Failure to Launch: Guiding Your Young Adult Toward Independence

Failure to Launch: Guiding Your Young Adult Toward Independence

Failure to Launch:

Guiding Your Young Adult Toward Independence

Parents can help their child who is failing to launch by making this one change

 

Is your young adult struggling with adulting? When your young adult is experiencing a failure to launch it can show up as regular forgetfulness, avoidance or refusal to do necessary tasks.

 

What causes failure to launch?

 

As teenagers grow into young adults, their bodies and brains are changing significantly. But just because the brain and body are making big changes does not mean a teenager feels like a young adult. Sometimes, they get stuck with the uncomfortable feeling of ‘now what do I do’?

 

As parents, you expect your older teenager and young adult to be responsible for managing their daily life. But for a young adult this responsibility can create a lot of anxiety and fear.

 

We all fear the unknown. We like routines and knowing what to do. But for young adults most tasks they do fall into the unknown category of life. It may be the first time they have to do something on their own. They need to learn to set appointments, apply for an apartment, register for classes, file taxes, etc.

 

Some young adults can take these new challenges in stride, with minimal stress and anxiety. But some teenagers and young adults struggle because they have no idea what to expect or what is expected from them. And this leads to a lot of uncertainty and feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. This can lead to your young adult or teenager putting up a wall or shutting down to avoid the unknown. This can show up as “forgetting” to do things, avoiding a task or flat out refusing to do something.

 

What exactly is happening?

 

Young adults who are failing to launch, are often struggling because of a fear of the unknown. They don’t understand the process or what to say or how the other party is going to react. All these unknowns prove to be too overwhelming and so they tell themselves it is safer if they don’t do it.

 

Even if there are consequences, it is not necessarily enough of a motivator for action. Why? Because the consequence is generally known. Fear will usually make those struggling with action choose the known. Because it is often viewed as less dangerous than the unknown they are facing.

 

So what can you do as a parent when your young adult experiences a failure to launch?

 

Go back to the basics. As parents, our main job is to teach our children how we expect them to act. So just because your child is a teenager or young adult does not mean your teaching days are behind you.

 

Ask your child what feels hard about the task. What are they worried about? Listen to their answer and then offer to do the task with them, like they are your shadow. This way they can see an example that takes away the unknown. Let them see how a business call goes, how to fix an error on a bill, how to talk to the bank about their account, etc.

 

Once your child sees what they have to do, most will feel relieved and ready to do the task the next time.

 

If your young adult indicates they still have fear, then practice with them again. For the second time though, let your child take charge and you be the shadow. This will give them the security of knowing they have backup. But at the same time it will give them the experience of how to handle the situation.

 

Final thoughts on failure to launch

 

As a parent, you may sometimes forget what it was like to be a young adult launching out into the world. And truthfully, launching into independence in today’s world with social media and teh gig economy is very different.

 

Fear of the unknown can lead your teenager or young adult to question their capability. This in turn can result in them avoiding life. These feelings do not usually go away by themselves. Nor do they disappear because your child now looks like an adult.

 

Fight the urge to do the task for your child. Instead, teach your child they are capable through practice.

 

For those parents that are reading this to prevent a failure to launch:

You can set your child up for success through chores beginning at an early age. Sprinkle in bringing them along for errands or listening in to calls with businesses. Modeling how to do adult tasks will make them more confident as they grow.

Modeling is one of the best ways to teach a child, so let your child see what you do!

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Phone: 612-440-1477
Email: connect@HappyParentingAndFamilies.com
Address: 2700 Louisiana Ave, #26614, Minneapolis, MN 55426

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Copyright © 2024 Happy Parenting and Families LLC, All Rights Reserved.