Failure to launch of adult children

Joshua Coleman, PhD discusses why some adult children can't seem to move out of their parents' homes
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Failure to launch of adult children

So a lot of adult children are moving back in these days. There is the boomerang effect. It is actually becoming more normal for children after college to move back in with their parents and that's a result of several things. The most powerful reason is because of the economy that even college-educated kids are finding a hard time, finding work, an expensive place to live, so they might move back in with their parents, for that reason. The other reason is that there has been a real radical change in parenting over the past three or four decades, where parents have become much more dedicated, and sensitive, and psychological. And as a result, many adult children are actually closer to their parents, where their parents may have been to their parents at a similar age. So a lot of adult children are actually moving back in with their parents because they like spending time with them, because it is kind of cosy, because everybody gets along together, they're all friends, which in many ways is a great thing. But for some children it actually is a de-motivator. They don't for a variety of reasons, maybe depression, anxiety, self-esteem, social anxieties in particular, some kids who have social phobias may feel like they kind of have the cosy environment of the family home, really protects them against the anxiety that they feel when they're out in the world, which is what people need to be able tolerate to really launch adult life. So in that situation parents do a service to their adult children by not encouraging them to leave, by not putting limits on it, by not saying, 'Sweetheart, you have until, whatever, the end of the summer and then you're going to have a different situation,’ or ‘If you're going to live with us then you either have to be in school, or be in therapy, or have a plan where you're saving money for an apartment.’ So it's all basically tied to a general overall plan with the child launching into adulthood as the highest goal.
TEEN, Responsibilities, Moving Out

Joshua Coleman, PhD discusses why some adult children can't seem to move out of their parents' homes


Expert Bio

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Joshua Coleman, PhD

Author & Psychologist

Dr. Coleman is a psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and Co-Chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-partisan organization composed of leading sociologists, historians, psychologists and demographers dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. He has lectured at Harvard University and The University of California at Berkeley and blogs on parent-adult child relationships for the U.C. Berkeley publication, Greater Good Magazine, the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Dr. Coleman is frequently contacted by the media for opinions and commentary about changes in the American family. He has been a frequent guest on the Today Show, NPR, and The BBC, and has also been featured on Sesame Street, 20/20, Good Morning America, PBS, AARP,  America Online Coaches,  and numerous news programs for FOX, ABC, CNN, and NBC television. His advice appears often in The New York Times, The Times of London, Fortune, Newsweek, The Chicago Tribune, Slate, Psychology Today, U.S. World and News Report, Parenting Magazine, The Baltimore Sun and many others.

He has served on the clinical faculties of The University of California at San Francisco, The Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, and the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters and has written four books:  When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don't Get Along (HarperCollins) The Marriage Makeover: Finding Happiness in Imperfect Harmony (St. Martin's Press); The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework (St. Martin's Press); and Married with Twins: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Marital Harmony. His books have been translated into Chinese, Croatian, and Korean, and are also available in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. He is formerly a contributing editor to Twins Magazine.

 Dr. Coleman is a sought-after public speaker on topics related to the family. He is also co-editor, along with historian Stephanie Coontz of the yearly online volume, Unconventional Wisdom: News You Can Use, a compendium of noteworthy research on the contemporary family, gender, sexuality, poverty, and work-family issues.  He runs a popular webinar series for estranged parents and a free newsletter for parents, The Coleman Report.

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