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Failure to Launch

Teens and 20-somethings who face challenges starting life on their own—i.e, have what is known as Failure-to-Launch Syndrome—is an increasing issue for families today. My Failure-to-Launch program to get young adults on their feet and out in the world is one of the biggest parts of my business.

Failure To Launch Programs For Young Adults

Failure-to-launch Syndrome is an increasingly described mental health phenomenon. It appears to be an individual problem of the young adult, who, it is thought, simply lacks motivation or discipline to start their own lives. Actually, the source of Failure-to-Launch Syndrome commonly lies in the huge cultural shift that we call the Digital Age, which affects kids directly but also causes parents to parent differently. The result is often a child who is unprepared to live independently.

It’s no one’s fault, but it requires work on the parents’ part as well as the child’s to help the child develop the skills needed to become a happy, successful  adult. Thankfully, help is possible. My Failure-to-Launch program works with both the child and parents to get the child moving forward.

What is Failure to launch syndrome?

Failure-to-Launch Syndrome is when a young adult—typically in their late teens or 20s, although there are also 30-something Failure-to-Launch young adults—not only live in their parents’ home but also do not make progress with their transition to adulthood. Often, they spend many hours a day looking at screens, such as playing video games, and many are addicted there or to  substances. Their social lives revolve around their screen use, so, oftentimes, their friendships are virtual. If they are employed at all, they are typically under-employed. As a result, Failure-to-Launch young adults are usually financially dependent on their parents.


Most people affected with Failure-to-Launch Syndrome are not happy with their lives. They are full of shame, as they watch their peers make their way in the world and they cannot. They are often depressed or anxious, but whether their depression/anxiety is the cause of their inability to move forward with their lives or their lifestyle is causing their depression and/or anxiety is often hard to discern—the classic vicious, psychological circle.
The important thing to remember is that the majority of Failure-to-Launch Syndrome young adults are not happy with their lives, either, but, just like many parents, don’t understand the dynamics of the problem and can’t see a way out. Additionally, these young people feel completely powerless.

Our Stories

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Our Glossary --

Why do these things happen?

The first step in the plan of attack is to understand why, exactly, these issues are affecting young people so badly, and who is at risk. We have defined a few key terms that we use in our program to explain the different phenomenon that you or a teen in your life may be feeling.

“Give your fear a name. Once it is named, it is understood, and it loses its power over you.”


“The Overwhelming Tragedy List”

Threatening societal issues, such as school shootings, COVID, climate change, political rancor, etc., that our kids read about on their phones daily, yet very few adults talk about in a constructive way. We call these the Elephants in the Room.


“Outcome Fever”

Often prevalent in high-achievers, athletes, and young creatives, this is where children are judged by their accomplishments, not who they are. Outcome fever often results in highly anxious individuals with no sense of self and identity outside what they are trying to accomplish, which can create problems later in life.


“The New Parenting Playbook”

Protecting kids from all harm, hurt, failure, challenge, consequences, responsibility, independence, etc., contradicts what research has shown us about the needs for normal child development.

For deep dives into these terms, read the free eBook “Raising Kids in the Digital Age”.

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Failure to Launch —

How does our program help?

Acknowledgement Giving students a voice and allowing them to be heard
Respectful Accountability???
Controlling the ControllablesAnxiety is often caused by fear of things you can’t control..????
Permission to FailNew parenting playbook may workagainst this, etc etc

Program Options --

Family Intensive Program
I usually do intensive work—my Family Intensive program—at the beginning of Failure-to-Launch treatment. Some families don’t need any Family Intensive work, and those that do usually only need one. A few need more.
-10-12 hours per day
-Travel to you
-Full family sessions


Teamwork Join Hands Support Together Concept. Sports People Joining Hands.
One-Time Team Workshop
Jeff’s in-person introductory program explains how we got here—the societal causes of this problem and how they have affected young people and adults. It then provides an outline of how to “soften players in order to harden them,” and how connection and vulnerability actually make for tougher players.
-1:1 with individual
-Parent or group sessions
-Virtual contact & support


Noah, Jeff and Team
Complementary Help
It is very important I stay in close touch—often daily or even more often—with the young person and often also the parents, especially initially. There is no charge for emails, texts, or phone or video calls that last <15 minutes or the initial kickoff discussion.
-Initial discussion
-Text and email check-ins
-Phone & video check-ins


Gilmore practice