I handled her registration form like a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. We'd picked out her classes for next semester and even though Kallie (not her real name) wanted to go back to her high school and drop out of our early college program, it was my job to register her for the next semester.
"I've talked to them both over and over again," she said. "They don't understand. I'm just not ready to be here. It's too much. It's all too much!"
"This looks like a much better schedule this time," I said pointing to the computer print out. "I think you'll enjoy if you give it a chance."
She ignored my encouragement.
"What can I do to get thrown out of this program?" She said with a sly smile, knowing she'd get a rise out of me. Yet, she was that desperate.
"Don't jeopardize your future by doing something stupid," I said. I was wearing my "mom" hat now. The thing was - I agreed. I knew that Kallie was not ready for this transition to early college. After all, it's not for everyone.
As parents we believe we know what's best for our children and hate it if someone tells us differently - even when it's our own children. It's hard to let them make their own decisions about what's best for them when we're used to making those decisions for them.
How do you know when it's time?
Consider first, how high are the stakes? Then, how much prior experience have you given them to make decisions on their own? Finally, will this decision help or hinder their march towards maturity?
Kallie had mapped out all the reasons she wasn't quite ready for the responsibility thrust upon her. Her parents didn't listen.
How do you know when to shove the baby bird out of the nest and when to hold them back away from the edge? It may be too comfortable for them in that nest. Without a good shove, they'll never learn how to fly for themselves.
Right now Kallie's view of her nest is from the ground. She may need to be hand fed and protected a little more than the rest if she doesn't get back into the nest. Or she may discover that she is indeed strong enough and able to fly - she just won't know until she tries.
Her parents know her better than I do, but for me all I can do is show her the way and keep the predators away. The rest, is up to her.