“Failure to Launch” Syndrome is a problem described by psychologists as the lack of preparation, ambition to work, and self- supportiveness seen in the new generation of young adults. Ph. D David F. Lancy describes in his essay the causes of this problem and its devastating effects he believes it will have on the US economy. His research used correlational observations based on the new generation’s behaviors, parental influence, and motivations in society. Lancy uses two sets of scientific variables to determine his reasoning. In the first case, parent’s and society’s influence and presence in a child’s life is independent, while the child’s work ethic and motivation is dependent. In the follow up case, the work ethic and independence of the millennial generation is the independent variable and the outcome of the US economy is dependent. The argument made in the essay continues to use these show how these variables work together and how Failure to Launch syndrome is evident in our younger generation. Lancy describes, “ It arises from a perfect storm created by our modern child-rearing philosophy”.1.
The researcher reveals how the causes for the syndrome are all around us rooted in our society. To describe how the problem is created, Lancy uses the example of aircraft technology being tested. An airplane can only be proven to work with test runs and experiments. With each failure the technology will be modified and improved. Failure to Syndrome is created because a number of things are wiping out the small failures made in the life of a young adult, and therefore removing the modifications made. Young people are “launched” into society without a proper test run.
One of the variables that Lancy argues is causing the failure is that parental influence is being replaced. As shown by many psychologists, children pick up knowledge and ideas from observing others. They replicate actions and ideas incorporating them into their play, with similar make-believe activities. Unfortunately, as the writer reports, the observation of parents and society is also known as “fitting in” and is becoming an outdated social norm. He also adds that societies that exist in second and third world countries continue to practice these social norms, raising young people with better work ethic, which will later lead to economic problems. Lancy reports the reason for this change to be the common fact that children do not need to observe their parents anymore. He writes “Automobiles, smart-phones, part time-jobs, and the atmosphere of highschool and college allow adolescents to retreat from the world at large into a distinct youth culture”. On the contrary, he also adds factor of “helicopter parents” on the other side of the aisle just as easily inducing Failure to Launch syndrome. These are parents that work to take away every obstacle from a young adult’s path and as a whole removing the idea of failure from their mind. Lancy gives the idea that this way of parenting will fail the individual in the real world.
In the second part of the essay the consequences of how Failure to Launch Syndrome will threaten the US economy. The main idea implied is that the new generation with a low work ethic will generally avoid “hard” subjects, like engineering, math and science. These are fields, Lancy reports, that are considerably outscored by immigrants, whose societies are not affecting young people like the millennials in America. With the absence of hard, competent workers, fields like these will either outright hire less American workers or move to countries that have workers meeting the requirements. The essay furthermore gives the opinion that young adults are now given less incentive to work because of too much safety, as it quotes, “ ´…more and more able-bodied men are out of work and are not even looking for work `”. This sources further states, “´It’s been more than ten years since I’ve been able to hire any young man born in the US and keep him for more than a month. Number one, these young guys nowadays have no idea of craftsmanship. Number two, they don’t have any interest in learning. None whatsoever`”.2. Lancy seems to reveal the answer to this problem as he writes, “ Our special children do not conform to social rules. They are given a pass on etiquette, politeness, and cooperation. They learn to ask from others- not to give. They have difficulty accepting the subordinate role of apprentice or employee and adhering to routines and following directions”. 3.
From learning about the issue of Failure to Launch Syndrome in David F. Lancy’s research, it’s reality is clear. The extent of the reality is to the point that many mental health centers are now treating the problem. When Lancy compares young adults in the real world to airplanes on test runs the example seems to apply well to today’s society, and has roots to an even bigger philosophy. The “test run” example contains the idea that individuals will learn from their own mistakes when competing with others. Another comparison can be made to business competition in the real world. Competition between two companies will yield higher quality products and lower prices due to the businesses trying to outscore one another. Similarly, competition in the developing of young adults will cause them to make mistakes and eventually have more knowledge, work incentive, and wisdom. The “Helicopter parents” described are extremely guilty of removing this competition from young adults. They are so heavily devoted to save their kids from Social Darwinism, the theory that groups and individuals are subject to the same natural selection as plants and animals, that they hurt them more in the long run. They succeed in saving the individual from the natural selection they fear so much and simply leave them with no selection at all, which describes the nature of Failure to Launch.
