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It's a rare book on developmental child psychology and parenting, that can capture the interest of a reader not actively involved in childcare. Yet, this book caught mine. McConville explores, using examples from his private practice, three types of transitions that adolescents must navigate on their way to adulthood: becoming responsible administrators for their own lives (e.g. paying bills and keeping appointments); making supportive new relationships with friends and mentors, while moving their parents from a supervisor to a counselor role; finding direction and commitment, i.e. relevancy, in their new adult world. Reading Failure to Launch, you may start looking in a new light at the behaviors of other family members--not just your child, but also your partner, parent, sibling, and of course, yourself! The author also addresses the complications of anxiety, guilt, shame, depression, catastrophizing (particularly in parents), and risk avoidance. This is a motivational master class in family dynamics.
From an expert in adolescent psychology comes a groundbreaking, timely, and necessary guide for parents of the 2.2 million young adults in America who are struggling to find their way in the world.
In Dr. Mark McConville's decades of experience as a family clinical psychologist, perhaps no problem has been more fraught than that of young adults who fail to successfully transition from adolescence into adulthood. These kids--technically adults--just can't get it together: They can't hold a job, they struggle to develop meaningful relationships, and they often end up back in their parents' spare bedroom or on the couch. In fact, studies show that 1 in 4 Americans aged 25 to 34 neither work nor attend school, and it's a problem that spans all socioeconomic and geographic boundaries.
McConville investigates the root causes of this problem: Why are modern kids "failing to launch" in ever-increasing numbers? The key, McConville has found, is that they are struggling with three critical skills that are necessary to make the transition from childhood to adulthood--finding a sense of purpose, developing administrative responsibility, and cultivating interdependence. In Failure to Launch, McConville breaks these down into achievable, accessible goals and offers a practical guide for the whole family, to help parents instill those skills in their young adults--and to get their kids into the real world, ready to start their lives.
About the Author
Mark McConville, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio, specializing in adult, adolescent, emerging adult, and family psychology. A senior faculty member at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, he has lectured, published, and taught widely on the subjects of child development, parenting, and counseling methodology.
“In more and more families, the nest just isn’t emptying. Psychologist McConville explores what parents can do to coax their young ‘transitioners’ towards adulthood.” –People
“McConville is well qualified to guide parents through the challenges that many face but are less frequently examined. A valuable go-to resource for parents and teens alike.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“A straightforward, helpful guide for families struggling with a child’s ability to make their own way.” –Kirkus Reviews
"McConville's style is welcoming, and his advice is reassuring. Parents facing these challenges (and there are plenty) will snap this up." —Booklist
"Mark McConville offers a guilt-free look at why your kid is failing to launch, and explains how to tweak your parent-child interactions so that your kid becomes motivated to slide into the driver's seat of their own life. Empathetic, wise, and frank. Truly a must-read for parents of struggling twentysomethings." —Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult
"Growing up isn’t what it used to be, says psychologist Mark McConville – and because of that, parents need a new parenting tool-kit to help their kids transition into adulthood with strength, resilience, and grace. The good news: even young people who seem “stuck” can be taught the skills they need to thrive in this important stage of life. Failure to Launch is essential reading for any parent whose child is struggling to find his or her way in the world." —Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
“On one of the toughest topics in all of parenting—what to do when a grown child refuses to grow up—Failure to Launch offers clear, practical, and deeply insightful advice. With wisdom, empathy, and unflinching honesty, Dr. Mark McConville explains just how young people get stuck and lays out a helpful path forward for the whole family.” —Lisa Damour, author of Untangled and Under Pressure
"What is loving support? What is destructive enabling? With an easy manner and deep respect for both parents and youth, the brilliant Mark McConville offers insight and clarity for weary parents. Failure to Launch will lead you and your child out of the confusing maze of post-adolescence by defining the specific and surprising markers of the New Adulthood – tangible developmental skills young people need to take vibrant ownership of their future. Read this book and breathe!" —Wendy Mogel, Ph.D., author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and Voice Lessons for Parents
"It can feel as shameful as it is painful when other people's kids are winning Nobel Prizes—or at least getting jobs, homes and partners—while yours is still unlaunched. But this condition is extremely common. Dr. McConville removes the stigma while assuring you that, as lonely and frustrated as you feel, you are not alone. A path forward awaits, inside these pages.” —Lenore Skenazy, president of Let Grow and founder of Free-Range Kids
“Mark McConville writes from the perspective of four decades of being a clinical psychologist. I have four decades of being high school teacher and we are seeing the same thing happening to our young people. They are more fearful, lack self-confidence, are afraid to be wrong, and afraid to launch. Why? Mark addresses it in this great book. It isn't because of lack of care; it is just the opposite: too much care, too much control by parents and teachers. Every parent should read this book even if your child is 25.” —Esther Wojcicki, author of How to Raise Successful People
"This book helps parents give kids something they desperately need, but seems just beyond their reach: a future. Dr. McConville takes us inside the world of young people stuck in the transition from adolescent to young adult. He demonstrates that in order for change to happen parents must stop treating their twentysomethings like the teenager they were, and parent them like the young adult they will become. Dr. McConville then provides a step by step guide full of practical, effective, and compassionate strategies. Failure to Launch offers a way off the proverbial basement couch and is a must read for any parent whose offspring are having trouble leaving the nest." —Adam Price, Ph.D., author of He's Not Lazy
"Failure to Launch is a must-read and hopeful guide for the record numbers of parents whose boomerang kids have stalled. Through highly relatable vignettes, Dr. Mark McConville reveals the underlying family dynamics that are common to this syndrome. He then empowers parents to change how they relate to break the interpersonal cycle of control and rebellion. Parents will gain insight and a step-by-step plan for supporting their kids, as they acquire the autonomy and maturity skills to make a successful launch into adulthood." —B. Janet Hibbs, Ph.D., family psychologist and co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years
"Dr. McConville does not pretend to have magic solutions to emerging adults' problems--no one does--and he recognizes that parents don't have the power simply to 'fix' the lives of their kids once those kids are beyond high school. But this book shows there is much parents can do, and, just as importantly, lots of mistakes that parents can avoid." —Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, author of Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties
“Wise, expert, reassuring, realistic, humble, funny, compassionate, unflappable...a beautiful book, which is also eminently useful. What a gift.” —Gordon Wheeler, president of Esalen