Failure to Launch Help for Parents

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Failure to Launch Help for Parents

Failure to launch syndrome in young adults is used to describe young adults who have trouble leaving their parents’ nests. The young adults seem unable to leave their homes and support themselves and appear to be stuck. Essentially, the children either aren’t willing or able to move out of their parent’s homes, pursue their goals, and become self-sufficient.

The condition can take a toll on parents with children suffering from failure to launch. Still, the good news is that it can be treated, making sure that both the parent and the child are happy. 

So, what are the failure to launch symptoms?

The failure to launch symptoms include:

  • Low motivation
  • Poor work ethic
  • Lack of ambition, no short or long-term goals
  • Inability to take responsibility
  • High expectations of others but not of themselves
  • Lack of basic skills needed for adulthood, like cleaning or cooking
  • Narcissism 
  • Problems managing stress
  • Issues with persistence 
  • Procrastination 

Failure to launch can stem from a variety of factors, including:

  • Mental illness. Mental illnesses like anxiety, ADHD, depression, and other personality disorders can make a young person scared of living in the real world. They may be overwhelmed by the thought of living on their own, and it’s worse for those who haven’t received treatment for their illnesses. This is because all the comfort they know is from their parents. 
  • Helicopter parenting. This is where the parents are always involved in their child’s life and do things for them that they can do themselves comfortably. When this happens, it becomes hard for the child to move out as they dont have the self-confidence and self-worth they need. It makes it harder for them to venture out on their own as they feel they don’t have the necessary skills to live without their parents. 
  • Drug abuse. If the young adult is abusing drugs and alcohol, it could be that they already have problems supporting themselves. As such, they wouldn’t want to leave their parents’ abode. 

Once you have identified any of the signs mentioned above, you can stop failure to launch from happening. Engaging a therapist early on can help improve the young adult’s self-esteem, and you can encourage them to pick up an activity that will boost their confidence. 

For children with helicopter parents, it’s a two-sided problem. The parent must let the child take up some responsibilities and be independent, while the child must stop depending on their parent. 

Treatment For Failure to Launch

Before looking to treat failure to launch, it’s essential that, as a parent, you learn about the factors contributing to your child’s stunted development. It is sometimes difficult for parents to follow through on these strategies. The support of a professional therapist can be of great help to parents. That way, you can be in a better position to address the problem. That being said, some of the steps to treat failure to launch are:

  1. Keep clear communication lines. As much as you’re frustrated with your child or the family members who are enabling them, it’s vital that you communicate clearly with them. If you don’t talk about your frustrations, they increase, making the situation worse. If the communication is broken, you can reach out to us, and we’ll help you reconnect with your child. 
  2. Set boundaries and clear expectations. When you have a young adult with failure to launch, parents can be reluctant to set boundaries. Yet, this is precisely what you should do. Clearly express your expectations and make sure that they understand to avoid conflict in the future. While your young adult might not like the boundaries and expectations, stand your ground, and with your therapist, you can review the terms as you go. 
  3. Stop accommodating. No parent wants to see their child suffer, and they fall into the trap of giving them too much financial and emotional support. While you’re hel[ping them out of love and concern, you’re also enabling them. Be explicit with the expectations you have for them and give them some responsibilities. 
  4. Get a good therapist. In most cases, the failure to launch is an underlying mental health problem that needs to be treated. Finding a good therapist can help them change their perspective about the outside world and equip them to face their fears.


The failure to launch syndrome in young adults can be frustrating for any parent who wants to see their child spread their wings and fly. With our programs for struggling young adults, we can help your child overcome the failure to launch syndrome, ensuring that they are well prepared to be by themselves. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment so we can help you and your child.