Young Adult Development
Motivating Young Adults Do Young Men Have A Failure To Launch Problem
“Get out of bed, don’t get out of bed,” they’re told. “But if you don’t, you don’t progress. It’s up to you.”
The aim here starts out that simple: Get up. Clean your room. Hold meaningful conversations. Resolve your differences. Eventually, it moves on to setting some goals: Staying in school, getting a job and moving out of their parents homes. They are the most basic of goals, a rite of passage for any young adult. But experts say more young people today lack the will, or perhaps even the know-how, to achieve them. They are the modern-day “lost boys”, who suffer from “failure to launch,” a term made popular by a movie of the same name.
Federal statistics show that young men (up to 30 years old) are, nearly twice more likely to live at home with their parents than young women their age. They’re also less likely to finish college, or to have a job. The struggling economy has only made things worse. “We see more failure to launch because there’s less to launch into. These days, even young men from families with means who get into good schools are depressed, anxious, overwhelmed and underprepared. It’s “an epidemic.”
But there’s something more going on. These young men also might have issues with depression and anxiety. For these guys, the key issues are an absence of motivation, and the lack of “an early adult life plan.” Marijuana and alcohol may be part of the problem; living up to the expectations of his parents
It is a common sentiment: about wanting the chance to break free to be themselves, and yet they seem afraid to take the leap from the cocoon their parents have provided. In essence, I hear, adulthood just doesn’t look that appealing. Some call it downright hopeless. I could go on and on about kids in third grade with four tutors – or parents doing the homework for them. These parents are well-meaning, but they end up short-changing their children because they now don’t know how to fail, or to bounce back from failure.
Certainly this affects both young people of both genders, but experts say there are other factors that further hinder boys’ ability to transition to adulthood. Playing video games and online porn are overtaking the lives of too many boys. For many of them, the virtual world has become more enticing than the real world preferring online porn to dating women in real life.
The first goal is to get them to go to sleep when the clock still says “p.m.” and to rise when it says “a.m.” Pulling their weight, by doing tasks such as their own laundry and keeping their room clean is essential. As they show they can be responsible, we work our way up from there. Eventually, we will write a life plan, then take basic steps toward achieving it – putting together a resume’ and applying for a job or an apartment. “These are guys who’ve been paralyzed, for lack of a better term. So we have to get them moving.” It’s about getting them to identity as separate from their parents, to help them define what it means, for them, to be a man. It starts with little things.
Having weekly coaching sessions with and without their parents can be one of the most difficult requirements for most of my young clients. I do see a lot of positive, long-lasting change “Competence, Confidence, Clarity.” It is a message that keeps a steady stream of young men coming in and out of my office and that gets them out of bed in the morning.
It’s a start, if nothing else.