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Peter Pan syndrome refers to a psychological condition or behavioral pattern in which an individual, typically a male, refuses or struggles to mature and take on adult responsibilities. The term is derived from J.M. Barrie’s character Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up and remains in a state of perpetual youth in the imaginary ‘Neverland’.
People with Peter Pan syndrome often exhibit a reluctance or inability to embrace the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. They may avoid commitments, resist settling down, and prefer to engage in activities associated with youth and freedom. This can include avoiding long-term relationships, financial independence, or career advancement, and instead indulging in hobbies, games, and carefree lifestyles.
The syndrome is not recognized as an official psychological disorder but rather represents a pop psychology concept used to describe certain behavioral traits. It is important to note that not everyone who displays youthful characteristics or enjoys childlike activities has Peter Pan syndrome, as these qualities can be a part of a healthy and balanced life.
We do not tire claiming that we are a youthful nation, as mentioned by me also in the previous post. However, our youth is seriously suffering on many counts, lack of education, lack of career counseling, lack of employments, lack of opportunities, inequalities, and lack of merit. However, majority of our boys are opting for escape rather than facing the situation and tackling it.
Education and Jobs
Girls are winning hands down in all fields of education; boys have voluntarily withdrawn from the competition and left the field to girls. This is creating several social consequences which our Peter Pans are not willing to realize.
Being better educated, girls are likely to get better jobs, and they are filling several positions exclusively. Human Resource department is now dominated by women, and it is good that they can support other women, though they don’t do so mostly. Women are excelling in Marketing, in digital space, in teaching, in medicine, and in many other areas. Men cannot compete and therefore only tend to be jealous, negative, and revengeful.
More women have to take up jobs because the male members are not taking responsibility. Abundance of needy women at job has increased instances of harassment and abuse, which no one is talking about or acknowledging.
Due to poorer education, the boys are not likely to get good jobs, and they are trying to compete negatively at the jobs with the help of the male bosses who tend to favor males. Over time, too many incompetent males have occupied the positions of influence and power, particularly in the government departments. They are either afraid of hiring better educated women, or they hire them under duress, but do not give them proper opportunities to use their talent and shine.
At jobs, men are less responsible, waste more time, and deliver poorer performance. Yes, some good performers are also seen but the percentage is less as compared to women who work with more responsibility and diligence. For some jobs, it has been established with experience that women work better; packaging jobs, light assembly jobs, stitching jobs are exclusive domains of women workers.
Despite better education and performance, women get paid less as compared to their male counterparts for the same jobs. This is a worldwide phenomenon and though much is talked about it, little has been done so far.
The summary is that the large majority of men in Pakistan are reluctant to grow up, take responsibility, waste resources and time with impunity, and live in their unreal world.
Social Matters, Marriage, and Family
Peter Pan syndrome is even more prevalent in these areas and is the cause of much pain and suffering.
Taking up social responsibility is delayed beyond reasonable time for most males. Our parents are also to be blamed who insist on treating their children as children even when they are thirty years old. They do not let them decide about their future, education, and what should they become. The boys do not resist and take the easy route.
Becoming socially responsible is delayed until the death of parents, because the social interaction is considered their responsibility as long as they are there.
Marriage is a story of utmost happiness in most households. First, the boys do not want to choose a life partner because in entails taking responsibility. They may have run off affairs here and there, but they would not commit. For marriage, the sons become extremely obedient and tell the parents to choose a girl of their liking. The parents are happy beyond limit and search actively for the most beautiful, educated, accomplished girl for their good-for-nothing son. The girls’ parents are no less possessive and so the families decide to arrange wedding. In most cases, the boy does not contribute much for wedding expenses; it is parents’ money which flows freely. The matches are uneven and mismatched, ending in divorces.
Joint family system is the norm, for economic reasons mostly. Rich parents’ children live with their parents by choice because it offers too many luxuries and facilities; poor parents’ children are forced to live with them because both parties do not afford to live separately. Middle class boys choose to live with their parents because it saves them from lot of responsibilities.
No one lives happily in joint family system, neither parents nor newlyweds, but the system keeps going till the fights become so intense that the couple leaves home with bitterness on both sides. Fewer parents encourage and allow their boys to live independently right after their wedding.
I would put most of the blame on the male children who ruin their marriages, family life, relationships, and finances only because they refuse to grow up and take responsibility. During this period, couple of children are also born to newlyweds. The grandchildren are also exposed to undesirable conflicts.
In poor socioeconomic strata, many, if not most, husbands do not do any work. They ask their wives to work as domestic help, in factories, or even beggars and bring money while they sit home, do nothing, and may even become addict to pass time. They would beat their wives regularly and take away all money they earn. At the same time, they cause to have a baby every year. I have seen family after family having 8-10 children. The case of having daughters is among the greatest excuses to keep producing children till a son is born, even if at number 12.
Peter Pan syndrome is usually linked to male adolescents/teens who refuse to become adults. Unfortunately, our fifty years old still refuse to think, talk, and act like adults. They do not want to see the reality and perpetually live in the ‘Neverland’. I see many tweets these days where thirty-year-old women are emphatically declaring they want to live alone, never marry, and never have children. The publicly declared aversion is a serious indicator of where our society stands today. None of our social, religious, political leaders acknowledge the prevalent situation; they are living in their own Neverlands.
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