Peter Pan Syndrome

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2 years ago

Although this term was introduced into the professional literature back in 1983

for men who never really grew up, but remained eternal boys, it seems that it is

even more relevant today.

As is well known, Peter Pan is a boy who never grew up. He lived in the country of

Never Never Land, where it was possible, and where he led a group of "lost boys". Because

of his characteristics, the "Peter Pan syndrome" was created, which describes men

who have never really grown up, who have remained eternal boys. Although this

syndrome was introduced into the literature in 1983, it seems that today there are

more and more men whose behavior deserves to be classified in this syndrome.

Why are more and more men unwilling to grow up? For the same reason that women do

not want to grow up, and that is because they have a negative image of adulthood.

When they enter those years in which they should both grow emotionally and, for

example, enter into serious relationships and accept responsibility for starting a

family, they retreat, withdraw, and continue to behave at a “younger” emotional

and social level.

An idea of adulthood

Children and young people get an idea of ​​adulthood by observing parents and the

older generation. Seen through the eyes of a child, adulthood is not attractive at

all. Parents work a lot, they are constantly in obligations, duties, they have

little or no fun, especially if they give up a lot or sacrifice in order to make

their children as comfortable as possible and to make them as happy as possible.

If parents try to make the child have a happier childhood, fairytale and magic,

then the difference between childhood and adulthood is very large and frightening

for a young person. That is why she wants to prolong her "childhood" as long as

possible and to become an adult as late as possible, if possible.

When a young person does not want a parent of the same sex to be a role model, she

looks for role models elsewhere. The largest selection of new models is offered by

various media: films, television, literature. It is the media that are full of

various "new male stereotypes" that, despite their age, offer a youthful lifestyle

that abounds in entertainment, hedonism, individualism and an unconventional

lifestyle. Wealth, fame and power are offered as ideals. The role models are

usually individuals without a family and children, without people to whom they are

emotionally attached, with whom they are in a relationship of love.Even when these

role models are presented as heroes who enter risky situations to save others,

these others are often some abstract community, and by no means, for example, a


When there are more and more real people in the generation who live according to

the principle of Peter Pan, then such behavior becomes the generational norm, that

is, normal behavior "because others live that way" and "what they lack". Then, the

role models are no longer just characters from the screen, but specific people who

"revived" the life scenarios they saw in the media.

Each person carries within himself that part of the personality that we call the

"inner child", that is, the self as it was in childhood. From this inner "free

child" spring desires, play, wit, fun and creativity - in a word: life energy. We

say that a person is not old as long as he raises this child in himself. But it’s

all a matter of proportion and balance. When this child becomes the dominant part

of the personality, then it is not an adult who knows how to have fun, but a

childish, infantile "adult".It is an adult with a child mentality: irresponsible

to himself and others; in a position of dependence on a parent or “parent”;

preoccupied with fun and pleasures; egocentric and without developed empathy for

others; without work and other habits.

Negative character

Although the character of Peter Pan is mostly known from Disney's cartoon, it is

only a modified version of the original character created by the Scottish writer

J. at the beginning of the 20th century. M. Bari. It is interesting that in the

first versions, Peter Pan was portrayed as a negative character, and that in the

Disney version from 1953, he was presented as a positive character. That change

probably reflected the "spirit of the times" and the new attitude towards

childhood and adulthood.

The Disney version offered a character that children could better identify with

and wish they never grew up and never left their comfortable childhood. Peter Pan

syndrome was defined in 1983 by Dan Kylie in the book of the same name, with the

subtitle: About men who never grow up. It seems that this book is more relevant

today than it was forty years ago when it was written.

Because of all the above, it is important to recognize men who have this syndrome,

and not only the obvious ones, but also the hidden infantile ones that hide behind

the mask of adulthood.

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