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Little Prince/Princess Syndrome: Unmasking the Fairy Tale

While this is not a specific DSM diagnosis, it is becoming a common phenomenon among Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012), leading to many family and relationship issues and learned helplessness. This syndrome is also known as the Cinderella Complex, Princess Complex, or Princess Sickness.

1. What Is Little Princess Syndrome?

Little Prince/Princess Syndrome (PS) isn’t found in medical textbooks but is real. Imagine living life as a fairy tale: focusing solely on pretty things, placing yourself at the centre of the universe, and obsessing about appearance—even when heading to the playground. While this can be whimsical for toddlers, it shapes young women's development, affecting self-esteem, dependence, self-care and empowerment. This condition occurs when grown men or women act as if they are selfish children, narcissistic teenagers, or irresponsible young adults. 2. Symptoms:

  • Obsession with Appearance: Prioritizing looks over other qualities.

  • Youthful Behaviours: Can throw tantrums or engage in youthful behaviours.

  • Dependency: Relying on others to make everything better. In touch with their parent (usually the mother) every day.

  • Superficial Friendships: Vapid connections. Struggle with long-term, stable relationships.

  • External Validation: Seeking approval from others.

  • Lack of Self-Sufficiency: Expecting things to come easily. Expect to be taken care of and pampered.

  • Age Regression: How they think, feel and behave reverts to an earlier stage of development and does not reflect their actual age.

3. Impact on Lives:

  • Self-Esteem: PS can erode self-worth beyond appearance. Many people have problems doing and completing tasks, such as not knowing how to wash dishes or being unable to accept constructive criticism.

  • Relationships: Superficial friendships, controlling partners. Or else they have no friends except those within the family circle.

  • Motivation: Lack of internal drive due to entitlement. Give up on tasks easily.

  • Empowerment: True empowerment lies in self-creation. Refusing to be independent. Learned helplessness.

4. Causes:

  • Overprotective Parenting: Coddling reinforces the princess mindset.

  • Media Influence: Messages that prioritize appearance.

  • Social Pressure: Society’s focus on being “number one.”

5. Treatment Methods:

  • Question the Media: Teach critical thinking about messages.

  • Heroine Values: Replace princess symptoms with self-sufficiency, realistic body image, and positive self-esteem.

  • Empowerment: Encourage creating one’s own happily ever after.

Remember, being an empowered princess who builds her own kingdom is a much better option than waiting for a savior. Let's help young women find their inner heroines! If your young adult child has these symptoms, encourage them to seek professional evaluation. Usually, they will be highly dependent on you making the appointments for them, so you may need to push them to get the help they need. Text us at +60123300415 for more information and to make an appointment.


About the Author


Dr. Lennie Soo

Founder and Clinical Director of 360 Wellness Hub.

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