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Failure to Launch: Helping Your Young Adult Transform from Floundering to Flourishing

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Remotely Transforming Therapy

For families with young adults, summer is often a time of homecomings, reunions and long vacations spent in close proximity. College kids come home from school and families and friends get together for picnics, weddings, and barbecues. For many empty nesters and young adults, this time of the year feels happier, more flexible, and less stressful.

However, all too often, increased family time together like long vacations can bring existing emotional issues to the forefront, trigger trauma, and bring up painful memories, unhealthy patterns, tension, and conflict.

When you’re home on a busy schedule and your kids are spending time with their friends and going to parties or sleepovers, you may not be aware of what they are doing or realistically what's happening at home after you go to bed.

For example, after spending a week together, two parents realize that their daughter isn’t only drinking at family events, but drinking excessively and blacking out on a regular basis… After a week of seeing their daughter drinking to the state of blackout, finding her half naked out by the pool, and seeing her stumble and hurt herself, they were faced with the reality that this was a problem that needed to be immediately addressed.

Other concerns parents reach out to me about are issues like lack of motivation, abnormal sleeping patterns (sleeping too much or not enough), anxiety, depression, excessive video game usage, inability to maintain friendships, and low confidence or self-esteem.

Many of the clients I see grew up in wealthy families and had very privileged childhoods.

Let’s face it… When you have financial resources, it can be easier to “solve” your child’s problems. If they get in trouble with the law, hire an attorney… If they struggle in school, get a tutor. This also includes things designed to make your child’s life more enjoyable, like having a game room in a separate area of the house that, unfortunately, can become a place where young adults are making poor choices without you even realizing it.

If a kid grows up knowing that losing or breaking something isn’t really an issue, they may not learn to take care of their things.

For instance, I had a client who totaled the Tesla and his parent’s reaction was to buy him a new one.

One client had a son who wouldn’t get out of bed to go to school in the morning so they simply transitioned him to a cyber school.

A high school athlete wasn’t getting the playtime his parents thought he should get, so they hosted the coach for a long weekend in the winter at their Florida vacation home.

Parents who have resources to make their kids’ lives easier often fix their problems and open doors for them. But what is the price of this privilege? For many of these kids, it's not being resilient, not having the skills to overcome failure, not demonstrating an ability to delay gratification, or not having the skills to be independent. I recently had a client whose mother took an apartment near her son’s college because as a freshman, he simply couldn’t manage basic things… laundry, getting up in the morning, being responsible for his own school work… this was a kid who had all the privileges in life with none of the responsibilities. I once witnessed him sitting idly by while two older people struggled to move a table and it didn’t occur to him to offer to help.

One client’s son was a sophomore in college when his dad got him a paid internship. Halfway through the internship, the son decided he didn’t like it and unexpectedly quit. When I inquired with his parents about why he was allowed to quit, they said, “Because he didn’t like it.” Despite not having a resume, never having searched for a job, or even been in an interview, he was getting paid hundreds of dollars a week as a sophomore in college with no real experience, so it was no surprise to me he had no appreciation for the opportunity or the money… yet his parents were shocked. His sisters had similar opportunities handed to them, so this was the norm for him and his family. He didn’t understand the privilege he had for these doors to be opened for him and just assumed, correctly, there would be other similar opportunities. I was working with this client because although he had a lot of arrogance, he actually had very little confidence because he had never really accomplished much on his own.

Privilege can take the struggle out of life… and that is the Price of Privilege.

If a young adult from a privileged family is caught as a “graffiti artist”, he or she may have to pay a fine and be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Their family is likely to pay for the fines and hire a good attorney that can minimize the consequences. A teenager from a more modest socioeconomic background may be charged with a similar offense, yet because of the family’s inability to hire good legal representation, may find themselves paying a hefty fine and end up with a young adult with a criminal record that could interfere with their ability to go to school or get a job. Even though the circumstances are nearly identical, the consequences are vastly different.

Because the young adult who comes from a more privileged background is more likely to dodge the consequences time and again, they aren’t forced to take accountability or responsibility for their actions… They don’t have to deal with many difficult circumstances or failures and therefore don’t become resilient.

When children and young adults are raised in an environment where instant gratification is the norm, it can hinder their ability to build self-discipline and work hard for something knowing that they will not reap the rewards immediately.

For instance, a young adult who has access to trendy new shoes and clothes right when they come out, may not learn the value of hard work and delayed gratification.

If your child has been living at school or on their own for most of the year, you might be just noticing unhealthy behavioral patterns and coping mechanisms that have resulted from a lack of resiliency and accountability. Unfortunately, the likelihood of these issues being brand new is very low…If you are observing alarming behaviors or patterns in your young adult’s life, it may be that these issues already existed, but you are just now becoming aware of the severity of them due to proximity.

