‘Failure to Launch’: Adult Children at Home

[Video 5 Minutes] A questions came through our site asking how to deal with “failure to launch” children. Some of our clients have adult children still living at home and struggle to deal with it. All parents want to see their offspring happy, healthy, socially connected, and either working or getting an education. However, sometimes adult children at home are unemployed (or under-employed), depressed, drinking or taking drugs, and lonely. Their parents are often in their 50s, still working, planning retirement, and worried this situation will go on forever. So what can you do?

In this video below, I mention focussing on what you can change. Stop trying to change your child. Your role as care-giver is coming towards an end. You can care about them, but you need to stop caring for them. Look after yourself and let them look after themselves. Unless they are seriously impaired and unable to, don’t do their washing or make their medical appointments. Remind them if you must, but don’t do it for them. Let them have natural consequences if they don’t manage their own lives.

There is a stage in human development called emerging adulthood from 18 years to 25 years of age. In this stage, brains are still developing, so don’t expect the same maturity or competence as you would from a 30- or 40-year old. You’ve got an extra 20 or 30 years on them in terms of life experience. Remember the ways in which you were less responsible or self-aware in your emerging adulthood years.

Also, stop arguing. When did fighting them ever really achieve anything? Absolutely let them know how the situation (them living at home) affects you. Let them know at a family meeting and clarify your expectations of them. Make agreements. Make some rules. Write them down. Use a serious voice; it’s serious. But don’t fight them.

Watch the video for more ideas and support with this issue.

Yours in parenting bliss,


“Failure to launch” children and what to do about them 😯☺️

Posted by North Brisbane Psychologists on Sunday, 29 April 2018