Have you ever met an adult who still has the mentality and/or behaviors like a child? The syndrome we will give you a concept called “Peter Pan’s syndrome or complex ” and explains why this situation occurs with some people.

Even though this syndrome is not considered as a disorder or mental illness, many psychologists use this concept to refer to the adults that show this fear and anxiety for the responsibilities and assume the fact to be an adult. It should be clear that adolescents would not go into this syndrome as it is perfectly normal at that stage, and they have specific concerns about what the adult world holds for them.

Symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome

This type of Syndrome refers to the literary novel by James Matthews Barrie that we all know about from Peter Pan, where the protagonist was characterized by a huge refusal to grow up and feel the desire to remain a child all his life.

When we live with these types of people, we usually get the feeling that we are actually talking to a child who is locked in an adult’s body, and although many find it odd that someone could act this way, this syndrome is common in society. The main characteristics and symptoms of people with this type of Syndrome are as follows;

  • Inability to take care of themselves and take responsibility for their own actions.
  • Difficulty committing to something or someone. This can be in all areas of your life, mainly in sentimental and at work.
  • They tend to procrastinate or postpone the activities they have to do.
  • They feel angry and misunderstood by their parents.
  • They blame another for the actions they have committed so as not to take care of anything.
  • They are emotionally dependent. They don’t know how to deal with emotional dependency.
  • They need to be close to their parents because they believe they still need their care and protection.
  • Lack of confidence in themselves.
  • They usually show little interest in sex.
  • Normally act impulsively
  • They have behaviors of adolescents
  • They choose couples much younger than them. For example, 40-year-old men who have 20-year-old women.

Peter Pan Syndrome: Causes

Among the main causes that have been found for a person to have Peter Pan syndrome are basically follows:

  • The Cases where there has been overprotection in childhood by parents so that children can’t acquire sufficient ability to learn how to deal with their problems on their own. For example, children of parents who solved everything for their children don’t let them make their own mistakes, always walk behind them so that nothing terrible would happen to them, etc.
  • Children of parents who have been quite permissive to them and who have always let them do whatever they want, so they grew up believing that this was going to be the way it was going to be for life.
  • Lacking love, affection, and care of parents during childhood.

How To Treat Peter Pan Syndrome

Although not too severe or at least not in principle, if the person is not aware of what is happening to them or is not receiving treatment, it can sometimes trigger other types of more serious disorders such as depression and anxiety.

People with Peter Pan syndrome often have personal problems related to the social area as it is very difficult for them to build lasting relationships such as friendship or courtship, as well as regularly having issues in their jobs because of their inability to take responsibility for their actions.

It is difficult to know how to treat someone with the Syndrome of Peter Pan if the person doesn’t seem to be aware of what they have or what it is but doesn’t know what to do to deal with it. And, it is necessary that you must receive help from a professional.

Psychological therapy is effective enough to overcome Peter Pan Syndrome, help the person to improve their life, and above all, increase their emotional well-being. It is the psychologist who will be responsible for evaluating the specific situation of the person and will offer them the most appropriate treatment according to his/her particular case. What is regularly done in therapy is with cognitive restructuring, where the patient’s irrational ideas are discussed and modified by others that will allow them to adapt better.

Personal objectives and goals are also established, aimed at taking responsibility for oneself as other aspects of the struggle, sentimentalism and etc. This is progressively being done until finally achieving that the patient is in optimal conditions to face all the situations of adult life.


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