In today's modern world, children are staying at home longer and longer, and failure to launch (FTL) is becoming a common occurrence. It would appear that, for whatever reason, transitioning into adulthood and leaving the nest is becoming increasingly difficult. Whether this is the fault of the child, parents, schools, etc. may be irrelevant, but understanding these systemic factors can perhaps help to reduce any factors that are making this issue worse.
Substance Use as a Cause of FTL
It seems almost obvious that substance use would be a causal factor for FTL. Someone using substances may do poorly in school, which can lead to decreased opportunity, which feeds back into substance use. Individuals using substances from a young age may also have little motivation to work, or do much of anything else, so they may not understand how to function in a work environment. As a result, it is unlikely that they know how to interview or write a resume. This lack of work is likely to lead to reduced skills in important areas, such as time management and financial planning. Ordinarily, social skills will continue to develop in the work place, and these may be lacking in FTL individuals as well. As we continue down this rabbit hole, we begin to see how substance use has created a difficult situation to get out of.
Substance Use as a Result of FTL
The previous concern is a two-way street. Having failed to launch, what is the individual doing with their lives? Perhaps hanging out with friends, playing video games all day, or using substances. If there is little requirement for the individual to take care of themselves, FTL may develop, and this will ultimately be supported by family, which will allow the individual to continue this almost hedonistic lifestyle. Why not use substances if I've failed to launch and all of my needs are being taken care of? There would appear to be very little reason for the individual to be motivated to make this change.
Dependency and FTL
In the previous situation, we see that FTL and dependency relationships are problematic. It is difficult for someone to fail to launch and successfully live in this situation, unless this failure is being supported in some way. This is like to be supported by family, who are only trying to help. But this enabling creates a dependency relationship. This relationship is comfortable for someone who has failed to launch, as they can continue to enjoy whatever it is that they wish to do, use substances if they want, and ultimately avoid having to grow up. Therefore, rectifying this issue will involve, change, action, and growth by all parties involved. While parents may have had a hand in the development of this issue, they cannot fix it. It is incumbent in the individual who has failed to launch to ultimately dig themselves out of this hole. However, this is easier said than done. The family will also need to educate themselves, set boundaries, and eliminate enabling behaviors.
We understand that unhealthy relationship and life style patterns can be difficult to break. We are here to support you or you child in making this necessary transition. We are fully equipped to help with substance use, as well as providing life skills education and motivational interventions. Head on over to our Get Started page and let us know that this is an issue affecting you or your family.