Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Failure to Launch

How would this program work for an 18 year old who keeps leaving home and who isn’t motivated to work or go to school. He graduated this past June and since then has been rebelling. He hasn’t spent time with his dad in months. We have always had a 50/50 custody.



The latest parenting challenge is dealing with emerging adults who have no intention of leaving the nest. Many 18- to 26-year-olds either return home after college or they've never even left home. The media refers to them as "Boomerang Kids." Parents are worried that their kids won't leave home.

This new phenomenon is highlighted in the movie Failure to Launch. Matthew McConaughey plays Tripp, 30-something bachelor whose parents want him out of the house. They've hired Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), an interventionist, to help him move out. Paula has a track record of successfully boosting men's self-confidence to cause them to want to be independent.

Interestingly, this story line is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Young adults are indeed becoming more difficult to coax out of their comfy childhood homes.

Since the '70s, the number of 26-year-olds still living at home has nearly doubled! Here are the top 4 factors contributing to this change:

1. They Are Unprepared

They are overwhelmed or unmotivated to live independently. They would rather play it safe by occupying the family home, playing computer games and delivering pizza.

These kids often grow up living the life of the privileged. Here, well-meaning parents provide their children with all the amenities congruent with an affluent lifestyle. The parents are focused on doing more for their children than what their parents did for them – at the expense of keeping them dependent. Kids don't move out because they've got it made!

When your financial generosity isn't combined with teaching kids how to become self-sufficient at an early age, we cannot expect them to automatically possess adequate life skills when they reach legal adulthood. How will they gain the skills to confidently live their own life when they haven't had the opportunity to do things for themselves?

2. They Are Cautious or Clueless

They are committed, but unsure how to discover their ideal career path. They approach college with the same trial and error mindset their parents had only to find out that it no longer prepares them for today's competitive world.

Parents do their kids a disservice by waiting until they are 17 or 18 before initiating career-related discussions. In our dynamic society where change is a daily diet, this is much too late! It's best to start young, at age 13. This stage of development is the perfect time to begin connecting the dots between what they love to do and possible career options. It can take years to prepare for the perfect career. Beginning early will help teens maximize their opportunities in high school and make college a much better investment.

3. They Have Personal Problems

They don't have effective life coping skills, have failed relationships or are grieving some other loss or wrestling with a challenging life event.

In Failure to Launch, we learn that Tripp's parents indulged him largely because the woman he loved died, and he hasn't gotten over his loss. When Tripp falls in love with Paula – the new girl of his dreams – his self-sabotaging habit of dumping a girl before she can get too close gets reactivated. Finally, his friends intervene and Tripp eventually faces his demons, to everyone's delight.

If your teen is struggling emotionally, don't make the mistake of thinking it will somehow magically get better without an intervention. Tough love requires that you insist your adolescent get professional help so that he or she can move forward. If you don't know how to have that kind of conversation, consider getting help from a parenting expert.

4. They Have Mounting Debt

They've accumulated significant credit card debt and moving back in with their parents is a way to pay it off. According to the National Credit Card Research Foundation, 55 percent of students ages 16 to 22 have at least one credit card. If your teen falls into this group, make sure you monitor spending together online. Helping your teen understand how to budget and manage credit cards will be important for handling a household budget in the future.

Kids can't learn to manage money if they don't have any or if parents always pay for everything. If your offspring moves back home, I recommend you charge a nominal amount for room and board. As an adult member of your household, it's important for your young adult to contribute to household chores and expenses.

If the purpose of your child's return home is to pay off bills or a college loan, have a realistic plan and stick to the plan to make sure your young adult moves out of the house.

Determine Goals and Stick to Them

Most parents enjoy having their children visit and will consider offering some short-term help. However, indulging an adult child's inaction does not help your son or daughter begin his or her own life. If your child defaults on your agreement, be willing to enforce consequences to help him or her launch into responsible adulthood.

