But how will she know when to stop playing video games and start studying?

My colleague and I were brainstorming the questions parents ask, directly and indirectly, about the developmental tasks their offspring are facing as they trend toward adulthood.  Some of the questions are typical (where can I find a new psychiatrist in a college town), and some were questions that parents seem embarrassed to ask, yet really need to ask.  These types of questions are listed below.  See if your family might fit with our crew:

  • Executive functioning and time management:
    • How will my child know when to stop playing video games and start homework?
    • Who will tell my child to unplug and go to bed?
    • Who will tell my child to organize his backpack and head to class?
    • Who will remind my child to shower/brush teeth/do laundry?
    • Can I just email the professors really quickly about what my child needs?
      • Alternately, “I set up an appointment for all of us to talk to the professor.”
    • Life management
      • How will my child know when to request a doc appointment?
      • How will my child know when to get refills/med adjustments?
    • Relationships
      • Will my child get their heart broken?
      • Who will love my child?
      • Will my child make appropriate friends at college?
    • Work
      • Will my child have a job?
        • Hint: make your kid get a job as a teen. Too many parents keep stalling out on this project, and now I have a bunch of college seniors who have never had a job nor an internship!  (They needed a break after a tough semester.  Yeah, but that adds up, and now your child has no job experience, few identifiable job skills, and it is a tough job market unless you can prove your worth.)
      • Will my child make it in the video game industry?
      • I’m raising a NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training). Is this ok?

Adulting is a considerable task, not for the faint of heart.  If you find yourself worrying about your young adult, wondering how he or she will function at college (or if you are away for the weekend), you are clearly not alone.

Asking the questions, getting strategies in place starting closer to middle school than college, and appreciating the role of maturity will get you where you want to be.  Stuck?  Ask for help!  We are happy to help, and “we” are everywhere. Find a good therapist/coach/guide, and get unstuck!