What causes the evermore popular failure to launch syndrome?  Are there symptoms?  How can one overcome it?  To begin with, lets address a few of the possible underlying reasons for why failure to launch occurs.

1. Self-esteem:  Self esteem is an important factor in considering one’s level of confidence.  Confidence can help your son get a job, make good decisions, create long-lasting relationships and the list goes on and on .  Heck, confidence can even help him get that number from the cute girl in his economics class! When your self-esteem goes down… your chances of living a happy fulfilling life go down with it.

2. Responsibility:  Leaving the nest and living on his own as an adult means being responsible for himself and his actions.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but its true!  Going from little or no responsibility at home to all responsibility on your own can be scary!  Leaving the nest is a fearful, daunting, and intimidating task for many young men, especially those who are more shy and introverted in nature. When you avoid responsibility, you avoid the positive outcomes that come with it.

3. Uncertainty:  There are many factors at play when it comes to the uncertainties of life.  Just because your son goes out and gets a degree doesn’t guarantee him a job and it doesn’t guarantee he will be “successful” either. The ability to carry on in the face of uncertainty is not an easy task, but it is often the difference between success or failure. The fear of the unknown is another weight added to the stress of becoming independent.

4. Expectations:  Society in general places certain expectations on young men and your son is no different.  You need to be this or that to be “successful” and if you don’t….well, you’re incompetent.  For most adults it’s easy to forget societal expectations because lets face it, it’s been a long time since you’ve had to feel the weight of societal expectations as a young adult. Living up to the expectations of family, friends, bosses, coworkers, teachers, and society, not to mention themselves is a paralyzing thought…  and when they fail, instead of it being a learning experience its crushing blow.

5. Conclusion: These are just a few of the reasons why failure to launch occurs.  Depending on the individual, there may be more underlying reasons, but it only takes one to potentially initiate the failure to launch syndrome.  The take away is that self-esteem, responsibility, uncertainty, and expectations are all interconnected. If we fear one, chances are we fear them all and the results can be devastating. Instead of facing life on his terms a young man may choose to run and hide. The key to stopping this domino effect is to take the fear away. Once fear has been reduced to a manageable level, independence is MUCH easier to tackle!  🙂

Be sure to check back next week where we continue the failure to launch report with an understanding of why it’s frustrating for parents…




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.