Not everyone acclimates to adulthood easily. Many young adults with failure to launch syndrome feel stuck in a rut—unable to break free from uncertainty and indecision. That’s okay! Failure to launch programs give young adults the resources they need to transition smoothly and confidently into adulthood as well-rounded, independent individuals.

Failure to launch programs know that individual success stems from independence, emotional development, and community involvement. Through experiential and therapeutic activities, young adults cultivate and fine-tune these skills. By the time they leave the program, they are ready to thrive.

The majority of failure to launch programs are residential. This gives young adults the opportunity to learn and grow away from the safety net of their family and friends. Young adults will be given the comfort of support and security—as they do at home—in a new, fresh environment filled with learning and self-evaluation.

What Is Failure to Launch Syndrome?

Failure to launch syndrome refers to a young adult—typically 18 to 25 years old— who is struggling to properly transition into adulthood. Though failure to launch syndrome is not an official diagnosis, it is a valid issue. Some blossom as they reach adulthood, excited to gain independence and discover themselves through emotional and intellectual growth. However, others find themselves debilitatingly nervous or unmotivated. Though they might like the thought of college and/or career opportunities, they struggle to commit to the execution.

Those with failure to launch syndrome are likely to continue living with their parents after high school or move back in with them after college. Many do obtain higher education degrees but doubt their skills, accomplishments, or talents, causing them to believe they are unworthy of a career in the field they studied. Parents tend to blame themselves for their child’s failure to launch syndrome, feeling they have enabled or spoiled them. This can be a contributing factor, but there are other influences in the development of this syndrome—the root problem stemming from the individual. It is not uncommon for young adults to set such high standards for themselves that their own expectations overwhelm them to the point of regression.

Adulthood can be scary—filled with uncertainties and responsibilities. The pressure of it can stunt a young adult’s ability to move forward and cause them to act immaturely. In order to find the motivation they need and learn independence, those with failure to launch syndrome will benefit from time spent in a developmentally stimulating environment filled with helpful professionals.

Does My Child Have Failure to Launch Syndrome?

As a parent, your child is your world. Simultaneously, you want to make sure you have given them the tools to craft their own livelihood. They might not see their potential but you do. If your adult child moved back in with you post-college or has never left the nest, it can be worrisome. If your adult child remains stagnant—exhibiting low drive and little progression—then it is safe to say their dependency is characteristic of failure to launch syndrome. Here are other indicators to keep an eye out for:

  • Narcissism
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Poor domestic skills (such as grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning)
  • Weak sense of motivation
  • Inability to support themselves financially
  • Lack of genuine work ethic
  • Low self-esteem
  • Talking about goals but not taking actions
  • Holding others to unfairly high standards
  • Few plans for the future
  • High sensitivity
  • Emotional distress

How To Overcome Failure to Launch Syndrome

Failure to Launch syndrome is temporary, and overcoming it is well within reach. Addressing this issue can be tricky, and it is important to remain gentle when confronting a young adult about their failure to launch syndrome. It would be counter-productive to hurt the individual’s self-esteem further as this only adds to their lack of motivation. Thankfully, there are ways to discuss this syndrome in a constructive manner. Here are manageable steps that will guide young adults through the haze of self-actualization, helping them to confidently zoom into adulthood:

  • Have experiences. Many young adults feel jealous of the passion or talent others have. What they do not realize is that these attributes do not develop overnight. In fact, for many, it takes years of being in the wrong field for them to discover what they are best suited for. The only way to find yourself is to explore the world around you—even if you do make mistakes along the way.
  • Set achievable goals. The easiest way to accomplish something is to work towards it. If you set overwhelming goals or hold yourself to impossible standards, you are likely to get burned out. Make realistic goals and come up with a plan to achieve them.
  • Live in the present. Your life might have unfolded differently than you hoped, and that’s perfectly fine. You cannot control the future nor change the past. All you can do is move forward and try your best.
  • Use your support system. Just because you will not always be living with your family, does not mean they will not be there for you. Understand that they want the best for you and look forward to reveling in your accomplishments.
  • Enroll in a failure to launch program. Failure to launch treatment is an invigorating and exciting way to ease the stress of becoming a self-sustaining adult.

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    Do Failure to Launch Programs Work?

    When a young adult does not make efforts to gain independence, seek out work, or come up with solid goals for more than a year, enrolling in a failure to launch program is by far the most effective way to get them back on track. These programs teach needed life skills, offer effective therapies, and facilitate fun social activities in a safe environment. Young adults are removed from their family and friends, giving them the opportunity to learn how to succeed on their own. The therapies available in these programs help young adults to process uncomfortable issues, including:

    • Emotional unrest
    • Social anxiety
    • Imposter syndrome
    • Trauma

    Benefits of Failure to Launch Programs

    Failure to launch syndrome is not the end of the world as programs are available. After spending time at a failure to launch facility, young adults emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and perseverance. They will likely have a more concise sense of self than many of their peers—even those who did not have a hard time launching. A lot of young adults do not have the opportunity to learn about and grow into adulthood in a comfortable and supportive environment. It’s okay if you are struggling to launch. Participating in a failure to launch program is a positive experience that guides young adults toward their destined path.

    Types of Therapy for Failure to Launch Syndrome

    Medical professionals are important in the aid of failure to launch syndrome as treatment is not one size fits all. The condition stems from a variety of underlying causes. During therapy, a medical professional identifies a young adult’s causation for failure to launch syndrome, and the course of action best suited for their development. The following types of therapy are commonly used to help young adults flourish into contributing members of their community:

    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. A healthy thought process is essential to success. This type of therapy helps you to combat negative thoughts and focus on positive decision-making.
    • Acceptance and commitment therapy. Living in the moment is an important part of launching into adulthood. Stressing about the past or worrying about the future only weighs you down. This type of therapy promotes mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, to help relieve anxiety and promote clarity.
    • Career counseling. Deciding on the best job for you is a challenging—often frustrating—process. A career counselor takes your goals or interests into consideration and guides you through relevant career options. If your desired occupation requires further education or certain certifications, they can walk you through the next steps.
    • Family therapy. This is very important for those with failure to launch syndrome as their families are often providing them with critical support. Through therapy, a family can identify patterns that will help lessen the dependency and improve the individuality of the young adult.

    Treating Failure to Launch Syndrome at Launch Centers

    Ready to make the first step toward a more fulfilling life? Launch Center is equipped with a qualified and compassionate staff, ready to get you motivated and your goals kickstarted. With an individualized approach to treatment, you are sure to learn valuable life skills while addressing the underlying causes of your failure to launch syndrome. You have the power to become a fierce, independent adult with nothing in your way! Contact Launch Centers at 1-424-526-5339 to reclaim your life today.

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    Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

    • Conner H.

      Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me.

    • Nicole Y.

      This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

    • Jenna S.

      Launch changed our lives. Our family had been battling for years to breakthrough to our brother. No amount of rehab or detox had made a difference. He was listless, lifeless and helpless. We feared for his life everyday. The spirit of, repetition in, core values, appreciation of life and dignity and respect that we found through Launch are unparalleled. I can say with full confidence that we never would have seen my “real” brother again if not for this truly magical combination. We were and still are especially grateful for his over-the-top therapist. Her commitment to his privacy and success coupled with her unwavering contact with any and all of us is what bridged our 3,000 mile separation from him.


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