Every day in my private practice, I receive at least one phone call from a frantic parent pleading for help with his or her child. This is nothing unusual for a busy counseling practice in Dublin, Ohio, except … these “children” are adults! According to a recent report issued by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE.org), in cooperation with Forbes.com, nearly 60 percent of adults are providing some means of financial support for their adult children while they are no longer in school.
Most often the calls involve male dependents in their 20s or early 30s (though we see more and more females who share these issues). The most common problems are: failing out of college, refusing to find or keep a job, lacking the desire to leave home, and little if any future planning. These young people may have high ambitions—doctor, lawyer, business executive—but they are not taking any steps toward achieving their goals.
With college costs rising yearly, parents spend anywhere from $15,000 a year for a public school to over $40,000 a year for private school; a price for an education that their children do not utilize or appreciate. In turn, parents feel powerless to motivate their adult children. The family dynamics have usually disintegrated from all the conflict, anger and resentment occurring in the home by the time my office is called.
Traditionally parents remain blind to the fact that their actions often enable the behaviors seen in their sons and daughters. The fear of their loved ones failing, or living with the consequences of their behavior, only perpetuates the cycle of despair.
Yes, these young adults do have a sense of entitlement and a skewed view of the real world, but they can be successful and productive in life. And, they can be motivated! Parents who are willing to take a look inside their own lives will discover that they INDEED DO have power when it comes to launching their children into true independent adulthood.
The question is..what can clinicians and parents do to fix this growing problem? The answer is my book “Failure to Launch” ; Published by Jason Aronson (subsidiary of Rowman & Littlefield) and my “Failure to Launch” counseling & coaching program.
My book and program is designed to help explore why this problem is happening, defining the types of failure to launch, neurological basis’, and step by step instructions on how to work with you and your family to get unstuck. For families who are not in the Dublin, Ohio area, I am offering a 2 day intensive workshops for clinicians and parents where we will also be giving away copies of our book to each participant. For more information about my workshops contact my practice at 614-350-2948 or email Michael at: firstname.lastname@example.org.