When is it time?

By Scott Schimmel

We receive phone calls on a daily basis from concerned parents who are trying their best to help their kids develop and grow up. There’s one key question that we keep hearing, no matter who the parent is:

When is it time?

When is it time to get my kid to take responsibility for her schoolwork? When is it time for my son to move out of the house? When is it time for my son to get off the video games and find something more meaningful to do? When is it time for my kid to start finding a job? When is it time to figure out how to pick a major? When is it time to find a good group of friends?

Here’s the answer to those questions, so please pay attention:

If you’re asking the question, it’s already too late!

Great parents, from our humble perspective, are the ones who are putting responsibility on their kids at the right time. If they error, they error on the too early side. 

Emerging adults thrive under pressure. They’re made for it. They thrive when the adults in their lives support them by encouragement— verbally sharing with them the confidence they feel about their potential, their strengths, and their future. They thrive when those same adults give them clear expectations about taking responsibility, growing, and taking risks. 

Emerging adults do not thrive when adults remove them from responsibility, natural consequences, or pressure. They can’t grow up until they are encouraged or challenged. They can’t become healthy adults until they step out on their own and feel the weight of life on their shoulders. 

Even if they aren’t asking for that challenge, or that responsibility, and even if they struggle, moan, groan, blame and complain— they need you to put it on them. And they need it now.