Failure to Launch/Boomerang Kids: Part 1

Why are so many kids moving back home and can’t seem to navigate college life?  What can we be doing along the way to prepare kids to succeed once they move out of the house?

“Can anyone guess the age most developmental theorists agree adolescence ends for a male?”  

I pose this question in a parenting class I teach on Understanding Boys.   I break boy development into five stages and walk parents through the developmental shifts boys experience as they transition from boyhood to adult manhood. I’ve never asked the question that at least someone didn’t yell out “forty-five!”  The room erupts into laughter as we all envision some adult male we know who acts like an adolescent boy.  I respond that it’s earlier than forty-five but likely later than imagined.  Most theorists agree adolescence ends for a girl somewhere around 19-20.  For boys it’s years later - somewhere around 22-24.  Our current generation may cause us to adjust those numbers even more in the coming years.  

Approximately 18 million young adults ages 18-34 now live at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  This is a 42% increase since 1970.  Understanding these numbers has become more a part of our national conversation in recent years.  We are working to explain the “Failure to Launch” phenomena, to prevent “boomerang” kids, and to better assess the needs of these “emerging adults.”  


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