As if figuring out how to adult as a late teen, early twentysomething wasn’t already hard enough, our newly minted adult children have lived through 2 years that have brought challenges their Generation X & Boomer parents never had to overcome.

The term ‘Failure to Launch’ can be defined as a young adult usually between the ages of 17 to 28-years-old who lacks the mental, emotional, and social skills necessary to successfully manage their lives on their own.

These young people find it difficult and distressing to navigate life after-high school or college.

Subsequently, they often find themselves living at home with their parents and unable to relate to peers who have successfully separated themselves from their parents or caregivers without difficulty.

This often leads to tension in the family, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and even addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Failure to launch can especially be frustrating for parents to stand by and watch as their child struggles to leave home and become self-sufficient.

Parents may wonder if they have done something wrong or somehow stunted their child’s growth versus if their adult child is being lazy and happy to live off mom and dad’s dime. While both situations could be true, there are multiple issues that affect one’s ability to launch as an independent adult.

Many young adults will need extra support at some point during the transition to adulthood. This may include a stint at home with parents, but that does not mean all young adult children living with their parents are “failing” to launch.

Failure to launch syndrome can only be considered after a long duration of dependency from the young adult without notable progression or motivation towards becoming independent.

Symptoms of Failure to Launch may include:

  • Poor work effort or ethic
  • Low stress tolerance
  • Lack of motivation
  • Little consistency or persistence toward goal achievement
  • High expectations with little know how or drive to accomplish
  • Failure to take responsibility or accountability
  • Lack of purpose or vision for the future
  • Absence of necessary skills for independent living (i.e.-basic cooking, housekeeping, money management)
  • Self-absorption, self-centeredness


How to Help

The number one way to help a young adult learn how to move forward is implementing and enforcing strong boundaries. For example, if they are going to live at home, they need to contribute to the household. This can include getting an education, holding a job, paying rent, or caring for others in the home.

Don’t enable or entitle! Make your young adult be accountable and have responsibilities to the maintenance of the household.  You are doing them no favors by paying for everything and letting them live in your basement rent free.

Hire a professional. If your adult child is suffering from a mental or emotional issues that are holding them back, seek out a coach, counselor, or therapist to help.

Encourage, support, teach and mentor them toward success. As frustrating and irritating as it may be, an unsupportive environment likely will make them feel worse and add to the feelings of failure they are experiencing. Using tough love, boundaries, and reassurance to help them advance.

If your young adult is experiencing failure to launch, I can help. Enroll today in my 6-week ‘Get Ready to Launch Bootcamp’. This 6 week 1:1 coaching program will provide the foundational skills necessary to jump start a successful self-reliant existence. I can help them see their own potential and create a fresh path, plan, and purpose to get them unstuck from their arrested development.

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Want to learn more about Char? Check me out at Home – Char Marie Coaching

Yes, you can!