A failure to launch program for young adults deals with a real struggle more & more adolescents are experiencing every year.  Roughly translated it means more & more young adults are ill-equipped for independent living.  Young adults panic when faced with transitioning into adulthood.  Adulthood comes with challenges created by greater independence and responsibility. The term du jour to describe this age old phenomenon is “Failure to Launch.”  The phenomenon of young adults seeking to find significance, purpose, kinship and independence in their lives.  Frequently, a failure to launch program for young adults is employed to provide assistance in this time of need.

Young adults who fail to launch lack the skills required to act independently.  Subsequently, they begin falling behind their peers and end up leaving college or back home with their parents.  In fact, they may not have left home yet and have no clear plan to leave.  As a result they miss developing the skills necessary for independence and sound judgment.  The results can sometimes lead to: substance abuse, depression, social anxiety, and low self-esteem.

To help these young adults end their fear of failure.  They need challenges that will give them confidence in themselves and a failure to launch program for young adults can provide it.  Penrith Farms introduces young adults to a working farm.  For this reason, we expect our residents to participate in daily activities which include among other things farm work.  Work will give these young adults pride in something they do and a chance to not be immediately successful which is, in fact, a proper challenge.

Failure to Launch Syndrome

Failure to launch syndrome describes a lack of life skills young adults need while transitioning into independent living and adulthood.  Generally, it is from a lack of desire or preparation to become independent and self-reliant.  For many young adults, particularly young men, the task of self-determination is overwhelming and debilitating.  As a result their behavior may go backwards towards adolescence or the escapism provided by electronics or substance abuse.

Parents struggle when a child suffers from a failure to launch because of their own sense of guilt or responsibility.  Often parents question if there was one thing they could do differently that would change their child’s behavior.  In some instances, parents have enabled their children, in some cases they have not.  Consequently, trying to assign blame or take responsibility is counterproductive because it does nothing for the problem.  With this in mind, parents must start the process of transitioning their child into independent living and adulthood.  The important step is to stop supporting the behavior especially financially.

The current times we live in contributes to the failure to launch syndrome problem that we are seeing.  Today’s young adults grew up with the internet and it has given all of us instant gratification. This contributes to the sense of entitlement and narcissistic tendencies we see today.  When end results are not immediately accessible young adults give up which perpetuates the problem.  The internet has provided escapism and a world that young adults can hide in.  Taking back control is something they need to do for themselves.  Often, the best way to start this process is to just disconnect them from familiarity.

Signs & Symptoms of Failure to Launch Syndrome

On the surface of it all, it is really hard for parents to make the determination if their son or daughter just needs a little extra help or if it is failure to launch syndrome.  Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Narcissistic tendencies and behavior
  • No long term goals or plans for their future
  • A lack of basic living skills such as: cooking, cleaning, or personal hygiene
  • No motivation
  • A sense of entitlement, that everything should be given to them
  • Expectations of the way they should be treated with no regard for how they treat others
  • An inability to hold a job or poor work ethic
  • Collapses in the face of the slightest challenge to their ideas
  • A complete denial of any responsibility

What Does a Failure to Launch Program for Young Adults Do?

While we talk about a failure to launch program is we sometimes forget to describe what is a successful launch. It is best to look at successfully launching as transitioning into adulthood smoothly.  Most recently, adulthood is defined as education, career, marriage, and family.  A successful launch I would define as being on that path and working towards those goals.

Developmentally we could look at is some form of sensory motor, neuromotor, social and/or learning skills. Beginning the acquisition of these skills is the beginning of the path towards successfully launching to adulthood. This process starts during childhood beginning with parental attachment. As the child’s environment becomes more complex they begin dealing with different challenges in their lives.

Children have to face the big questions of:  Who am I?  What is my sexuality?  What concerns me outside of self? While facing these questions as children grow up they begin to answer them and determine what is the next part of their evolution.  Launching requires a belief in one’s ability to succeed which is learned during adolescence.  Following this they prepare for adulthood.

A Typical Day

Our failure to launch program for young adults pulls them into the present which is to say: no dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, or more probable, digital escapism.  Young adults will wake up early every morning except on Sundays and Holidays.  Following from that, we implement a realistic schedule for them: wake-up, clean your room, eat breakfast, goto work, eat lunch, afternoon activities, dinner, bed.  Such a schedule doesn’t allow one much opportunity to escape time with the use of television, the internet, games, or any other mental distraction.  However, it will give one the opportunity to work and interact with other people that aren’t necessarily of like-mind.  This type of interaction is another part of being an adult which is our end goal.


