Developmental stagnation in the transition phase between high school and the adult world is a problem that increasingly impacts families across the country. Recent studies suggest that over 70% of young men 18-30 still live at home with their parents and many of these young adults are not employed, attending college or otherwise working to become independent from their parents. Many have termed this increasingly common phenomena as “Failure to Launch”.
While it is true that finding a job and financing an education is more difficult than in past generations, too many young adult men are stagnated in their development and continue to approach life acting as if they are still teens attending high school. Without any sense of urgency to move forward to the next stage in life, they become increasingly focused on being entertained, often with hours of video games, social media and pornography at the expense of developing the self-discipline needed to manage the demands of life in the adult world.
Rather than allowing these young adults to continue on their “developmental vacation”, parents need to insist that their adult children continue on the path toward responsible adulthood. Our society does not need more young men who lack self-discipline and live only to be entertained. There are already too many young adult men who are going nowhere in life, who are not serious about forming families and making a real contribution in this world.
Sometimes, the problem is as much the parents as it is the young adult. Parents need to learn to take a hard stand and require their young adult children to step up and be responsible. Too many parents enable their adult child’s bad behavior, by allowing them to remain unemployed, to live at home without responsibility, to not pursue additional education and to focus their time and energy on hedonistic pursuits, rather than developing self-discipline.
Parents who find themselves with an adult child on developmental vacation often struggle to use “tough love” and despite knowing they are enabling bad behavior, continue to reward their adult child’s irresponsibility by simply doing nothing. For parents who need a boost of support, Family Bootcamp can help. Dr. Dan Sanderson and his team of clinical psychotherapists have worked with hundreds of families who have struggled with the failure to launch dilemma. During the five day Family Bootcamp that runs Thursday through Monday, parents spend their time with Dr. Sanderson in the developmental vacation parent seminar. The young adults spend the five days learning to live in the remote Utah desert unplugged from all technology and away from the amenities of modern society. The Family Bootcamp provides both parents and the young adult with a “wake-up call” and a strong reminder of the need for young adults to develop into responsible individuals capable of making a contribution to society.