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Failure To Launch


What is Failure To Launch?

If any of your adult kids are still on the family payroll, living in your back house, or worse yet, still sleeping in their childhood bedrooms, you’ve got a failure to launch situation on your hands.

What does failure to launch mean?

It means that a young adult is not thriving as an adult — or not “adulting” successfully.

What is Adulting?

Adulting is the opposite of failure to launch – it involves a number of activities most of us take for granted.

Signs of successful adulting:

  • Living independently – financially and geographically
  • Supporting yourself financially
  • Reaching educational goals in a timely manner
  • Maintaining good emotional health
  • Thriving (or at least surviving) in the workplace
  • Getting involved with a community of peers
  • Maintaining healthy adult relationships
  • Poor self-image due to lack of age-appropriate accomplishments
  • Poor mental and emotional health due to lack of age-appropriate relationships and goals

Why do some people become “Failure To Launch”?

How does this happen? How does a perfectly capable young man or woman end up lost and without ambition or direction in adult life?

Sometimes, the causes can be complex. Chronic mental illnesses, such as severe depression, autism or other developmental disorders, or chronic substance abuse can sometimes be factors. Often however the culprit is, well, parents.

Most parents truly want the best for their kids. They want them to grow up to be fine adults, contributors to society, with healthy relationships and a healthy professional life — whatever that looks like for each kid.

It’s easy to sabotage a kid’s chances, however, by over-functioning on their behalf. When you overdo for someone, you rob them of the opportunity to rise to the occasion.

What Are Some Common Over-Functioning Errors Parents Make?

  • Viewing a kid’s homework or academic activities as your responsibility. (We don’t have a test – your kid does.)
  • Rescuing to keep kids from making mistakes. If your kid constantly leaves his backpack at home and you continually take it to him, why on earth would he ever bother to remember himself?
  • Assuming your kid isn’t capable. Kids are capable of so much — especially when we get out of their way
  • Creating a sense of learned helplessness by convincing yourself and your kids that they can’t set and achieve their goals

So How Do I Get My Kid Off The Couch And Off To College?

We Have A Few Suggestions:

  • Counseling — for YOU and for your kid. Sometimes it’s parental anxiety that’s really holding a kid back
  • Treatment for mental and substance abuse disorders — provide an opportunity for treatment but be prepared to step aside if your kid doesn’t make use of the opportunity
  • Stop rescuing. Just stop it. Now.
  • Let your kids come up with their own solutions instead of turning yourself inside out to find it for them.
  • Let them fail. We all learn our best lessons when we’re allowed to fail.
  • Let nature take its course. The universe has a way of providing its own consequences. Natural consequences (no job = no money) have a way of motivating us all.

Our specialists can help you and your family provide an opportunity for success for your kids. Let’s turn failure to launch into a bright successful future for your kids.