Young Adult Failure to Launch Syndrome – What is it and How to Cope With it

Last Update on December 29, 2023 : Published on December 30, 2023
Failure to Launch Syndrome

Are you scared of moving out of your parent’s home and being alone? If so, you might be struggling with failure to launch syndrome – a phrase used for young individuals who fear going out on their own.

These individuals depend on their parents and find doing things independently difficult. They show incapability in starting their own life and doing things.

Compared to females, males are more prone to encounter failure-to-launch syndrome, and cultural and socioeconomic influences play a vital role in it.

Traditional gender norms, for example, frequently impose pressure on males to be providers and breadwinners, which can cause anxiety, and the feeling of failure if they are unable to attain financial independence makes them encounter the syndrome.

Apart from this, an incident or some childhood experiences make one move towards failure to launch syndrome and stop the bird (young adult) from leaving its nest (home). Besides this, there are other reasons too. This post will discuss them and everything related to the syndrome.

What Is Failure to Launch Syndrome

Failure to launch syndrome these days is a common way of labeling individuals who struggle to leave their parent’s house and are afraid of the transition phase. These individuals cannot take responsibility, support themselves independently, and take any actions without help. 

In most Western countries, when the child grows up and becomes a young adult, they are expected to leave their home and start living life in their home.

This is done to see the young adult fly independently; however, when the individual fails to move out of their nest, search for a job, become financially secure, and withdraw from the outer world, they encounter failure to launch syndrome. 

What Causes Launch Failure?

Parents who want their children to be independent and explore the world generally seek answers for why their child struggles with failure to launch-syndrome.  Several reasons are responsible for it, and here we list them: 

1. The adult kid has been emotionally or physically harmed. This can be a physical or sexual attack, or it could be any sort of trauma. 

2. Something might have happened in the college that didn’t meet their expectations, and they find comfort at home.

3. Moving out, living alone, and managing expenses might send chills and make one feel restless. 

4. Helicopter parenting.  Here, the parent constantly hangs over their child and monitors their movements. They frequently interfere with the child’s affairs and even perform tasks that the child can do independently. This develops a lack of confidence and self-worth, and the idea of doing things independently becomes daunting.

5. The parents do everything for the children, thinking they are making life easy for their children, but in reality, they are preventing them from being confident and taking charge of their lives. 

6. If the parents or others in the family are into drug abuse, the warning signs of failure to launch may go unchecked. In contrast, if a young adult has an addiction, they may be struggling to support themselves, making them less likely to desire to leave their parents’ house.

As previously stated, not all failure to launch incidents state one reason for the problem. However, knowing what can cause the syndrome helps slow it down and stop its progression.

Symptoms – Failure to Launch Syndrome

The general misconception about young individuals suffering from failure to launch syndrome is that they feel unmotivated and frightened by the thought of moving to maturity.

But this isn’t true, and to understand the syndrome, one must understand the symptoms because, unfortunately, it goes unacknowledged and unaddressed. 

Symptoms young people show when suffering from failure to launch syndrome vary depending on the severity of the issue. Some of the common symptoms include: 

  • Little or no ambition.
  • No notion of how they want things to move ahead and where their lives are going. They have a poor work ethic.
  • Always feel unmotivated.
  • Narcissism. 
  • Afraid of taking responsibilities 
  • Incapable of accepting challenges and responsibilities.
  • They expect a lot from others but fail to live up to the high expectations of others
  • Persistence difficulties
  • Procrastinate about life’s next stages
  • Cannot handle stress

Not all young adults suffering from launch to failure display similar symptoms. However, the above-listed symptoms are the most common ones. 

How to Overcome Launch Failure Syndrome?

Therapy is the best choice for a young adult (and their family) suffering with failure to launch syndrome. CBT, DBT, talk therapy, empty chairs, and others work best. If the family members are concerned about their loved one, they can also participate in treatment alongside the young adult.

In addition, the young adult and the family members should also practice self-care techniques such as getting enough sleep, eating properly, setting boundaries, and using healthy coping skills.

If you believe a young adult in your life is suffering from failure to launch syndrome, remember you can assist them in making the adjustment they require to live happy, healthy lives by seeking out assistance.

Young Adult Failure to Launch Syndrome – Key Takeaways

  • Pay attention to your kids when they are in a transition phase. 
  • Explain to them why doing things independently matters and should be done. 
  • Empathize with the young adult and understand the reason that might be stopping them from moving out.
  • Help them, but let them do things on their own. 

Raising a child is not easy. This is why sometimes parents fail to give their children the proper knowledge to help them become successful, productive individuals.

Hence, when you think there have been some mistakes or your child is falling for failure to launch syndrome due to any experience or any other reason, try to empathize with the situation and take them to therapy. 

Be vigilant when your adolescent is at the moment in their life when they need to transition into maturity and out of your house. If you find them struggling or developing a fear of moving out, talk to a therapist, as they can devise a plan that will help deal with the syndrome.

Always remember that you cannot help a person throughout their life. They must learn to do things as you never know when they might have to start a new life independently.

About The Author

Ayush Yadav
Ayush Yadav

Aayush is a writer, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change and make people aware about the history. He holds a bachelor's in law, lives in the princely state Jaipur and is passionate about helping people in anyway possible. In his spare time, he is usually out with friends and enjoys exploring different facets of life.

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