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Failure to Launch Across the Lifespan


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Failure to Launch is a subject I recently addressed at the Innovations in Recovery Conference in April 2016.

According to Psychology Today, the term “failure to launch,” is an increasingly popular way to describe the difficulties some young adults face when transitioning into the next phase of development—a stage which involves greater independence and responsibility. Although this is how it is commonly thought of in industry, from my experience the seedling for this phenomena may have been planted in the early teen and young adult years by over-anxious and well-meaning parents (often called helicopter parents) who wanted a life much easier than they experienced for their offspring.

The effects of FTL can be clearly observed in 49-50-60 and, yes, even 70 years-old individuals who are in need of behavioral health care interventions. These individuals often still live at home or are supported by their parents and do not work. Even if they have been married and have children, they still act as if they were a child and take little responsibility for their financial well-being. My hope is that you find this presentation helpful as we work to reach this fascinating population!

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Failure to Launch Across the Lifespan

  1. 1. Failure to Launch-Across the Lifespan Louise Stanger Ed.D. LCSW. CIP Founder, All About Interventions MINT Trainer of Trainers President Sydney D. Holland Foundation Faculty SDSU Interwork and USD
  2. 2. OBJECTIVES Describe , Explain , Define and Discuss Failure to Launch (Emerging Adulthood) Compare and Contrast What Failure to Launch, Boomerang, Helicopter Parents etc means Across the Lifespan from 18-72 Demonstrate by Case Examples differential ways the families and behavioral health care may address these ever emerging populations
  3. 3. Failure To Launch- Boomerang FTL “is an unofficial name for a common problem seen among young adults .It can be defines as the inability either from desire or lack of preparation to leave home and begin a journey toward self supported life “ “Description of the difficulties young adults face when transitioning into the next phase of development -a stage that involves greater independence and accountability “
  4. 4. On A New Schedule- The Changing Tides Of Adulthood 1960 , 77 % of women and 65 % of all men by the time they were 30 passed all 5 milestones medium age for marriage was 21 for women and 23 for men Today 13% of adult children between 18-29 move back in with parents after attempt to live alone
  5. 5. Emerging Adulthood a new developmental stage Brain maturation -age 25 NIMH longitude study 1991 Lag between Prefrontal cortex - and growth of limbic system where emotions originate and prefrontal cortex that manages Limbic system explodes at puberty while it takes 10 plus years for prefrontal cortex Cerebellum (higher level cognition) Parents must ponder is their MORE GOOD , LESS BAD in this
  6. 6. Cultural Shifts Arnett Clark University Need for more education in a technology world Fewer entry level jobs even after schooling less rush to marry Birth control, premarital sex Parents expectations and memories -If only I had Maybe only Car rental agencies have things right (25)
  7. 7. 20 somethings 2015 Average age of being married is now 28 women and 32 for men American parents give an average of 10% of their income to their children no matter what their income is ( McArthur Foundation ) 40% Move back home at least once Go through an average of 7 jobs in their 20s 2/3 live with a romantic partner without being married
  8. 8. Census Bureau 1980- now American Community Survey Foreign born young adults doubled since 1980 1-4 adults speaks a language other the English at home 1-5 adults live in poverty (13.5 million up from 8.4 million inn 1980 22% have college degrees up from 1in 7 Prior served in armed services 9% were veteran in 1980 , 2% today
  9. 9. Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Milleniums 1-9 have credit card signed by parents Less Brand loyal Technology savvy Immune to traditional sales pitches More racially diverse
  10. 10. Parents Dilemma “More Good-Less Bad” DO What I didn't do- Divorce-Dead end jobs-- Disappointments Explore-Travel- Volunteer Don’t settle down WE will help whether rich or poor Emotional Intensiity Hula Hoop
  13. 13. Meet Doug age 30 A- AOD Issues since jr high, “7 rehabs always rehabs fault” B - Legal -DUI Medical, College C-Relational Attachment issues, Hep C Family History - one of 3 brothers , FH of ETHOL , Helicopter parent- Parents cannot withstand pain
  14. 14. Harry-Age 25 Body Dysmorphia Substance Abuse Male Parents both work- Perfectionists-History of ABCD in Family of Origin Emotional Intensity of parents coupled with The Age of Entitlement 6 Different Treatment centers since age 13 Attachment -Trauma-SA