We look to form goals with our clients when they arrive at Penrith Farms.  Is the goal to complete school whether that be high school or college?  Do we want to work on getting and holding a job?  Is the goal to live independently?  What defines success?

These are the types of questions young adults need to answer. Young adults get sent to 12-step programs & treated as addicts when they are usually just unmotivated.  Young adults need engagement & to experience adversity alone in their lives.  They must also learn to overcome challenges on their own to be successful in today’s competitive world and these are the tests young adults will face at Penrith Farms Failure to Launch Program for Young Adults.

Is a Failure to Launch Program for Young Adults Right for Me?

When I first heard “Failure to Launch Treatment Program,” I thought it was in reference to the movie. The term has come to mean much more and the movie portrays failure to launch but romanticized. It is a real struggle for young adults that lack the ability to transition into adulthood and independence.  The reality of the situation impacts young adults and parents.  Parents end up watching their children struggle to find meaning, purpose, and a sense of accomplishment in their lives.

The situation can be emotionally and financially draining on parents.  It is draining to see their young adult isn’t independent, lacks schooling, and/or has no desire to be different.  In the wake of it all young adults may abuse illicit substances, and suffer from mental health issues.  But what makes these young adults any different than their peers that have gone on to be more successful?

High School is easy for some young adults but transitioning into college requires more effort.  When they work harder than usual they begin to question their own intelligence and self-worth. The pressure of college admittance and facing adversity causes some young adults to give in and retire.  Helicopter parents that never allow their kids to face adversity create children with no experience when they finally meet it face to face.  Because they never learn the resilience that comes with adversity and as they age the stakes get higher and higher.  Whatever the real cause is there are some things that hold absolutely true.

Some Help from Penrith Farms

Young adults that failed to transition into adulthood need more responsibility, to receive natural consequences, and deal with their problems.  Therefore parents can implement this action themselves.  Parents can hire a life coach or employ an individual therapist.  They may even send them to a failure to launch treatment program like Penrith Farms.  It is important to provide your child with familial support, hold them accountable, and stay true to natural consequences.  In the end, that’s what we primarily do at Penrith Farms failure to launch program for young adults and it leads to a successful launch.

A Young Adults Failure to Launch

Currently over half of all 18 to 24 year-olds in the United States are living with their parents.  Between 2007 – 2010 adult children living at home increased by 1.2 million.  Consequently, some are never leaving and some are returning after failing or feeling like they failed away from home. Why do they never leave or why do they come back home? Because it is safe.  Now this isn’t to say all situations are the same there are two types of young adults still living at home: 1) someone that is responsible and contributes while they are taking time to move out and 2) a young adult that expects you to take care of all their needs. It is the young adults failure to launch that we are concerned about under these circumstances.

Being on one’s own creates stress and anxiety that can sometimes be overwhelming. While Helicoptering can compound this problem as young adults have never experienced responsibility or making decisions. Parents do not allow their young adults to develop independence because of fear.  Over time, your young adult hasn’t learned to solve problems themselves because “adults” are fixing things for them.  What your young adult needs is what Penrith Farms can provide.  We can help you develop independence in your son or daughter.

End the Dependency

A break from the dependency is what your young adult needs from you. If you are unable to break the dependency yourself it is okay to get help. That is what many failure to launch programs for young adults do. They help parents break their young adults dependency on them.  They give them the confidence and life skills necessary to transition into adulthood.  We hope you will give Penrith Farms the opportunity to help you with your challenges.  We look forward to meeting you and your young adult.

Becoming an Adult with a Failure to Launch Program for Young Adults

Adulthood requires the motivation to be an adult. Acting upon that motivation and development of long term goals. Being clear about these goals and the ability to stay focused on these goals. The ability to be resilient when one meets challenges or failure in pursuit of one’s goals. In short, if a child comes out of adolescence motivated to be independent, trying to become independent, developing long term goals, staying focused on these goals and not being derailed, and resiliency in the face adversity we would say that an individual is successfully launching and is on their way towards completing the transition into adulthood.

At Penrith Farms the focus is on identifying where an individual has lost their way and training them to be ready to transition.  Consequently this is done by teaching life skills, individual and group counseling, and participating in our young adult program.

Contact Us & Learn About Penrith Farms Today!  Our Admissions Team is always available.