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Peter Pan syndrome: time to grow


Peter Pan syndrome

In the 1980s, psychologist Dan Kiley noted that some of his patients refused to accept the implied responsibilities to adulthood grouping behaviors that they presented under the name of ' Peter Pan syndrome '.
Since then, the Peter Pan syndrome is defined as the set of characteristics that a person who does not know or does not want to accept the obligations of adulthood, and may not develop the roles (father, partner, etc.) expected according to their life cycle or personal circumstances.
Peter Pan syndrome is more common in males and usually is associated with problems to provide security to another person, since they themselves are those who need to feel protected by others. This fact incapacitates them greatly, since it stifles their personal development and hinders their social relations, partnering with intense feelings of loneliness and feeling of dependence.

Consequences of the Peter Pan syndrome

Although Peter Pan could live in a fantasy world, people that mimic it not. The Peter Pan syndrome brings with it significant emotional and behavioural changes. On the emotional level are frequent anxiety levels high and sadness, and may adopt the latter form of depression when they are not treated. At the same time, the person feels little made his life, since not assuming responsibilities makes it also not enjoy the challenges, which undoubtedly has an impact on their levels of self-esteem.
Finally, in cases more extreme and extravagant, could appear disorders of thinking such as delirium, although in these cases, most likely there is a psychiatric disorder that justifies it.

Causes of the Peter Pan syndrome

The Peter Pan syndrome may be caused by multiple factors (traits of personality, style of coping with problems, etc). Of these, the most important has to do with the children; excessively happy childhoods that the patient may idealize, either, a childhood completely unhappy, devoid of affection. In the first case, syndrome seeks to immortalize those moments, living in a constant childhood, while in the second function of the syndrome is lost time.
On the other hand, most of the studies argue that this syndrome is common in cases in which there has not been a stable affective contribution, education has been too permissive or school deficit has existed.
Finally, there are personality traits as the tendency to avoidance or emotional dependence which are closely linked with this syndrome, not so much in its origin as itself in its maintenance.

The Peter Pan syndrome prevention

To make a child happy, as well as an adult, you should see solving problems. Facing challenges
Since the first case of Peter Pan syndrome lies in the educational style in children, adults who surround the child, especially parents, are the main preventive agents of this problem.
In this sense, the setting of Neverlandshould not be from the real life of a child. Children must also learn to assume responsibilities adjusted to their age. Many parents avoid this thinking that his son will be happier if life is more comfortable. To make a child happy, as well as an adult, you should see solving problems. Facing challenges.
On the other hand, an educational style hostile, rigid and important affective deficiencies could also predispose to suffering from the syndrome. Therefore, the success of prevention lies in educating children in a way that unconditional love is combined with firm and well-established behaviour patterns that allow the acceptance of responsibilities of the age of the child's growth.

Diagnosis and patient with the Peter Pan syndrome profile

The Peter Pan syndrome has no diagnostic entity in the principal diagnostic manuals, however, this fact does not mean that there and not have clinical implications. For this reason, although without speaking of diagnostic criteria, if we can speak of a series of behaviors that, in case of arise, suggest the existence of this syndrome:
  • Intense desire and need to be cared for by other people he considers "stronger".
  • Inability to engage and keep promises.
  • Inability to assume its own responsibilities. You prefer others to do so. Why is looking for another person who has the role of his "father" / "mother".
  • Complaints and constant criticism accompanied in turn by the inability to provide affection to others.
  • Tendency to selfishness; you feel that everything should revolve around it and get offended when this does not happen.
  • Especially emotional dependency, although it is also common that there is economic dependence.
  • Their behavior is oppositional or rebel.
  • Lack of empathy: this fact hinders him social relationships and can lead you to isolate themselves socially, which contrasts with a high fear to stay alone.
  • Low self esteem causing you a very low tolerance to frustration.
  • Narcissistic personality traits.
  • They often feel dissatisfied with his achievements, but they do nothing to improve their situation.
  • They verbalize not wanting to grow old, being able to idealize his youth.

The Peter Pan syndrome treatment

In the same way that we can not fly like Peter Pan, we can not live without responsibilities. Assume this fact is the first step for the beginning of the therapy. Subsequently, the person must learn to cope with their everyday responsibilities and to live as an adult. To do this, it will be necessary to learn strategies which should have been trained previously throughout his life, as it is the case of the process of decision-making and problem solving.
At the same time, it will be necessary to teach the patient to manage their thoughts, making it change its way of interpreting reality, particularly as regards itself, since in many cases this type of patients are considered "victims of the situation", recreating the emotions instead of resolving the issues that cause you discomfort. For instance, to expressions of the type "I'm fatal because I have to find a new flat; I can't handle the situation; "what nervous and uneasy I am, I don't want to do it only", etc., the person must learn to replace them with a more operative self-talk, as, for example: "while you feel some uncertainty about having to find a new apartment, I'll begin to appreciate the alternatives I have and today will begin to visit some".
This type of training, will help the patient to assume that he is responsible for his own emotions, increase their tolerance to frustration and increasing your level of self-esteem progressively.
Article contributed for educational purposes
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