If your adult son seems stuck in his childlike ways and is struggling to live life independently, he may need outside help to overcome his “failure to thrive.” For someone struggling with this can have a harder time being around family during the holidays.


You can face the holidays better by overcoming your Failure to Launch syndrome. Forte Strong, located in St. George, Utah, offers a safe space for men to learn how to live up to their full potential.


Forte Strong is a national life coaching, therapy, and independent living program dedicated to teaching men the necessary skills to be independent.


Your son may need help if he’s showing the following five signs in his day-to-day life.

Lacks the desire to live and succeed on their own


You may find yourself frustrated with your “lazy,” “unfocused, “unmotivated” adult child who seems completely comfortable not supporting himself. Men who struggle with growing up, also known as Failure to Launch Syndrome, experience a lack of motivation or a failure to launch themselves into adulthood and out of their parent’s house.

Has difficulty keeping a steady job


You may notice that your son doesn’t have the capability of keeping a job for a consistent amount of time, whether it be because he lacks the skills his employee is expecting from him or he constantly shows up late or misses days because he doesn’t have the motivation to go.


He may also bounce from job to job because he has a hard time discovering a path that he is interested in or simply doesn’t have the patience to stay in one field to find if he likes it or not.


Has poor communication and social skills


Adult males who struggle with independency and growing up may struggle with the communication and social skills it takes to navigate adulthood. You may notice these poor skills when they react to stress by withdrawing and becoming irritated. Your son will show signs of struggling with communicating in social situations appropriately or have a lack of interest in connecting with people around him. When someone struggles with social skills, understanding how relationships are formed often seems foreign to them, so they avoid socializing together.

Battles substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)


It is common for any individual to combat a problem or stressor with an unhealthy coping mechanism: drugs and alcohol. If they are already struggling with dependency and stability, it is likely they will turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their stress. They may find themselves stuck which leads them to disconnect with substances, leading to an addiction or abuse problem.


Struggles to manage finances on their own


If your son is struggling with entering adulthood, having financial dependency is common. Men who have this difficulty need to continue relying on their parents for financial support because they can’t keep a steady job. Even if they do have a job, they will often struggle to save money or know how to budget, so they easily spend it on useless things.


Other “signs my son needs help” include:


  • Commitment issues
  • Unreliable
  • Emotional instability
  • Lack of accountability and blaming others
  • The expectation for others to take care of them
  • Procrastination
  • Refuses to take constructive criticism
  • Refuses to leave their childhood home
  • Prioritizes fun activities over adult responsibilities
  • Befriending children instead of individuals their age


Your son may exhibit more signs than this or only exhibit some of them. Coaches and therapists in the Forte Strong program can help your son overcome these challenges and others like social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, depression impulsivity, defiance, ADHD, low self-esteem, video game addiction, and other dependency issues that hold them back. 


You can fill out an eligibility questionnaire on its website to determine if your son would be a good fit for its program. This program may also help solidify the signs my son needs help.


Why send your son to Forte Strong 


Forte Strong is structured around one niche


Forte Strong is only for men who are failing to launch into adulthood and out of their childlike tendencies. Your son won’t be surrounded by people with other struggles like drugs, violence, theft, etc. The program will offer him help to overcome his failure to thrive while allowing him to create meaningful relationships with the young men around him that have the same struggle.


Your son can achieve independence in 6-9 months


Forte Strong will provide your son with the resources to develop the skills necessary to become self-reliant and independent in 6-9 months. Your son can achieve independence and maturity in a short time to launch into the “real world” quicker than he would be attempting to overcome his difficulties by himself.


Your son will develop, understand and respect his strengths


Forte Strong will teach your son how to unlock his strengths and use them correctly. Your greatest strengths can also be your greatest weaknesses. Forte Strong uses the tool of fire as an example. Fire can help you or hurt you, depending on how it is used. Fire can keep you warm outside or light your way in the dark, but it can also burn down bridges or homes. Our strengths are like fire. We need to use them correctly for them to be beneficial. A child can create destruction if they haven’t learned how to utilize their strengths correctly. The program will help your son understand and use his strengths to succeed in life.


Promotes engaging and purposeful work


Forte Strong will help your son out of his “failure to thrive” state by inspiring him to dedicate himself to achieving his goals. Every man should love his work and work with a purpose, and that is what the program promotes to their men. Your son will grow from the inside out and learn what he stands for and believes in. Their website states: “Many of our young men come to Forte Strong believing they are not capable of getting a good job, being promoted, or even making more than minimum wage. In just a few weeks, we are able to help these young men break these self-limitations by helping them discover their purpose and understand the ‘why’ behind their actions.”

Forte Strong focuses on the journey and destination


The Forte Strong program is not a rehabilitation center; it’s a journey the men go through to advance from their failure to thrive. The program does not focus on just graduating because that often symbolizes an end rather than a steppingstone to their journey through building independence. The men who visit Forte Strong will be taught about their continual progress and growth.


Living with a purpose


Living life with a purpose means that you have a reason to wake up in the morning and that you are living life with a goal in mind. Your purpose in life is specific, directed, and precise. Everyone has unique characteristics that give them a unique purpose and function. Knowing your characteristics help you to find your purpose.


To find your purpose, you need to experience and explore different things that teach you about yourself. For example, if you are someone who is caring and thinks about others before making decisions, then you might find something in the field of helping others, such as humanitarian work.


Your purpose doesn’t need to be work-related; it can involve a hobby. If you love to learn new things, you may find yourself learning languages, fixing things in the house that are broken, refinishing old items, etc.


Discovering your purpose comes down to figuring out what you love to do and giving yourself a reason to do things.


If you know someone or you yourself have experienced a failure to thrive, it’s important that the individual talks to someone about what they’re going through. The most damage comes from ignoring the problem.


The solution may be as simple as working with your parents to overcome the challenges of entering adulthood. You may also want to seek outside help like Forte Strong.


How to help without enabling


If you’ve seen signs of “failure to thrive” in your son and feel as though you’ve enabled the behavior, there are ways you can help turn things around.


First, it is vital for you to discontinue enabling your child who has these struggles. You need to draw the line between letting him learn how to stand on his own and bailing him out. You need to set boundaries with your child by letting them know you are there to listen and offer advice, but it will be better for them if they learn how to figure it out on their own.


If you continue to rescue your child from their situations, it is sending them a message saying, “you’re not competent to make it on your own,” so they don’t try to fix things on their own because they feel like they can’t.


To go along with the previous example, if your son has moved back in, you should encourage them to be independent by giving them stipulations for living there such as pitching in on rent, buying their own food, doing their own laundry, and helping with household chores. This allows them to see that you are being supportive by allowing them to come back home, but not letting them cross the boundary of you taking care of them.


The following are examples to help motivate your child toward healthy independence and avoid failure to thrive:


  • Encourage your child to contribute to rent if they have a job
  • Don’t constantly give spending money without seeing an effort on their part toward independence
  • Agree on a time limit of how long the child is expected to move out
  • If you can afford it, offer to help with starting costs of renting an apartment
  • Limit how much you solve your child’s crisis. Instead, encourage them to find a solution by asking what their ideas are
  • Attend support groups if your child has a substance abuse problem
  • Don’t be too quick to offer help that enables your child. If they ask for money, tell them you need to talk it over with your spouse or even ask them how they can help him without paying the full expense of what he is asking for help with.