What is Peter Pan Syndrome?
The ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ affects people who do not want or feel unable to grow up, people with the body of an adult but the mind of a child. They don’t know how to or don’t want to stop being children and start being mothers or fathers.
The syndrome is not currently considered a psychopathology, given the World Health Organization has not recognized it as a psychological disorder.
How common is Peter Pan Syndrome?
An increasingly larger number of adults are exhibiting symtoms of this syndrome. Peter Pan Syndrome can affect both sexes, but it appears more often among men. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome?
The common symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome are:
- Either excessive outbursts of emotion or blunt in affect.
- Anger to the point of wrath
- Happiness that turns into extreme panic
- Frustration that leads to self-pity and depression.
- They have difficulty expressing feelings of love
- They always feel guilty
- Difficulty relaxing
- Manipulative tendencies
Individuals with this syndrome have a hard time building strong and genuine relationship with peers; as a result they feel extremely alone. They are also not bothered by the wrong things that they have done, instead they blame others for their frailties. They tend to move away from real problems concerning their weaknesses, which can cause them to use prohibited drugs and abuse alcohol in an attempt to escape the obstacles of life.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes Peter Pan Syndrome?
According to the top psychologist, Peter Pan Syndrome may be a result of overprotective parents because it hinders the child from growing to maturity and to exhibit their own skills to face life’s challenges.
Peter pan syndrome was defined by psychologist Dan Kiley, in 1983. According to him, in every Peter Pan there is a shadow of a “Wendy”. Thus, he also used the term “Wendy Syndrome” for those women who act behind their partners and friends as a motherly figure.
Peter Pan Syndrome is related to narcissism, but not in the egotistical sense. They tend to be absorbed with imaginative comfort in their minds which attracts them to introspection. This leads them to be imprisoned by childhood fantasy, not the realities and difficulties of life that they need to overcome.
What increases my risk for Peter Pan Syndrome?
There are many risk factors for Peter Pan Syndrome, such as:
- Environmental influences, in which an individual may inhibit it by how they were raised by their parents.
- Factors such as the so-called “Wendy Syndrome”.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Peter Pan Syndrome diagnosed?
It may be diagnosed when an individual exhibits the signs and symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome. However, this disorder is not yet medically accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization) and not yet acknowledged by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder.
How is Peter Pan Syndrome treated?
Since Peter Pan Syndrome is not yet recognized as a psychological disorder, there are no defining treatments. There are therapies such as the wilderness therapy, which covers psychodrama, cognitive behavioral therapy, strength-based therapies, solution-focused therapy, transpersonal counseling, family therapy, and other treatment modalities such as:
The Healing Sound of Silence
This is where the individual is kept away from refocusing on other things that will lead to addiction, such as watching TV, computer games, Internet, alcohol and drug abuse. Instead, they are focused on the real issues about themselves; they start with the basics on how to learn to face the real problems of life.
Embracing the 12 Step Philosophies
This is a wilderness expedition where they go out camping and hiking in four cycles, in which they learn to share their experiences and prepare themselves for the next tour. The 12 philosophies is a program that covers meetings in the field camp and in the community, for them to be able to recognize support systems that are available during the 12 steps program.
Since this kind of therapy occurrs during camp outs, adventure based counseling is done. They begin to be aware of the consequences of their actions and not only to focus on themselves. They also learn self care and eventually realize that every individual in the group is a part of the whole system, and that they are a reflection of a family and each and every one of them has a role and a purpose.
Transforming into an Effective Adult
This is the so-called “wake up call” for the family, in which a Peter Pan-like person begins to take responsibility. This is the result of the four cycles of wilderness therapy when they begin to be a leader and taking care and reaching out to each and every member of the group.
Even though there is no established cure for the disease, the only time that the person with Peter Pan Syndrome is treated is when the individual shows willingness and awareness of their disorder.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Peter Pan Syndrome?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you prevent Peter Pan Syndrome:
- Since Peter Pan Syndrome is a disorder caused by factors during childhood, any prevention measures should be directed at parents and their awareness on how to raise a child.
- Parenting seminars should be organized, especially for teenage parents so they are aware of techniques to teach their children about responsibilities. However, the environmental factors still need to be considered when raising a child. Proper values and education are important and children should also be surrounded by the right people as role models.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Peter Pan Syndrome. https://syndromespedia.com/peter-pan-syndrome.html. Accessed May 18, 2018.
The Peter Pan Syndrome. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/how-do-life/201605/the-peter-pan-syndrome. Accessed May 18, 2018.
Overprotecting parents can lead children to develop 'Peter Pan Syndrome'. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070501112023.htm. Accessed May 18, 2018.
Review Date: May 22, 2018 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019