04 Sep Failure To Launch – Insights & Solutions
Mission Control We Have A Failure To Launch
However, this Failure To Launch doesn’t involve the space program. It involves young adults, their families, and social/economic issues. Failure To Launch isn’t a diagnosis or disease, or even a disorder. It’s commonly referred to as a syndrome. According to a Zillow 2014 study, about 10,000,000 Americans aged 24-34 lived at home with Mom. That’s a sizable syndrome. Surprisingly, only 14.1 percent of the group didn’t have jobs. Joblessness has little to do with the syndrome. Also noteworthy is that males comprised 55 percent of those surveyed. Psychology Today has an article that even calls it an epidemic.
What Is Failure To Launch Syndrome?
More important than its definition or label is recognizing the common behaviors associated with Failure To Launch. While not everyone will exhibit all these behaviors to a tee, some of the typical symptoms include:
- Putting one’s own desires and gratification above the importance of earning money
- Bailing on situations when they get stressful
- Not feeling strong enough motivation to succeed and get things done
- A lack of fortitude to persist through difficulties
- Expecting to get from others without also giving
- Immaturity in taking responsibility for one’s own actions
- Not setting clear short-term or long-term goals that go beyond fun and play
- showing narcissistic traits of not being concerned with the needs of others
- Unskilled with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or laundry.
- Feelings of low self-esteem are pretty common
It helps to conceptualize Failure to Launch as an emotional and social stunting of sorts. Maybe you see yourself in this list? Maybe you see this in your adult child? The good news is that you can find professional support to create a better independent life!
Why Is Failure To Launch Happening?
This isn’t a simple issue, and there are a lot of reasons. Many professionals focus on individual personality issues and parenting impact. While these are valid and important, I see it as many different issues that have been unfolding for decades. The truth is that life today isn’t just a little different from the past, it’s a lot different. During most of the 20th century, going through life was a relatively straightforward and predictable process. Now, not so much.
Disruption And Instability
Giant leaps in technology brought us cool stuff, but also disruption in many industries. We’ve seen massive offshoring and outsourcing of US manufacturing and technical support. This has created increased competition and reduced opportunity for good paying careers. Recessions have a psychological impact on believing if success is possible. Endless war, terrorism, unrest at home and abroad, and on and on. Then there are the major shifts in how young adults have been socialized and parented.
What Is All This Screen Time Doing?
Previous generations had to interact with each other directly, and consider diverse points of view. Mobile Internet technology has allowed them to bypass that. They can communicate with the world while sitting alone in their room. This has created a paradoxical condition where people are super connected, and very disconnected at the same time. Endless niche options and algorithms creates a narrow bubble for ideas and interests that are rarely challenged.
Messages With Good Intention, But…
Parents have had social pressures to have their children reach top achievement. It’s an unbalanced and unfair message that caused parents to obsess and micromanage their children’s lives. This, combined with the reality that not all people can be top achievers, caused excessive focus on perfectionism. The intent seemed worthy, but ended up imprinting the parent’s fears and anxieties on their children.
Another message heavily promoted is that children should never be offended or have their self esteem injured in any way. The reasoning is it will create young adults that are happy, well adjusted, and confident. What it instead created is a superficial confidence with hollow achievements like participation trophies. It turns out that unearned praise and reward hurts a person’s ability to cope with adversity, think through challenges, and have a thick skin. It also ends up lowering self esteem.
Not Doing Chores
We also bought into the idea that not burdening our children with common mundane chores would reduce resentment, and allow them to focus on being a top achiever. That may be the case for some. But, now we have many young adults untrained for these tasks, and insecure about living on their own. This wide range of factors is why we’re seeing widespread Failure To Launch.
After working for 30 years with young adults, I have seen a progression of Failure To Launch. People are increasingly demonstrating less persistence and perseverance. People are giving up too easily. The affected young person struggles in many ways. Those struggles often cause real anguish to their parents. The adult child finds it hard to leave home and become fully independent. They are lost in work, love, relationships, money, spirit. Both in thought and action. The sufferers may be educated, able to think for themselves, and even have a job or career. But, for the reasons I’ve talked about, they just aren’t morphing into independent adults.
Is There A Solution?
Absolutely YES! Parents are the most important influence in their adult children’s lives. They can help by becoming “coaches” who guide their children away from stagnation. By providing the guidance that their child needs to transition smoothly into adult life. Expose them to and explain the negative and positive aspects of life. Have less screen time, and get your children involved with others that think differently. If your child helps those less fortunate, they will gain wonderful balancing perspectives. Don’t just take care of their problems. Coach them through how to deal with and resolve them. Chores are crucial. Young adults are benefited by knowing how to do everyday tasks, and tough jobs like changing a tire. I hope this information will be useful in helping young adults, and their parents, to get unstuck, and move onto a rewarding independent life.
Professional Help Is A Great Investment
The young adult and their parents need support in many ways. Both can greatly increase the speed and success of this transition by joining a Failure To Launch treatment program. As the parent of someone that is soon to enter adulthood, I am passionately committed to this issue. I’ve developed a well structured and effective Failure To Launch treatment program called Light The Fuse. This group provides a safe and accepting environment that removes isolation, and creates camaraderie. Then we can offer useful support and tools needed to revitalize you, or your loved one, on their life journey. The experienced and compassionate professionals at Sirona Therapy help our clients push past their obstacles and limitations to start leading more purposeful and fulfilling lives.
We Are Here To Help Your Child Thrive!
Jennifer L. Zauner, LCSWR