Over the years many parents have asked us what they can do to get their son who is struggling with failure to launch, out of the house and on their way to becoming independent. Usually at this point parents are at their wits end and are confused as to what they may have done wrong and often ask themselves why their son doesn’t have a job, a social life or any motivation to move out on his own. These are just a few of the many ‘side-effects” that parents often experience when dealing with a son who is experiencing failure to launch syndrome.
Giving him a free handout is not the answer
As a parent of a stay-at-home adult it can be extremely taxing when your son has no job or worse, no motivation to go out and get one. At this point parents are desperate and begin to focus on the symptoms rather than the root of the problem. As a result parents feel their only option is to literally do the work themselves by going out and finding their son a job. Often this involves parents handing their son an easy yet well-paid job working for the family business or asking friends and family if they wouldn’t mind sharing the risk of hiring an unmotivated, disinterested and unreliable employee as a favor. Finally he has a job! There’s often a slight improvement at first but as time goes on it becomes more and more apparent that the real underlying issue is still looming. Before long he begins to take the job for granted, shows up late or not at all, and performs at such a mediocre level that he’s eventually fired and is back at the same place he started… in his room.
This is an all to common scenario these days and ultimately results in parents feeling defeated and resentful in the end. Save yourself the headache and do things right from the beginning by focusing more on the problem and less on the symptoms. The more you practice the better you’ll get at identifying and addressing the real issue.
Failure to Launch Syndrome:
you’ll need more than just a few aspirin
To look at this from a different perspective, let’s use the analogy of a young man experiencing severe appendicitis. How would he feel? What would be his symptoms? His symptoms would probably include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, constipation, nausea or a combination of these things. Let’s also assume that this young man was unaware he was experiencing appendicitis and decided instead to reach for a few aspirin, an ice pack, and some much needed rest. Has this young man solved his problem? Of course not. The pain may have dissipated for a time but because the root issue was never addressed the pain will undoubtedly return again. In fact, his condition may even get worse or even become life threatening. The same can be said when dealing with a young man who is struggling to launch and achieve independence. That sad truth is this… very little improvement will be made with your son as long as the focus is on the symptoms and not on the root of the problem.
Treat it like a weed and get to the root of the problem!
May I give you another analogy? We can also look at this is from a gardening perspective. We all know that if we cut a weed down, it will only grow back. It’s the roots of the plant that needs to be addressed. What is the core reasoning behind this sedentary lifestyle for boys who are experiencing failure to launch? Some say its depression, others say its pornography and yet others point the finger at video game addiction, often it’s a combination things, some of which I’ve already mentioned, but all of which usually point back to the root of the problem, low self-esteem and a severe lack of self confidence. When parenting your adult son, try to approach this delicate situation from a different perspective and you’ll begin to discover the real underlying causes as to why he’s experiencing failure to launch, only then can long-term solutions be introduced.
The Forte Strong family
About The Author
Brook Price dedicated himself to helping others early in his life. He grew up in Sunny Orange County California, then joined the Marine Corps at the age of 21 serving five and half years as a helicopter crew chief and then as chief accountant. His journey with this type of work began when he volunteered as a Young Marines Instructor during his time in the Marines, helping kids get off the street, improve their lives and develop as a leader. After his tour Brook left the Marines to pursue a career in experiential therapy by attending Southern Utah University where he majored in outdoor recreation with a minor in psychology.
Brook has seventeen years experience working for a variety of different therapeutic and transitional programs across the nation. His thirst for knowledge drove him to learn and study successful therapeutic models and programs across the country, most notably Outward Bound. Brook has experience working with therapeutic, residential, military, wilderness and transitional programs for adults and adolescents.