Affluenza and Failure to Launch

Did you know 21.4% of millennials still live with their parents?

Many young adults seemingly have valid reasons for being unable to move. Maybe it’s an inability to find work, or they need to lower the cost of their continuing education by staying at home while they go to school. Others however, are not employed or going to school at all. They simply don’t leave home, and are often dependent on their parents for everything from giving them clean laundry to cooking their food.

This problem is so pervasive it has even gotten a name for itself, FTL, or Failure-to-Launch.

Failure to Launch: A Growing Epidemic

Failure to Launch stems from a variety of different sources. In some cases, it is impossible—such as when it is difficult to get even a minimum wage job, combined with the high costs of rent. Others, however, stem from a more unusual source—the culture of developed countries.

In third world countries, FTL doesn’t exist. Children develop a sense of independence, and often voluntarily take on chores to help with the family. This independence leads to the ability to leave the home as an adult. In developed countries, children are treated as more important than adults, rather than the other way around. Children can force their parents to play with them, are never left unattended, and it is considered scandalous if a child is allowed to walk to school where it was once considered normal.

These kids who grow up without any chance to develop independence flounder when trying to reach adulthood. They miss adulthood milestones that are not only normal, but often necessary to have a fulfilling life. It’s also not healthy for the FTL adult either, in case studies Failure-to-Launch adults are often depressed and sometimes even suicidal.

As hard as it is for parents, the solution is actually fairly simple.

Stop Spoiling Your Kids

Stop spoiling your kids. It isn’t too late to start even if they’re 35 or older. Start by reducing how much you do for your child or FTL adult in small steps, one step at a time.

  • You might begin by no longer including laundry service with their free room and board
  • Stop providing pocket money but continue other care.
  • Eventually, begin charging them for rent and utilities. It’s an amazing motivator to realize “Hey I could do this on my own and have my own space”.

In order to raise a child that is strong and independent, you don’t need to “Free range” your child or turn them into a child slave performing all household tasks, but you do have to take a step back and give them a chance to grow. Without learning how to pour their own juice and get their own snacks as children, they may struggle to learn how to support themselves as adults too. A strong, independent person can only develop if given the chance to develop those behaviors.

Get Help from Steven D. Brand

Roswell Therapist Steven D Brand has over 26,000 clinical hours under his belt helping families and marriages around the world. He is available for counseling in his offices in historic Roswell or by phone.