Failure to Launch Adult Children

First, Failure to Launch seems like such a mean term. I only use it as a description but do not judge parents or young adult children who are struggling at this crucial point. I can assist you with assessing the situation you are dealing with can coach you with evidence based skills to enhance your young persons motivation to change as well as some proven behavioral techniques to alleviate your own stress. This is a complex issue and every situation is different.

I have one piece of free advice that often helps to break the log jam to launching from the parental nest.This is advice that I give to parents whose children are not stuck because of severe emotional issues or substance abuse problems. It is the cell phone, oftentimes parents are still paying for the cell phones of their young adult children. The smart phone has become a crucial source of connection and most young adults are extremely attached to theirs. Many times I notice that parents will sacrifice and their young adult children have the newer more expensive phones and use most of the data in the family plans. I encouraged a meeting where the parent explains that the phone is a privilege that needs to be earned and that something has to be done to earn it such as mobilizing to look for a job, going back to school, or even participating in the family by doing chores. It really does not matter what the first step is as it is a beginning of shifting the dynamics. If the activity is not done then the phone will be turned off. You can supply your child with and inexpensive burner phone with limited minutes for safety reasons if you feel you must do that. This is still a deterrent as the phone you use is in our culture now oftentimes viewed as part of who you are. Most young people do not want a simple phone. Anyway, try this and see if it helps. I recommend you sit down with your adult child and tell them that this is the plan and that they have two weeks to demonstrate action on this. They are told that they need to come with documented proof of the change that was requested. Otherwise the phone will be turned off by a certain date. The crucial thing is to steel yourself and follow through. Remember boundaries are gifts that we give to our children.

I have successfully helped many families to deal with this issue and would be pleased to coach you on how to get things moving in your


Warmest Wishes,

Marguerite Wood LICSW

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Norwell, MA Therapist

Marguerite Wood, LICSW