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  • Writer's pictureThe Local Times

The World According to Kate: Failure to Launch

There was a time, not long ago, when children were taught about life at a young age. They learnt hard lessons and how to face real-life decisions as they worked with their family members on the land or in the household. Today we refer to this as a 'hard' life.

It was approximately forty years ago when firm discipline was acceptable. Discipline, not abuse. Perhaps we should call this the 'medium' life. We were taught life lessons a little later and with less pain, but in a way that we would mature to the point of finding independence from parental figures whilst still accepting guidance.

“Life hurts. It's unfair. Sh!t happens. We need to step back and let them deal with it. If we don't, we are simply a storehouse, not a launch pad.”

Today, discipline is scarce and, when executed, generates much gossip. This 'easy' life, where children are protected from realism, and fed fantasy through the entertainment industry, is not what it's all cracked up to be.

I have some close friends over sixty who live at home but are independent. Their choice to not marry and live under their parent's roof whilst carving their own identity has been deeply engrained in respect and interdependency. They help around the house without asking, contribute financially and are considerate of their parent's limitations as they age. Sometimes even becoming their parent's carers until their death. That is the previous generation.

Introducing this generation - sometimes referred to as the alpha or disappointed generations. This generation seems to prefer staying at home for as long as possible, not contributing but rather feeding off parental figures like leaches. They have jobs and may even contribute financially, but only because they are told to. Deep down, they don't believe they should. Given half the chance, they won't.

Three in my family tree, all in their mid-twenties, are perfectly happy living in The Parents Hotel. They are provided with food, transport, financial loans on occasion, cleaning services and constant reminders about what they are forgetting to do. It is, indeed, all about them.

They will agree to anything whilst doing the bare minimum. They are masters of making you believe it is your fault. They do not intend to get a driver's licence or move out, although they speak about it to get you off their back. They won't agree to any form of 'tenancy' or 'roommate' agreement because it is simply not family-like.

They believe that the money they give you for board entitles them to tell you what to prepare for meals, what to buy when shopping, or have you clean their toilet. Moreover, they never have any money until they want to buy the latest computer game or anime collectable. Then they have hundreds of dollars available.

The question is not how do I know this, but what do you do about it? How do you stop this failure to launch?

Experts say that their environment needs to be less comfortable so that they start seeking a move… out! I dare say those experts have never actually tried this and dealt with the family turmoil that follows.

Could it be that we, as a society, in our efforts to ensure our children don't experience the same discipline that we deemed unfair, have created our own monster? A monster that we then unleash on society? Or are we too scared of what might happen 'out there' that deep down, we are happy with them 'safe at home'?

At least at home, they are not getting into trouble, exposed to drugs, dealing with unwanted pregnancies, getting in with the 'wrong crowd', raped, murdered or worse. They are 'safe' in our bubble of protection, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Yet when we enable addiction to screens, isolation and a life purpose of interacting online, we are doing them a disservice. How are they meant to meet their future partner? How are they going to learn those life lessons? How are they going to stand on their own and support their children?

One day we will die. We need to think beyond ourselves and never give up on pushing leach-like adults out of their comfort zone so that they can provide for future generations.

Life hurts. It's unfair. Sh!t happens. We need to step back and let them deal with it. If we don't, we are simply a storehouse, not a launch pad.

Side note: When I write this piece, I am writing about our children who are not facing mental and physical disabilities requiring them to be dependent in their adult lives.


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1 Comment

Mar 29, 2023

Thought provoking and seemingly accurate for some.

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