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10 Signs Your Young Adult is Struggling

May 3, 2018

Failure to Launch is a developmental syndrome wherein an adult child is struggling launching from their parents’ home to independence and adulthood. Typically, Failure to Launch affects males more than females and can have a significant impact on a family’s life, including greater financial burden, marital discord, and increased sibling jealousy. Frequently, the young adult can be struggling with substance abuse and may have an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Here are several signs that may indicate your child is struggling.

1. Failing College/Loss of Job

You’re observing a decline in school performance or they are struggling with getting to their job regularly. They might be frequently late or oversleeping. They are not keeping up with homework. When asked about it, they may make excuses about why it’s happening.

Learn more at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/14655-handling-insecurity/

2. Loss of Friends

Your child may not be going out as much with friends, or the type of friends have changed. You might notice that they aren’t staying in touch with old friends like they used to.

3. Increased Isolation

They are holed up in their room for long amounts of time. They may not be joining you for meals and not doing chores. They often sleep in late and may retire to his room early. He may be going out without telling you where he is going.

Learn more at: http://mentalhealthtreatment.net/helping-young-adult-children-cope-with-depression

4. Increased Gaming

This can become the de facto activity day and night, and affect mood and behavior. Gaming and internet use becomes the preferred activity. If access is limited, you might see what appears to be withdrawal symptoms: mood changes, anxiety, insomnia, rationalization of gaming, irritability, lack of interest in other activities.

5. Moving Home

They move home due to school failure, loss of job and/or inability to pay bills. They might have contacted you a few months ago saying they were struggling in school. Perhaps bills are coming to the house unpaid. The money they earned from their summer job was supposed to last the whole year, but they are calling you for money after the holidays.

6. Lacking Motivation

This might be noticed even with small tasks such as completing chores or applying for jobs. They have lost interest in activities that they used to enjoy. They don’t want to do anything, and seem depressed.

7. Mood/Behavior Changes

You might see a change in mood/behavior that aren’t consistent with their personality.

There could be an increase in being argumentative, short-tempered or irritated. Or they may seem out of it and subdued. Their hygiene may worsen, seeing a decrease in taking showers and wearing clean clothes. This can be an indication of substance abuse and/or the development of a mental health issue.

Learn more at: https://drugfree.org/article/look-for-warning-signs/

8. Increased Marital Discord

From a family perspective, increased conflict can arise between parents, as one may be more sympathetic to the young adult’s plight whereas the other parent is pushing the young adult to get out of the house. This can result in more fighting between spouses. The young adult feels helpless and responsible, which could lead them to become depressed and anxious.

9. Increased Financial Burden

Since they are not in school and not working, their ability to pay for themselves decreases and they may expect parents to continue to pay for food, housing, internet much like when they were teenagers. Attempts by the parents to cut off the young adult ends in fighting, bargaining, or other behaviors until the parent gives in.

10. Increased Sibling Rivalry

If there are other younger children in the home, you might see an increase in jealousy and other acting behaviors because your adult child is getting most of the attention that would be typically directed to the younger kids.


These behaviors didn’t arise overnight. Things began to change gradually. When your young adult asked to move back home, they believed it would be temporary. The first job they lost was no big deal. But then they lost a second job. They planned to go back to school, but now they don’t seem interested. And they are acting weird and you’re worried they might be using drugs and you are wondering what happened to your child. It might feel like the whole house is walking on eggshells.

Remember that you are not alone. There is help. At Sandstone Care, we believe in everyone’s ability to change and want to support people who are ready to change as well. Give us a call and we will help you. Our intake coordinator will listen to your concerns and guide you in the right direction.


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