What Is Failure To Launch Syndrome?

I wanted to share this with you, as it is so common in modern society today. I have actually lost someone from suicide because of this.

By the time teenagers begin transforming into adulthood, they are typically ready to venture out into the world on their own. This is a new stage of excitement and experimentation for most young adults who are willing to leave theirs parent’s home and make their own path in life. Of course, this is also a very scary, uncertain time for young adults. How will they afford rent? Will they get a job? Can they keep up their grades if they go to college? All of these worries are normal and even expected at this time. Usually, young adults “launch” out of their parents homes and make it happen.

Sometimes, however, young adults don’t “launch” at all. They may go off to college and even graduate, but go right back home afterwards. This is known as failure to launch syndrome and it impacts millions of young adults every year,

So, What Is Failure To Launch Syndrome?

Failure to launch syndrome is not technically a syndrome, but instead it is a term used to described young adults who do not venture out on their own when they reach adulthood. Individuals who have failure to launch syndrome struggle to leave their parents (or caregivers) homes in order to begin their own lives. Sometimes, failure to launch syndrome is triggered by an experience. In other cases, there is no real reason behind why a young adult struggles to launch from the nest.

What Causes Failure To Launch?

Parents looking for failure to launch help may wonder why it happens. It may happen because the young adult has experienced something that emotionally or physically impacted them. Some young adults have trouble adjusting to being away from their parents or caregivers. Maybe their lives are not meeting their expectations and retreating to the familiarity of home. Or in some cases young adults never leave home at all.

I know with my experience my cousin never left home, he would gets jobs and even ran his own business for awhile but he continued to live with his parents once, my uncle passed as away, he stayed with my aunt until she passed away, my cousin could never adjust to living on his own .after that happened my cousin couldn’t cope in everyday life situations like paying the bills, or even going out to buy groceries on his own. A year after my aunt passed away he committed suicide. Because he couldn’t cope without his parents. He was never taught how to survive in the real world. He was very intelligent when it came to birds and even astrology. Sadly he never learned how to cope in real life.

I fear that these millions of young adults are headed down the same road.

Pre-COVID, almost half of adults from age 18-29 lived with a parent. But, COVID drove many families to live together in order to protect health or address economic hardship because so many businesses were forced to shut down. For this reason adult children become moving out more intimidating than ever.

Something called helicopter parenting can bring on failure to launch by teaching a child that someone else will always take the lead in running their lives. Parents who overly involve themselves in their children’s lives when they are young may end up taking away the child’s ability to learn to become independent and it’s becoming more rampant than ever these days.

Parents may believe they are making life easier for their kids, but are actually providing a roadblock that stops a child from learning confidence and valuable life experience they will need once they turn 18.

For many people, no real cause of failure to launch can be found. They lack the desire to move into their own place and be financially responsible for themselves. The longer this lifestyle of dependence goes on , the harder it is to shift their focus and take on the challenge of fully grown up.

The Risk Factor Of Failure To Launch

There is no reason why some young adults experience failure to launch syndrome, rather there are several risk factors that can contribute to the development of this issue.

Consider the following:

1. Helicopter Parenting. Helicopter parenting is a parent who is constantly hovering over their child and watching all their moves. They regularly insert themselves into their child’s business and even do things for them that they are capable of doing themselves. When parents helicopter parent regularly, it can create a lack of confidence abs self-worth in a child. Therefore, the idea of venturing out on their own then becomes terrifying, as they do not fee, they have the skills to be successful without their parents.

2. Substance Abuse. If the parents or others in the household are abusing drugs and alcohol, the red flags a young adult would e showing regarding failure to launch could go unnoticed. There is no intervention to help mitigate this growing problem. Conversely, when the young adult is the one with the addiction by having problems supporting themselves, making them less likely to want to leave their parents homes.

3. Mental Illness. Mental Illnesses like, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and personality disorders can make a young adult fearful of the real world and become overwhelmed by the thought of having to live on their own. It may become more pronounced in those who have not obtained treatment for their mental Illness, as the only comfort they know comes from their parents.

As mentioned before, not all failure to launch cases can be pinpointed back to a specific cause. However, being aware of what can trigger failure to launch syndrome can help stop its development or prevent it entirely.

Failure To Launch Symptoms

It is a common misconception that you feel adults who are dealing with failure to launch syndrome are simply lazy. Most young adults have reasons as to why they are struggling to transition into adulthood. Unfortunately, these reasons need to be identified and addressed I order for young adults to make real progress in their lives.

Young adults experiencing failure to launch can exhibit several symptoms, ranging in intensity bases on the severity of the situation. Some of the most common failure to launch symptoms can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Little or no ambition
  • No idea the direction of their lives
  • Poor work ethic
  • Low motivation
  • Narcissism
  • Inability to take responsibility
  • High expectations of others, but not living up to high expectations of themselves with others
  • Problems with persistence
  • Procrastination about the next steps of life
  • Trouble managing stress

Not all young adults experience failure to launch are going to show the same symptoms as the next, but these are the most common symptoms that people can exhibit at this time.

Treatment For Failure To Launch

While treatment for this in the past was to just kick young adults out when they were old enough to move out on their own. This may not be the case now, because of the Changes in society and how children are raised today, I’m not sure if this would be affective anymore.

The treatment option for a young adult dealing with failure to launch syndrome (and their family) would probably be therapy. Depending on the severity of the problem, some therapy would be best conducted within a treatment center.

Along with young adults their family members might have to adopt self-care practices such as getting enough sleep, eating well, setting boundaries while utilizing healthy coping skills and so on.

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