Theories of Growing up From a Young Age

The movie Failure to Launch, directed by Tom Dey, was based on the idea of adults still living at home with their parents. Matthew McConaughey, “Tripp”, was a rare case though. In the movie, he was thirty-five-year-old son perfectly content with living with his parents. The parents made it a great lifestyle to have by treating him like he was still a young child. For example, the mother cleaned his room, did his chores and laundry, and made him a gourmet breakfast every morning.

Considering those factors, one could see why the son didn’t want to leave his parent’s house. Tripp was convinced he was normal for living at home and was not motivated to change it anytime soon. The parents hadn’t done anything about it until seeing some of their friends happy and experiencing new things since their own son moved out. This prompted Tripp’s parents to take action to get Tripp out.

Throughout the movie, there was some factors revealed as to why Tripp never wanted to move out.

One of the biggest ones was that he was loving his life at home because he didn’t have much, if any responsibility. The next one is that he had other friends living at home, so he considered it normal. The biggest one, that also made the parents feel as though they couldn’t move him out, was a life changing event for Tripp. Tripp was engaged to his fiancé, but she suddenly died. He went through really difficult times and had to get help from his family.

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This influenced him to never leave because of the constant solace available to him.

There are several theories that are applicable to the movie. One theory applicable is the Levinson’s era (seasons of life) theory. Berk (2018) explained that there is a difficult transition from young to old and the transition may be hard to even commence. Levinson’s theory can be seen in the scene of Tripp playing video games in his bedroom of his parent’s house. In the scene his mother comes in and list chores and responsibilities to do. This caused one of his friends to say, “Something’s wrong with your mom.” (Dey, 2006). He was confused why he was given responsibilities and didn’t understand the concept of adult responsibilities. The transition from responsibilities in childhood to adulthood were confusing to him. Levinson’s theory was seen in Tripp playing video games with his friends in his bedroom and transitioning and trying to be older with his responsibilities. Other examples would be the activities he engages in. Tripp does childlike activities but also goes on dates with women and holds a job. He is trying to find ways to stay young while being old.

One theory that is applicable is Erikson’s Intimacy versus Isolation. Berk (2018) explains a study that romantic bonds are difficult, and many don’t engage in them. Tripp applies to this theory in many ways. First, Tripp has experienced the death of a loved one and he doesn’t want to move out, which makes relationships difficult. Tripp has commitment issues which can include his inability to move out and the loss of his loved one. If he feels as though the person he is dating is getting close, committed, or attached, he will bring them home to his bedroom in his parent’s house which scares them off most of the time. He isolates himself among his friends, so he doesn’t have to commit to a relationship and move out. Tripp exhibits traits of attachment, fear, and comfortability within his home because of the death of his loved one. Therefore, a commitment is too much for him.

Each of the developmental theories can be applicable to everyday life. The theory of intimacy versus isolation is a popular theory among the younger adults. A lot of times, people hear of young adults being afraid to commit to relationships because of many things. The reasons aren’t the same as Tripp in the movie Failure to Launch, though. The other theory is the seasons of life theory. A more serious example of this, different from Failure to Launch, is a young adult trying to decide between college or workforce. It includes the young adult transitioning from young to old and making an adult decision.

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Theories of Growing up From a Young Age. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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