My Out-of-Control Teen


Anonymous said...

My son is 18 (almost 19) and is legally an adult. He was a good kid, who in the past two years has gradually changed into an angry, unhappy, uncommunicative person. We wish that we had discovered your e-book when he was 16. My husband and I are trying very hard to follow this program with him, but because of his age, and the freedoms that we had given him previously, we almost feel that the "horse has been let out of the barn" . He fits the exact profile of the "resistant" kid (from your powerpoint presentation), except that he is no longer a kid. We have discovered that he smokes marijuana, and we used your techniques for when something unexpected happens, he is now even angrier and resentful. We are finding it difficult to come up with consequences that will have an effect on someone his age. Ex: When we took his cell phone away he went out and purchased another. When he was 16 & 17 we didn't need a curfew because he did not stay out late, and generally did not cause us a lot of worry. In hindsight we recall that he did say " When I'm 18, I can do whatever I want". I almost wish he had been an out of control kid at a younger age when we may have had more influence. My husband and I are at week four and he just seems to be getting angrier.

Anonymous said...

About six weeks ago we bought your on-line program and as we went through it we could see exactly where we were going wrong. Unfortunately prior to this we had already asked our son to move out and as we were going on an overseas holiday that he didn't want to come on we had arranged for him to stay with his uncle. His out of control behaviour was such that we couldn't trust him to stay at home even though we had a friend housesitting for us.
When I read through your program, I realised Jordan needed to be living at home for it to work, so I asked him not to move out, just to stay with his uncle while we were away. Jordan was confused by this but wouldn't let me explain that we as parents had made some mistakes and we wanted to fix things. Consequently he moved in with one of his friends. (Now this might sound rich coming from me, but the family where he is staying is very disfunctional, with one child in foster care and the mother often drunk when I've been around looking for Jordan in the past and her not concerned the boys are smoking drugs) A couple of days before we went on holidays he briefly came home for clothes etc and was adament that he was going to stay with his mate or uncle for a bit. He gave me a hug and I told him that I loved him. He was supposed to come back before we went away for more clothes but didn't.

When we returned from our holiday, our housesitter informed us that Jordan had been home a few times to shower, get clothes etc. Jordan was upset that his pay from a part time job was going into the wrong bank account that he couldnt access - (his fault for giving his workplace the wrong details) and had no money. Our housesitter offered him some money that he declined, but later found that a giftcard had left on the bench was missing. At one point when the housesitter wasn't home, Jordan broke into the house and found keys that we had hidden to his old car (we had just gotten this back from the smash repair shop after he had nearly totalled it and were getting it ready to sell). Jordan had been disqualifed from driving, so had no licence, but took the car anyway. The day we arrived home Jordan turned up with the car (in one piece thank goodness), and said the reason he took it was he needed it to move more of his stuff. He wouldn't come into the house to talk and was very keen to leave, saying he had stuff to do and would come back later. He told us he wasn't working as he walked off down the road.

That was over two weeks ago, since then there's been my birthday and Christmas and he hasn't made any contact. We have called the house of where he is staying and the mother 'says' he isn't staying there much and has asked him to call us at home. We have told her Jordan is welcome home anytime, would he be over for Christmas etc... I was able to withdraw the money from the account he couldn't access ($430) but he hasn't been back home or called about it. I am worried that he has no job and what he might be doing to live?? I was cleaning up his room as it's now been some time since he left and it was in a pretty bad state. I found bits of paper with peoples names and amounts of money and small snap lock bags, so obviously he has been selling drugs. We are very concerned for his welfare and feel it's only a matter of time before we get a knock at the door from the police to say he's in trouble or worse! He has been to visit one of my husbands brothers a few times and told him we kicked him out. This uncle has also offered him a place to stay. What do we do from here...obviously he's hurting and I think he is trying to make us pay by not contacting us. I would appreciate any advise you may have

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