The second common reason for failure to launch is having over protective parents or parents who do too much for their children. It is a fine balancing act for parents to give enough support for the child to feel that they can move forward and leave their parents’ home but not so much that the child stays totally dependent on the parents. When parents protect a child from all of life’s challenges then they don’t develop distress tolerance to be able to handle the natural bumps in the road of life. If parents do everything for a child then the underlying subtle message is that the parents don’t think the child is capable of doing it for themselves so the child then continues to be totally dependent on the parents. When parents don’t let their child face the natural consequences for their choices then the child grows up thinking they don’t have to follow the rules of society and often develop a pattern of repeatedly getting in trouble or making poor decisions. When parents don’t give enough support or encouragement to the child then they often grow up fearful of the world thinking that it is too tough or difficult to handle. Growing up is about gradually being exposed to the more difficult or challenging situations of life in preparation for adulthood. They need to be able to take care of themselves, provide for themselves and be ok when the parents are gone. Each child’s temperament is different so the parents need to be very aware of how the child is responding. The adults need to be mindful and adjust their own parenting style to match the individual child’s temperament since it is unrealistic to expect a child to be able to figure that out. We see the optimum child development in preparation for adulthood and launching into independence when the parents have adjusted their parenting style to match their child’s individual temperament. If the child is having a more fearful or anxious response to the world then the parents need to take a look at both their parenting style and what message they may even inadvertently be saying to their child as well as looking at if their child might have a higher than typical anxiety level and may need professional counseling to learn skills to manage their fears. Our job as parents is to prepare our kids to be productive independent members of society and that is the most important job on this planet as it impacts their entire future!
Clearing Your Head and Healing Your Heart
Putting the Pieces Together (So We Make Sense of Ourselves, Others and Our World)
Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD
Family Therapy Ventura, California
©2015 Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD