Dealing With Failure to Launch

Failure to launch can be frustrating for parents of older teens and young adults. However, kids might also feel frustration over their lack of moving forward. Kids recovering from mental health issues or addiction might need more time to catch up or manage other issues before finding footing as young adults. As they watch peers move forward in life, they might feel left behind and either shut down or put more pressure on themselves.

As parents, we know that our kids have the potential to accomplish great things. We have seen their struggles with addiction and other behavioral health issues, and we know that they have the resiliency to achieve any goal they set their sights on.  We should be mindful of the patience that must accompany recovery. Our kids have been through quite a lot and need time to grow.

Pressure Can Lead to Failure

While we can set expectations for our kids, such as moving out at a certain age as young adults or learning responsible behaviors, like paying their own way, they might react negatively when we put pressure on them. Our kids might also just tell us what they believe we want to hear. They might start down a particular career path or pursue higher education just to get us to ease up on pushing them.

When kids begin down these paths, they might lead to failure in their pursuits. When young adults enter college or the workforce with motivation outside of themselves, they might lack the motivation to succeed. They might just do the bare minimum without any passion or interest to excel in the way we know they can.

Kids in Recovery Need Time

Motivation from others or meeting the expectations of others does not always lead to long-lasting results. Young adults in recovery might need some more time to explore and learn about life before moving forward into adulthood. These kids might have had crucial milestones of childhood and teenage years disrupted by addiction or mental health issues. They might not have had equal access to pursue their interests as other kids their age.

Anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and other behavioral issues take up much of a person’s thoughts and time. For example, when a child experiences severe anxiety, asking them about their long-term plans could be futile. They are most likely unable to see far beyond just getting through the day or even the next hour of their lives. We cannot expect them to know exactly what they want their future to look like or what career path they want to explore. They are just learning how to survive.

When a child is in and out of treatment throughout their childhood and teenage years, we cannot reasonably expect that they can know exactly what they want out of life. Depression, addiction, anxiety, trauma, and other issues can disrupt crucial brain functions responsible for making long-term decisions. Kids in recovery need time to heal without pressure to move forward in one particular direction.

The Importance of Internal Motivation

Pressure from external places is not always the best motivator for long-term success. While as parents, we know that our kids will need to make vital decisions about careers, relationships, schooling, and other issues, they cannot come to these decisions just because we tell them they need to. Instead, they need to be ready and find the motivation from within. Internal motivation will drive them forward to succeed and carry through.

As parents, we can guide and support our kids. One of the best ways of helping our kids overcome failure to launch comes from listening and getting to know our kids. By spending time with our kids and giving them the space to explore different interests, we can help them discover what will motivate them to succeed. 

Love and Patience

As kids in recovery move into young adulthood, we need to exercise patience and manage our expectations. We also need to remind our kids to be patient and loving towards themselves. No matter how frustrated we feel, they might feel this pressure, especially if they feel left behind by their peers. By showing our kids love, support, and patience, we can teach them to be kind to themselves. 

Patience is a virtue; our kids need to practice self-compassion and be kind and loving to themselves. If they are getting down on themselves or feeling frustrated, remember to let them feel these feelings while reminding them that we are here for them. We know that our kids have potential and gifts to share with the world. They just need time to see these things for themselves.

Failure to launch can be frustrating for parents and young adults. As parents, we might feel that we need to push our kids to move forward. However, we need to remember that they are likely also feeling frustrated. For kids in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, mental health issues, or behavioral health challenges, they might need more time to heal following treatment and as they continue in recovery. We can show our kids love and patience while allowing them to explore and get to know themselves. Following years of treatment and challenging issues, they might not know their true selves well enough yet to reach the potential we know they are capable of. If your child struggles, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here to help. We can help kids recover from their challenges while exposing them to various educational and recreational activities to find their passions. Call us at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest.

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