The Peter Pan Syndrome by Fern Weis, Parent + Family Recovery Coach

The Peter Pan Syndrome by Fern Weis, Parent + Family Recovery Coach, Bergen County Moms

Is your teen an emerging adult or Peter Pan? Where could your teen ‘step up’ a bit more?

Emerging adult implies they’re learning and growing into independence. The Peter Pan Syndrome is the opposite. They’re stuck in childhood and dependence.

I remember being 12 and thinking, “I don’t want to grow up.” I sensed the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood looming. Fortunately, the changes were gradual, and I grew into it.

Many families struggle with children who avoid responsibility. They can’t or won’t grow up. This is the ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’. Sorry to say that a great deal of this is on you and me, the parents. With all good intentions, we have stunted our children’s growth.

At birth, we’re responsible for their every need. As they grow, it’s important to give them more responsibility. Unfortunately, many parents are still controlling multiple aspects of their teen’s life.

At a time when children are seeking their identity and increasing independence, we may send the message that we don’t believe they can take care of themselves, or learn to do it. And if mom and dad are going to take care of everything, what incentive do they have to step up?

If we want them to grow up, we have to STEP BACK, LET GO, AND LET THEM GROW. It’s a gradual, necessary process. P.S. Letting go isn't easy. Learn about making the most of today and bringing out the best in your teen. Be part of the Connected Moms and Teens private FB community, Connected Moms and Teens.

Join us!

Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.

Learn more about coaching and classes at And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit