, the ideal option is therapy. Ask the person to be vocal about his concerns, especially on the things that hinder him to be mature. Seeing a therapist can significantly help in the treatment and management of peter pan syndrome.

Immersion therapy is one of the commonly used methods. With immersion therapy, the person demonstrating a peter pan syndrome is immersed to responsibility little by little. By doing so, the person will be able to take responsibility without even realizing it. It will come to a point where the person will end up realizing the wrong things he has been doing all his life and will then be forced to make a change.

Confrontation done in a good way can help address the problem with peter pan syndrome. In the confrontation phase, the lack of drive and motivation will be addressed. If the person is alcoholic or substance abuser, the deep cause of the problem will be addressed too.

However, one should remember that this type of treatment modality does not work at all times.  At the end of the day, it all boils down to the willingness of a person to change for the better.

Final word

Peter pan syndrome is a psychopathology, but is not yet considered a real disorder. It is not yet recognized by the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association. Many people are demonstrating the characteristics of Peter pan syndrome. Again, the prevalence is higher in men than women. Well, women have a nurturing personality and they are exposed to responsibilities at an early age.

Peter pan syndrome does not develop overnight. It is wired in a person’s personality as he is growing up. Always keep in mind that it is easier to correct children than broken adults. Parents are highly encouraged to instil discipline and responsibility to their children at an early age.



Published on May 22nd, 2017 by under syndromes.
Article was last reviewed on May 21st, 2017.

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