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10 SURE-FIRE Ways To Spot An Emotionally Immature Adult

Peter Pan never wanted to grow up.

Little Prince (or Princess) Syndrome, when it occurs in adulthood, is also known as Peter Pan Syndrome. The condition does not figure in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), so it is not considered an official mental disorder.

But it is a common condition, one which often results from an overly protective mother (or father) — a helicopter mom, or a parent who gives their son or daughter free range, and too much praise and attention, during childhood and adolescence. Such parental behavior is also sometimes referred to as emotional incest.

Peter Pan Syndrome is traditionally thought of as a situation in which a grown man is childish and immature, despite his age. But in today’s culture, with so much helicopter parenting, it’s safe to assume that both men and women can exhibit these behaviors. Little Prince (or Princess) Syndrome is related to, but not identical to, Little Emperor Syndrome, a term is primarily used to describe Chinese boys with no siblings who behave like little tyrants.

Little Princes and Princesses, as I define them, are grown men or women who act as if they are selfish children, narcissistic teenagers, or irresponsible young adults, and feel entitled to behave as they see fit.

The following is a list of emotionally immature signs to look out for, traits typical of someone living with Little Prince or Princess Syndrome. (For simplicity’s sake, I use the term Little Prince below and refer to the role of mothers, not father, but the signs are applicable to all genders.)

1. He is in touch with his mom almost every day.
She is more “in” his life than anyone else. She checks up on him and worries about him, even though he is a grown man. She might buy his clothes and his groceries, and do his laundry for him.

2. He acts like a child, a teenager, or a person who is much younger than he is.
He might throw temper tantrums or party all night with people 10 years younger than him.

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