His parents don’t know what to do with 24-year-old Doug. He isn’t doing anything bad but he isn't doing anything good either. Doug is suffering from an epidemic syndrome affecting more than 36% of young adults…Failure to Launch. Doug went to college for a year or two and then quit. He moved back home to save money for his own apt and two years later is still living in his old bedroom. He makes just enough at his part time job to buy beer, a new video game system, and the occasional pizza. He has saved nothing and has made no plans to move out. He spends his days playing video games or just watching TV. His parents didn't count on this.
Psychiatrists are studying this growing trend to discover what is keeping such a large portion of the population (mostly males) in an extended state of adolescence.
What are the Red Flags?
Here are some simple red flags to look for according to Julia Brown in Addiction Professional:
- Failure to want or get a job
- Continuously extending how much longer they need to be home
- Excuses about not following through with opportunities, job was too far, hours would be too much, college is too hard
- Overall lack of any goal-setting or motivation
- Plays video games to fill up his time
- Smokes marijuana and drinks beer to relax
- Stays on Social Media for hours
- Puts off everything until tomorrow or next week
What are Some Solutions?
While it is tempting to simply “Just toss Doug out” many situations need a more tailored approach. Mark Banschick M.D in his article in Psychology Today offers the following:
- Examine the enabling parent(s). Often codependent behavior has caused the parent to be too . For the Parents it may be helpful to ask for rent money, set up boundaries, or simply have a serious talk about what Failure to Launch Syndrome is
- Let them get nervous. Dr. Banschick, says a healthy amount of anxiety is essential to fuel a young adult so he can break through his own fear of the future. It is important to create enough stress to fuel his departure.
- Encourage your adult child that you believe in them
- Consider abstinence from alcohol and marijuana. They may contribute to avoiding the anxiety of leaving the safety of the nest thereby delaying any attempt to leave
- Do something, anything. Setting up small goals, even ones as small as running to the grocery store would encourage them with small success and building their belief in their ability to succeed in setting a goal and achieving it. With each small success they will add fuel to their natural inclination to believe in their ability to be independent
Wanting a life of their own making and to be independent is normal and healthy. Helping them achieve faith in themselves to accomplish and maintain their independence is a gift each family can help them work towards.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Nadine Knapp