The 20-something • The 30-something •
The College Drop-out • and many others…

Failure To Launch Syndrome

Failure-to-Launch client.

We all know the classic example of the 30-something living in mom & dad’s basement and working at the local pizza parlor, or the 28-year old college drop-out who’s thrown in the towel on the prospect of education and success. We call it Failure-to-Launch Syndrome, and it is a surprisingly common condition especially among the Millennial Population. They seem lost, not quite sure of who they are or what they want to do in life. They lack direction, ambition, and purpose. As a parent, you are probably stressed and feel helpless in how to help them. Dr. Cali Estes and her team of seasoned professionals specialize in this behavior.


Everyone with Failure to Launch syndrome will experience different symptoms, with the main one being an inability to live a responsible, independent life. Each client we treat will have many different symptoms but the core symptoms is not being able to “adult’ or live a normal productive life.

Social anxiety and low-stress tolerance
This generation of young adults has learned to communicate almost entirely by text. They have trouble actually calling and speaking on the phone and forget having full conversations face to face. They would rather be online. Holding a job form them is extremely difficult especially when human interaction is required. Medication will only place a bandaid on the underlying symptoms and causes, which we try to handle in our failure to launch programs.  Their inability to handle simple stress feds into their social anxiety which then causes a shutdown and we see the failure to launch symptoms.

Lack of confidence and fear of failure
Social anxiety can lead to a lack of confidence. Also, many failure to launch clients have never been told ‘no’; or experienced failure. They are used to having things done for them so they never got the opportunity to have a big win or a big fail. This leads to a lack of confidence when they have to actually complete a task where failure is involved. They have not garnered enough self-esteem to get through the task that is at hand and coupled with social anxiety, causes them to shut down. They simply would rather stare at the tv than risk a failure.

Lack of motivation and inability to hold a job
A lot of failure to launch clients cannot hold steady employment because they simply do not want to get out of bed and go to work. They want meaningful jobs yet also want to work from home for a few hours a day and hang out at Starbucks taking selfies. They do not possess an ability to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and often get fired or quit their jobs because they can not handle the scheduled or the tasks they are hired to do.

No Coping Mechanisms or Lifeskills
Having failure to launch syndrome would include not being able to handle stress but also having little to no coping mechanisms and life skills when it comes basic tasks like cooking, cleaning, job applications, resumes and even more complicated things like job skills, parenting, breakups, dating and more.  The depression and anxiety that come from no coping skills and life skills only makes the situation worse.  Sometimes it gets exaggerated by parents taking their kids to a mental health therapist and they end up with a mental health diagnosis when it is really the failure to launch syndrome.

Drugs, alcohol and Video game addiction
Many young people who are experiencing failure to launch syndrome are addicted to drugs, alcohol and video games as a way to escape their lives. They use these to escape reality and also to not have to deal with the societal pressures that are placed upon them. Sometimes the only ‘human interaction” they get is online gaming.

Lack of identity and purpose in life/ lack of direction
Most failure to launch clients have no identity or purpose and direction in life. They know that they should be doing something and are desperately trying to find themselves. They like the idea of a direction and plan, but they can not seem to get there on their own. Sometimes they will tell you that they want a true purpose in the world and they are not concerned about money or things, yet they lack the skills to figure all this out and seem to be spinning n a circle and not getting anyplace.

Lack of goals and no action planning
Most failure to launch clients have little to no plan for the future. Most have no plan beyond today or this week. They know they would like to achieve something, but their lack of identity and limited life skills hinders them from living a full life. They are literally stuck. When you ask them to formulate goals there are none or they are so insurmountable they will fail. There is no middle ground with failure to launch clients.

Excessive selfies/social media personas

Their online world does not meet the everyday world. For example, they need to take 100 pictures to put on up on Instagram or their self-esteem is tied to the number of likes they get on a post on Facebook. They may want to be the next youtube star and not want to actually work. If their ideal job title is ‘social media influencer’ you have a failure to launch.

Entitlement and Self Centered Behaviors

The typical failure to launch the client is entitled and will speak to their parents in a rude fashion. They expect money and things and society to tolerate their behaviors and provide the things they demand both monetarily and emotionally and when they are not met, the client will have a meltdown.

Dr. Cali Estes gets to the root cause of the ambivalence and the ‘stuck points’ to assist her clients in moving forward with their lives in a productive, happy and excited manner. It is not just about the ability to create a life for themselves, but the ability to create a life that has meaning, joy, and fulfillment. Wouldn’t you enjoy seeing your loved one wake up every morning excited and ready to jump into the day? Dr. Estes instills self-empowerment to her clients, which inevitably leads them towards goal achievement.

Our approach at Fix Failure 2 Launch in helping those struggling with Failure-to-Launch involves a process creating a new reality. A reality which is built around the client’s persona, abilities and passions. Simultaneously, we assist our clients in learning accountability, maturity, patience and the ability to recognize healthy opportunities. We focus on finding a long-term solution, using a highly integrative process, proven to be tremendously successful.

Dr. Cali Estes and her team treat each client, based on their individual needs. Together mentor and client create a “Re-Launch” process tailored to the client’s unique needs. The end result is the creation of a dream filled life. Are you ready to get started?

Failure-to-Launch related issues we treat:

  • Inability to function on life’s terms: what is the ‘stuck point’?
  • Drugs, alcohol, gaming, any unhealthy addictions
  • Examining any potential mental health issues that may be contributing to addiction
  • Addressing employment, including short and long-term goals & plans.
  • Working to uncover hidden goals, interests, including purpose and passion in life 
  • Family involvement to include boundaries and addiction educational pieces
  • Addressing education, including short and long-term goals & plans
  • Addressing financial and ‘clean up’ of areas of your life that have been damaged by addiction 
  • Implementing new nutrition and fitness plans and learning how healthy eating and fitness play into a new sober lifestyle 
  • Helping to work through any inter-family related matters or communication issues
  • Family Dynamics and Famly Systems Supports
  • Understanding positive support systems and attending sober events

Success is all about the long-term goals and achievements, and that every achievement is another brick in the foundation of independence and success. Our team diligently guides the client to overcome failure to launch syndrome in an expedited manor, while acknowledging that everyone responds differently to the process of change.

ARE YOU READY? Are you ready to experience victory in ways you may have never imagined? Contact Dr. Cali Estes at (800) 706-0318

” Coach Perry is doing a great job with my son. My son loves him and I am loving the results I am seeing so far”

— Client working with my coach Perry Landsman

Got this from a mom today “I am so thankful for you and coach Alex. You have no idea how relaxed I feel having you on my team. Having an addicted child is tough and not knowing where to turn is tougher. Your program has been so helpful to us a family”

— mom of client in DC

Hi Cali! My son walked my daughter down the aisle this past November when she got married. And he walked me down the aisle or so. Thank you so so much for all your help over the years. My family is back together again and it is a miracle from heaven. Your help was priceless. God bless you and have a wonderful happy healthy new year.

— Thank you a million again. Valerie

Frequently asked questions

What is Failure to Launch Syndrome?

Failure to launch syndrome is a term that is given to young to middle-age adults that can’t seem to do certain things in life. Read more.

How do you fix Failure to Launch Syndrome?

Fixing failure to launch syndrome has a lot to do with the root cause of a problem behavior that is underlying why the person feels stuck. Read more.

How do I know if my child has a failure to launch syndrome?

There are some telltale signs of failure to launch syndrome these include: Read more.

What is it like to have a Failure To Launch child?

First, let’s explain what Failure To Launch is exactly. Failure to Launch Syndrome is very much what it sounds like. Read more.

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