Kim Muench, Becoming Me Thought Leader
“Help! I’d like some guidance on how to deal with my feelings of disappointment. My 24-year-old son is 12 credits short of a college degree.”
Recently one of my clients sent me this lament:
“My kid failed out last spring because he was partying too much. Since that time, he’s been living at home, sleeping most of the day and staying up all night gaming with “friends”. He smokes pot sometimes and occasionally gets drunk. We’ve tried everything we can think of to help him, bribe him, push him. At this point I am resigned to knowing I can’t control the situation, only set appropriate boundaries. But how do I get over my feelings of disappointment and fear for his future?”
How To Handle A Failure To Launch:
“Make sure you are being realistic about his abilities.”
It’s understandable you are feeling fear for his future given the current circumstances. That being said, it isn’t helpful or of service to your son. At the moment he is lost and while trying to control him would be counterproductive and unhelpful, there are a few things you can do to increase the odds of his “finding his way.”
1. First Question Yourself: What Is He Capable Of?
Does he have the intelligence and skills necessary to do the many things that come with adulting? Activities ranging from making doctor appointments to doing his laundry – there are many small things that sometimes young adults don’t actually know how to tackle. So, make sure you are being realistic about his abilities. And if he does need help, he likely won’t ask, come up alongside of him and show him with he needs to know, without judgment.
2. Set Personal Boundaries:
Next, set some personal boundaries. You aren’t obligated to provide anything for your son other than a roof over his head and food in the fridge (some parents would argue even that is too much). Make sure you aren’t making life too comfortable so it’s easy for him to continue this pattern.
3. Provide Resources So He Can Help Himself:
If you feel he would benefit from a mentor, coach, or counselor, find three through your insurance and give him their websites to look into, but don’t do more than that.
“Your feelings are valid and sometimes when we allow them to just show up, be acknowledged, and processed the feelings will diminish.”
4. Don’t Fund His Extras:
Make sure you aren’t funding his social life or material goods. You love him enough, feel he’s capable of stepping into taking more responsibility for his life. It’s not about control.
Your feelings are valid and sometimes when we allow them to just show up, be acknowledged, and processed the feelings will diminish. I find uncomfortable feelings stick around longer and get bigger when I’m trying to ignore or shove them down.
When our kids are going through a rough patch it’s an opportunity for them to learn and grow, right? It’s also an opportunity for YOU to learn and grow. If you are worried about a failure to launch, try these four tips – at least it will help you navigate your feelings and emotions in a healthier way.
Who do you want to be for your son in this situation? Be that.
About the Author:
Kim Muench (pronounced minch, like pinch with an “m”) is a Jai (rhymes with buy) Institute for Parenting Certified Conscious Parenting Coach who specializes in working with mothers of adolescents (ages 10+). Knowing moms are the emotional barometer in their families, Kim is passionate about educating, supporting and encouraging her clients to raise their children with intention and guidance rather than fear and control. Kim’s three plus decades parenting five children and years of coaching other parents empowers her to lead her clients into healthier, happier, more functional relationships with compassion and without judgment.