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Failure to launch

Are any of your adult kids still living at home and still receiving your help financially? Well, you may have a failure to launch situation.

What is failure to launch?

It means that a young adult isn’t “adulting” successfully.  It may mean that they aren’t able to leave home, operate independently, or make normal “adult” decisions.

What is “Adulting”?

Adulting (or being a responsible adult) is the opposite of failure to launch. It involves some activities most of us take for granted.

Some Characteristics of Adulting are:

  • Living independently: geographically and financially
  • Financially capable
  • Reaching educational goals on time
  • Maintaining good emotional health
  • Being successful (or at least surviving) in the workplace
  • Community involvement
  • The ability to keep 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

How does failure to launch occur?

How does a capable young person lose ambition and direction?

The causes of failure to launch can be complex. Chronic mental illnesses, such as severe depression, autism, or substance abuse can sometimes be factors. However, the culprit is often parents.

Parents want their kids to succeed, of course! They want them to grow up to be healthy adults, contributors to society, with healthy relationships and a stable professional life — whatever that looks like for each kid.

A parent can act too much a kid’s behalf, which results in the kid losing the opportunity to overcome an obstacle or rise to the occasion themselves.

What are some common over-functioning errors parents make?

  • Viewing a kid’s homework or academics as yours. (Your kid has the test- we don’t! )
  • Rescuing your kid to keep them from making mistakes. If your kid constantly leaves his books at home and you continually take them to him, why on earth would he ever bother to remember himself?
  • Believing that your kid isn’t able to do things on their own. Kids are capable of many things especially when we allow them to try
  • 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 your kid and YOU. The anxiety of the parent could be keeping a kid from launching.
  • 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 your kid.
  • Allow your kid to create their own solutions to the problems they experience.
  • 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 opportunities for success for your kids. Let’s turn failure to launch into a bright successful future for your kids