On the basis of parental guidance, the writer covers his opinion that parents are being replaced, but leaves out the variable of the absence of parents in society. Lancy covers the truth of society having an intolerance of social norms regarding the role of parental influence on the child, but does not acknowledge one of the most prominent social norms being broken in parenting. According to pew research, 46% are living with two parents.4. Children with the guidance of two parents are now a minority. Lancy’s statements implying that children follow their parents are true, but there is no constant example to follow with the absence of parents. With broken families and neglect to the millennial, it is obvious why so many are unable to replicate the hardworking attributes of the older generations. This factor clearly contributes to the working outcome of people, since children with single parents are disproportionately less likely to get a college education than their counterparts in traditional families.5. An even worse chain reaction that will multiply Failure to Launch syndrome is the fact that millennial affected by this issue are now having children of their own. It is easy to notice the practices of these new parents. They are often are single and hand the child of to their parents and other non-parent guardians for their own convenience. This variable to Failure to Launch is the same if not much worse than Lancy’s argument of influence replacement.
Regardless of disagreement on the causes, Lancy is completely correct on the on the dangers served for the US economy as a result of Failure to Launch syndrome. The syndrome has affected millennials that are now losing incentive to work, which builds up to a loss of human creativity, ambition, and knowledge of the free-market. It is mentioned by Lacncy that two of the things influencing children in place of parents are highschool and colleges. This influence can be great in the case of real education, but not in the sense of indoctrination and political correctness. The nature of many American colleges are intolerant of traditional social norms and are unknowingly similar to “helicopter parents”, burning out any natural challenge in the way of the young students. This is to the extent of wiping out the slight challenge of hurtful speech for the young adults, as many colleges around the country have adopted “speech codes” or specific “free speech zones”. Anyone brought up with this treatment would have a clear disadvantage in the real economy. To make matters worse, the education system often makes the young adults believe that they are being hurt by a false enemy, like the privilege of others, business owners, or capitalism, when in reality, they are being hurt by the by they were raised and themselves as individuals. As a result of these flaws, people from other countries and cultures are winning over the jobs in America that many of the young adults here simply will not do. Many of us are familiar with the racial stereotype of Asian students being very intelligent, while Lancy’s research shows that this is probably because their culture raises children in ways that better prepares children for hard work. The millennials then view hard work as “intelligence”. Currently, there are 93 occupations in which 20 percent or more are immigrants.6. Lancy mentions that the syndrome keeps young adults from choosing challenging occupations, like engineering. This is shown to be true based on the unemployment rate of engineers at 1.9% and the unemployment rate of college majors of humanities and Liberal Arts at 9.4%.7. The students are choosing the major that is arguably easier than the other, even though it has much less economic demand with a chance of leaving them unemployed.
1.“Failure to Launch Syndrome now threatens the US Economy” David F. Lancy https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/benign-neglect/201611/failure-launch-now-threatens-the-us-economy
2.L. Sax, Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men (New York: Basic, 2007).
3.“Failure to Launch Syndrome now threatens the US Economy” David F. Lancy https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/benign-neglect/201611/failure-launch-now-threatens-the-us-economy 11/19/16
4.“Fewer than half of kids today live in a traditional family” Gretchen Livingston http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/22/less-than-half-of-u-s-kids-today-live-in-a-traditional-family/ 11/19/16
5.“Family Influence on Education” Kaitlin Mulhere https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/25/report-marks-growing-educational-disadvantage-children-single-parent-families 11/19/16
7.“Unemployment Rates by Occupation” http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323936804578229873392511426 11/19/16