Peter Pan is a fictional boy who couldn’t grow up. There are some real-life Peter Pans out there who have grown up but not mentally. They suffer from the Peter Pan syndrome.
They refuse to grow up and cling to their childish ways. They avoid doing age-appropriate ‘adult’ activities.
While it can be good not to let your inner child die, those with Peter Pan syndrome are more childish than childlike. Their carefreeness rubs people the wrong way. It’s not adorable.
Real-life Peter Pans often have a Wendy, a woman who mothers them and enables their carefreeness. Behind every successful man, there’s a woman. Behind every Peter Pan, there’s a Wendy.
Although Peter Pan syndrome is more common in men, women can also suffer from it. Perhaps the reason it’s frowned upon more in men is that men are expected to be responsible providers in nearly all societies. So when there’s a lack there, it’s more noticeable.
What causes Peter Pan syndrome?
Permissive parenting is a major cause. Permissive parents fulfill their child’s every whim, leading the child to believe that the world owes them. They develop a sense of entitlement and a belief that they deserve to get without giving.
Children raised by over-protective parents can also become Peter Pans. They’re used to their parents doing everything for them, never getting a chance to learn life skills.
Abuse and patterns of enmeshment, like parentification, can rob a person of their childhood. When they grow up, they develop a longing to become a child again and re-experience childhood better.
Taking the Peter Pan syndrome test
This test consists of 25 items on a 5-point scale ranging from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree. Some items may be triggering. Defending yourself and showing yourself in a better light will be tempting.
I recommend not doing that and being completely honest with your answers. This test is 100% confidential, and your results are neither stored nor shared with anyone.