Additionally, once these behaviors start, they typically don’t get better on their own.

When your child is home and you have a larger influence on their day-to-day routines and behaviors, it may be easier to break the patterns and help them find healthier ways to cope.

I often say there are no “problem behaviors,” only behaviors that are a problem. Behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, lack of motivation, procrastination, and excessive video game usage are simply coping mechanisms for more serious underlying issues; such as trauma, anxiety, fear, or depression.

It can be very hard to face the reality of these situations for both you as a parent and your young adult child. As important as it is that you notice the warning signs, it’s even more crucial that your young adult gains awareness of these issues. Awareness is always the first step towards change because you can’t do something about something you are unaware of. It is essential that you address the issues head on, leading with love, empathy, compassion, and understanding, and remain proactive throughout all stages of change.

Unfortunately, love and encouragement alone are rarely enough to pull someone out of a deep depression, anxiety disorder, or diminished self-esteem. These complex emotional issues require real tools, techniques, and solutions to overcome.

It is important to note that there is a difference between encouragement and enabling. Encouragement is addressing the issues your young adult is facing, discussing them, and working alongside them to help them be successful.

In contrast, enabling is supporting, defending, ignoring, or even inadvertently encouraging negative and self-destructive patterns of behavior, which often worsens the patterns, prolongs them, and causes more issues down the road.

A negative enabler typically has good intentions and doesn’t want to aggravate the person they are enabling, but enabling can lead to resentment and leave the enabler feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted. If you feel like you are an enabler, click here to read my recent blog post about the signs of enabling and how you can stop it.

With the knowledge I have gained from working with young adults for nearly 20 years, combined with my own personal experience with my family, I understand the changes that must take place in order for true growth and healing to occur. Because of this, I created Failure to Launch, a coaching program specifically designed for young adults and their families struggling with these very issues.

In the Failure to Launch program, I work closely with young adults and their families to uncover deep-rooted, negative, and often subconscious thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and interpretations of past experiences.

Through this work, we are able to unearth the root cause of the unhealthy behaviors and then begin to overcome them with Brain Science & Emotional Intelligence-based coaching.

The most effective programs for young adults are family systems programs… For example, I won’t accept a twenty-one year old client whose parents just want me to “fix” them… Long standing issues like anxiety, depression, trauma, enabling, and lack of confidence are often rooted in relationships with the parents and/or family culture, such as privilege.

The Failure to Launch program is a monthly program fully customized to the client and their family’s circumstances and needs and includes:
  • Eight, 90-minute to 2-hour sessions per month with a combination of the young adult, parents, and/or both

  • Unlimited phone, text, and email support for both the young adult and their family

  • Access to Coach Monique’s exclusive network of industry experts… For example, if your child needs a psychological evaluation, I will refer you to a trusted psychologist who can likely evaluate your child within weeks rather than having to wait 6-12 months for an appointment (which unfortunately has become the industry standard).

Typical candidates are between ages 18-32 and deal with issues including, but not limited to:
  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Trauma

  • Bullying

  • Self-sabotage

  • Low self esteem or confidence

  • Relationship issues

  • Drug or alcohol abuse

  • Lack of motivation

  • Excessive video game usage

  • Procrastination

  • Lack of resiliency

The Failure to Launch program is an investment in your child’s life and future. The investment starts at $6,500.

If your young adult is struggling with any of these issues, they are not alone and help is available. Your child deserves to live their best life to their full potential.

We fully understand that there are many families who do not have the financial resources to work with me, but still have a need for help and support… Below is a list of resources available to you that may offer free or more affordable options:

Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or go to the nearest emergency room.

  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Call or text 988 Use Lifeline Chat on the web (English only) The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders:

  • is a confidential and anonymous resource for persons seeking treatment for mental and substance use disorders in the United States and its territories:

  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. They offer resources to help you find a health care provider or treatment:

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of American (ADAA) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through the alignment of science, treatment, and education. They have a Find a Therapist Directory to help you find the right psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or other mental health professional for you:

  • The Hope Line is a non-profit organization that provides free resources like live chat with Hope Coaches, email mentors, blog posts, podcasts, and eBooks to students and young adults in crisis. They offer free live chats 24 hours a day on topics including sex, relationships, depression, abuse, self-harm, pornography, and feelings of worthlessness:

If your child is struggling, know that they are not alone. Contact Coach Monique today to discuss your family's circumstances and the potential ways the Failure to Launch program can support you and help your young adult overcome their biggest struggles and transform into the person they are meant to be.

Call 412-400-2085 or Book a Complimentary Discovery Call and let’s Unlock Bold Change™ - Together.


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