  15. 15. 30-50 year olds Intimacy versus Isolation Love Generatively versus Stagnation (Growing Up , Supporting Oneself Sandwich Generation Erik Erikson
  16. 16. Meet Rob age 45 and His Divorced Mother $$$$
  17. 17. Meet My Youngest son he’s 42 and I am a widow SA/ MH
  18. 18. The Emerging Tsunami The Greying Of America
  19. 19. The Emerging Tsunami The Greying Of America Number of American over 65 will double by middle of century 2050, 87.5 million americans will be 65 or older compared with 43.1 million in 2012 1 in 5 adults will be aging !!! Retirement communities are growing -Brookdale Homes Nashville Aging epidemic in prisons people over 50 are expected to increase to 1/3 of all Cost $64,000 -as opposed to $34,000
  20. 20. Major Issues in aging Grief-Loss-Thoughts of Self Harm-SI Ideation $$$$ Difficulty Sleeping- Eating- Incontenience Increasing Use in Mind Altering Substances- Disorientation Poor Hygiene -Poor Nutrition Idiopathic Seizures
  21. 21. Major Issues In Aging Basic needs (Food, clothing, Shelter) Medical (Hips, Knees, Heart, Arthritis, Injuries, Increase Physical complaints ,Falls , burns , Bruises Transportation Caregiver and Respite care Home repair and modifications Elder Maltreatment End of Life-Advanced Directives Late Onset SA and MH Cognition Problems, Difficulty making Opportunities for Community Engagement- ageism
  22. 22. New Facts About Aging Decrease in smoking- increase in longevity Americans who were 65 for example in 1972 could expect to live 15.2 more years in 2010 increased to 19.2 years Medical advances, Heart, Knees , Hips , cataracts , noninvasive techniques. NY Times May, 2014 and venus Bureau
  23. 23. Depression-Suicide-Anxiety CDC - People in this age range consume 2-6 prescription to nonprescription pills prepay by 2020 prediction 4.4 million 14.4 million older adults experience a MH Fatality rate for suicide is higher 1 in 4 compared to 1 in 20 for all age groups Anxiety Frequent dx- Phobias, Social anxiety PTSD, OCD, Panic ( Geriatric Mental Health Foundation 1 in 8 adults over age 65 has dementia -Alzheimers 10% Dementia
  24. 24. Substance Abuse & Aging Proportion of people admitted for SA Treatment has doubled between 1992 and 2008 (SAMSHA) 3/4 started using before age 25 Late onset usage Up ETHOL #1 increases Heroin, Cocaine x4 , MJ,prescription drug Women late onset ETHOL, at greater risk, outlive men
  25. 25. Getting Back to the ABC’s and Failure to Launch Meet Arthur Entitled Never Had to Work College Education Enmeshed Family System
  26. 26. Meet Sally age 62 FTL and Relaunch 92 yo father supports her In Hospital- Staf infection from shooting up Dilantin Divorced , lost job as home health aide Daughter and her husband live with her smoke pot do not work-5 dogs 2 step sisters whats a family to do ?
  27. 27. There is a big Difference between able older people and economically valuable older people 55 Hispanic gay male Lives with Mother Sylist hair dresser 20 years-sobriety car accident-pain pills. Lost job ,lost income , lost everything Mother age 75
  28. 28. Meet a former PHD A = 20 B + Bad Marriage-Children gone- Childhood Moves- C= BD / anxiety DNA= Family History E= Enmeshed and Failure to Relaunch - Parents age 73
  29. 29. Meet Sylvia age 69 Embezzlement A= 30 Valium from Mom B= Suicide adopted son. Divorce, two daughters, Fractured family, C- Cognition Problems / Mental Health/ SA R/O/early dementia DNA- three sisters, hx of SA, MH three generations
  30. 30. Families Remember The 7 C’s (Cause, Cure, Control, Change, Courage ,Competent , Connection Celebrate Hula Hoop Theory Invite Change Listen / Learn Engage in possibility 5 Magic Words- yes, no really, oh , whatever
  31. 31. What’s a Family To Do? Be Open Explore Possibilities Be Curious Be Discerning Be Hopeful,Forgiving, Grateful Be Powerful YOU CAN BE THE CHANGE
  32. 32. Treatment Solutions Must have multiple entry points for intervention Professionals must be trained in complexity Treatment centers built to accommodate populations special needs of young adults and older adults Age /gender appropriate mixing Thinking outside the box- collaborating with large scale Senior Developments
  33. 33. Resources SAMSHA Census Bureau American Community Survey Then and Now NYTimes -Network on Transitions to Adulthood -Failure to Launch 2012-Henig Institute of Medicine -2014 Aging Reprt Center for Disease Control Ted Fisher Shock of Grey Points The Crisis of Americans Aging 2014 Osbourne Association for Florence V. Burden Association Forbes Magazine Failure to Launch Children Moving Back Home Adam Dunn 2014 John D & Catherine Mcarthur Foundation-Network on Transitions to Adulthood NIMH Longitudinal study of brain Dr. Jay Giedd PI 1991-2012 Pew Social Trends 2009 Growing Old in America Arnett, When Will My Kid Grow Up