Are Men Really Childish Boys?

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Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Remember the musical, “Peter Pan?”



I won’t grow up
I don’t want to wear a tie.
I don’t want to wear a tie
And a serious expression
And a serious expression
In the middle of July.
In the middle of July
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,

I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me,
Not I,
Not me!
So there!”

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Back in 1983, Dan Kiley wrote a book that he title the “Peter Pan Syndrome. He also coined the term, the “Wendy Syndrome.”

More recently, Kay Hymowitz wrote, “Manning Up, Has the rise of women turned men into boys?” The theme of the book is that there is now what she calls the “child man” who doesn’t grow up because he is being displaced in the work place by women. The outcome of the women’s liberation movement is that women have turned men into boys. She also talks about what she calls, “Pre Adulthood,” that ranges from the twenty’s until the thirties.

Whether its “Pre Adulthood” or the Peter Pan syndrome, the message is that these “boys” will not make a commitment to a career, brag about their sexual exploits, sit around the living room with their buddies, watch football, drink beer and, look at pornography on the Internet and, in general, not take responsibility for anything in their lives. They may date a woman and promise to marry her but never get around to proposing. They may promise to get a job, but never do. They may promise to be monogamous, but never are and so on.

One may think that women find this maddening. However, according to the Peter Pan Syndrome, behind every child man is a “Wendy” who enables her man to remain a boy. Who is this Wendy? This is a woman, be it mother, girlfriend or wife, goes out to work to bring money home, pays the bills, and cares for her man-child in such ways as to allow him to remain a boy and never grow up.

Readers, men and women, what do you think about this?

Men, are us men really “Peter Pan?”

Women, are you Wendy?”

I await your comments, personal experiences and opinions with great interest. Responses to this article are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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