Wendy Syndrome In Mothers: Are You One Of Them?

Mothers with Wendy syndrome are overprotective and do not let their children grow. These children in the future are likely to become adults with Peter Pan syndrome.

Wendy’s syndrome in mothers is another way of describing the overprotective mother. Her name comes from the famous novel Peter Pan , written by James Matthew Barrie in 1904. In Barrie’s novel, Wendy’s character takes care of her siblings, lost children, and Peter Pan. She is the mother of all.

Wendy’s syndrome works in more or less the same way in mothers. The label applies both to the woman who becomes the mother of her partner, and to the mother who does not let her children bear any responsibility.

Origins of the term “Wendy syndrome”

Couple argue in front of son.

In 1983, the American psychologist Dan Kiley coined the term “Peter Pan syndrome” to define people who refuse to grow up. The following year, he used the term “Wendy syndrome” for those people who behave like mothers or fathers of both their partner and other important people in their environment. The existence of the syndrome is not supported by scientific psychology, but it is common in popular psychology.

Wendy’s syndrome describes mothers who seek to solve all their children’s problems and keep them safe from any suffering and frustration. Usually a Wendy mother tends to raise a Peter Pan child. And this is evidenced by this study carried out by professionals from the University of Granada in 2007 and published in ScienceDaily  .

It is still interesting that until a few decades ago it  was valued that women overprotect their husband and children. Since women assumed new roles, it is considered a behavior that can have negative consequences for both children and women, although culturally it is still the norm in many societies.

Women with Wendy’s syndrome

Mothers with this disorder ensure that their children do not suffer from any adverse circumstances. In essence, it is what all mothers want for their children. The problem appears when it becomes an extreme behavior, even obsessive. They are so afraid that their children will suffer, that they make them dependent, fearful and insecure.

People who suffered from emotional deprivation during childhood seem to be more likely to be overprotective. They may have been raised in families with an absent father. They can also be single mothers, so their greatest desire is to avoid at all costs that their children suffer from inattention, abandonment or rejection.

As a result, they turn to the children. They are mothers who take on all responsibilities. They have the need to be considered essential. Also, they don’t usually have time for themselves.

Likewise, as this work carried out by researchers from the Technical University of Ambato, Ecuador points out, overprotection can seriously affect the emotional development of children, since it creates insecurities, distrust and makes them dependent on their parents.

Typical behaviors

Mother holding her baby while typing on laptop in kitchen.

If you feel identified with any of the situations described below, you may have Wendy’s syndrome. Recognizing that you are overreaching in caring for your children or your partner can be the first step towards the solution.

  • You take on all the household chores. You are unable to delegate responsibilities to your children.
  • You try to save your children all frustration. You let yourself win in the games, you indulge all their whims or you do their homework.
  • In your eagerness to please your children, you give up your own needs or dreams.
  • You are able to make unreasonable sacrifices for your children because  c rees that love is sacrifice.
  • You avoid arguing or scolding your little ones; In this sense, you can be excessively permissive.
  • You prevent children from making decisions, no matter how small.

How to overcome Wendy’s syndrome?

The woman with Wendy’s syndrome needs to assume all the responsibilities and control everything. She is sure that by protecting them, her children can be happy and successful. Acknowledging that you have a problem is never easy, but it is the first step to healthier relationships.

If you are exhausted because your children are old enough to have responsibilities that they do not assume, perhaps there is something to rethink and change. The help of a psychologist or family therapist can be very effective in overcoming it.

If you think you have Wendy’s syndrome, you may need tools to improve your self-esteem, to learn to delegate responsibilities, and to trust each other’s ability to make their own decisions without your intervention. Your children need to grow. Give them a chance to do it for themselves.

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