How Helicopter Parents Are Holding Back Their Kids

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The new school year is just starting up and parents everywhere have new and returning concerns for their children. Many parents want the best for their kids and are willing to do what it takes to make this happen, but there’s a subset of this group that is actually holding their kids back.

Sometimes well-meaning parents can be over the line in terms of micromanaging their children’s’ lives or interfering in their kid’s interpersonal relationships. These parents that heavily involved and controlling in the lives of their kids are known as “helicopter parents.” While this might provide structure, it takes away from a teen’s or young adult’s ability to trust their own judgment and perform in a work setting.

According to a 2007 study by Michigan State University, 23% of companies reported that parents were involved “sometimes” to “very often” when in the hiring process of college seniors. Of those parents, while very few (4%) attended interviews, other involvement included obtaining information on the company (40%), promoting their son or daughter for the position (26%) and complaining if their child did not get the position (15%).

This problem is exacerbated by the suite of instant communication technology that allows parents to be in contact with their children virtually at all times.

In a 2013 report by CNN, a recruiter was planning to hire a candidate until the candidate’s mother got involved. After reaching out to the recruiter individually to ask questions about her child’s potential role, the meddling lost the candidate, who was otherwise qualified, the position.

Andrew Challenger, vice president of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, commented:

Employers need people who can think for themselves, make strong decisions without hesitation, and work independently. When a candidate’s parent makes an appearance, whether through talking to the hiring manager, showing up to an interview, or even hanging around the parking lot, it indicates that the job seeker may not be mature enough to handle the rigors of the job.

In fact, of the companies that reported parental involvement in the Michigan State study, 31% experienced parents submitting resumes and 12% saw parents make interview arrangements for their children. According to a 2016 OfficeTeam survey, this involvement does not impress employers. Roughly 35% said job seekers should handle things on their own, while another 34% would not recommend parental involvement.

Challenger added:

Helicopter parenting, especially when it extends to the workplace, impacts the credibility of the candidate. Professionals need to be accountable for their own work and mistakes. When parents get involved, they make it seem as if the child is not capable of succeeding independently.

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