Failure to launch in young adults


Failure to launch syndrome affects many young adults who struggle to transition from adolescence to adulthood. These young adults appear to lack the motivation needed to function independently. After failing to succeed in college or university, many end up back in their parents’ home. They become listless with no clear direction in life.

It is common for these young adults to feel discouraged, out-of-sync with their peers, and at odds with their parents who expect their children to make it on their own. The result is often a lowered sense of self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and possibly substance abuse.

A variety of factors can lead to failure to launch. Internal problems such as learning disabilities or mental illness can have a detrimental impact on a child’s ability to transition. Helicopter parenting may have prevented the child from learning how to function independently. It could also be a lack of the support networks that every university or college student needs to succeed.

Failure to launch can also occur as a result of behavioral or emotional issues. If your child is experiencing these kinds of issues, it is important to determine whether a deeper, more serious co-occurring problem exists.

Could substance abuse be an underlying issue?

While an adult child living at home may simply need more time to learn independence and responsibility, they could also be struggling with an underlying problem such as substance abuse or addiction.

At Retorno, the largest Jewish organization in the world for the prevention and treatment of addictions, we have treated numerous young adults where failure to launch and addiction were co-occurring. Our rehabilitation programs are designed to treat the root cause of the problem and enable young adults to achieve a full sustainable recovery.

Does your child occasionally smoke a joint and have a few drinks with friends? Or does he or she have a substance abuse problem? As a parent, you need to know. If you are uncertain, you need to get expert help to determine the difference between using and abusing. If you suspect your child is experimenting with drugs, it is crucial to address the problem and seek help.

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