HELICOPTER PARENTING: GUARANTEEING A FUTURE FOR JUNIOR? – The trend of “helicopter parenting” has just taken another step deeper into the lives of their children. According to the Wall Street Journal, the millennial generation, those born between 1981 and the early 2000′s, are now bringing along Mom and Dad to job interviews!
Yes, you read that right and just to clarify further, I am not talking about the “first job” interview but those interviews following a college education. Shocking to say the least, since one would think that by the time Junior graduated college he could stand on his own two feet long enough to get through the application and interview stages to land a job.
Over the years there has been a marked change in parenting.
Parenting in the 50′s and before basically revolved around the idea that “Children were seen and not heard.” The 60′s brought in a slightly more lenient approach towards children as they reached the teen years, especially when it came to experimenting with sex and drugs. When the 70′s and 80′s rolled around it became evident that to be a successful parent, you also had to “be their best friend;” and it has only gotten progressively worse. Children today not only ignore family rules but have the bonus of their parents backing them up against society’s rules.
We have seen many examples of this in the school system, club activities and in the court system. Parents have been bending over backwards to make Junior’s life as easy as possible without him lifting so much as a feather or turning his head away from his video game.
You may already be nodding your head in agreement with me and thinking of other examples of over-parenting, but if you are not would you be willing to consider the damage that this type of parenting has on this and future generations?
Before the majority of women began working outside of the home, there was what was known as a stay-at-home mom.
This meant that not only was Mom there to manage the household but also to discipline, train and watch over her children. With a husband who worked outside of the home to provide stability to the family, Mom was the anchor of the home and in charge of many day to day activities.
In recent years, record numbers of moms work outside the home in order to keep the home running smoothly. With or without husbands doesn’t matter, because working outside the home changes how we view ourselves and opens our eyes to how hard it is to get ahead in any workplace. With women gaining better jobs and acquiring higher positions, their understanding of the working world has changed and their parenting style reflects this change.
Even in a two parent home, it falls upon Mom to be sure that everyone’s needs are met, schedules run smoothly and problems are solved. Statistics prove that 92% of the time it is still Mom who attends school meetings, extra curricular functions, drives the carpools and takes care of all medical visits, shopping, plus the hundred other needs of her children.
Is it any wonder that Mom has a hard time letting go?
Generation X (born 1960′s-80′s ) were the first to really embrace a college education and the future it could provide. They have done well in their professions and it shows in their homes and lifestyles. The years they spent in college saw the largest boom in professional occupations as the world experienced the swing from a predominately blue collar society to a greater population of white collar workers.
Generation Y also known as the Millennial Generation ( born 1980′s-2000 ) also realize the need and demand for a college education in today’s society. They grew up seeing what they have viewed as their parents financial struggles, and many are making sacrifices now while their children are young so they can provide for them in their teens when material needs are the greatest, and preparing for those college years yet to come.
“Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.” Robert Heinlein
For both generations, children have become the newest status symbol. Sure, they want their children to be successful, to have an easier life, and to see their dreams come true; but they also want to be able to brag about their accomplishments to prove that they are successful as parents.
The “best friend” parenting style of the 80′s gave birth to the “helicopter parent” so prevalent today, and the hovering begins as early as the preschool years. Parents look over homework, help to complete it and sometimes just do it themselves because “it is too much” for Junior, or “he is too busy or tired to do it himself.”
When it comes time for college, they spare no expense and often take out a second mortgage on the family home just so Junior can attend a major university and avoid Community College. Junior lives on campus or at home with Mom and Dad still supplying financially to meet his every need and whim.
Now that college is done, Junior must find gainful employment in an appropriate amount of time, and if Mom and Dad lack the social network to “hook” him up with a job, then by golly they will scrounge the internet, filling out applications for approved companies and positions. Taking tours and sitting in on the interview process, these parents are a strong influence over any decision Junior makes about his employment.
To be a part of this monumental occasion is their given right, isn’t it? After all, they have invested their whole life into Junior and his future.
One interviewer discreetly revealed that if a prospective employee shows up with a parent the interview is still conducted but no matter how qualified the candidate, they are immediately removed from the running. On the flip side, there are some businesses who feel very strongly that by having the family involved, the prospective employee once hired will be a harder worker, knowing that Mom and Dad are supporting them and counting on them to make them proud.
While we have been working the parents over in this situation, perhaps it is time to look at the children and understand their perspective. The Millennial Generation is said to have the closest relationship with their parents than any generation before them. It is attributed to parenting styles that include open communication, effective discipline and the amount of personal sacrifice today’s parents are willing to make for the happiness and future of their children.
Young people say they enjoy their parents attending the interview process with them because of their perspective and the fact that their very presence seems to place the interviewer in the hot seat. By changing the dynamics of what normally is a one-on-one interview to a group situation, these young adults are more relaxed and believe they actually interview better.
Given today’s economy and a young adult population with strong parental ties, companies are being forced to learn how best to accommodate each employee’s situation. Some have instituted a “Bring Mom and Dad to Work” day, while others allow parents to attend corporate functions, like company picnics and dinners.
Where will it stop?
In some families it doesn’t. There are cases of parents going along on their newly married children’s honeymoons, and of course we are all too familiar with stories of the over involved mother-in-law or grandparents.
Years ago, “helicopter parenting” was called meddling and it just boggles the mind to believe that it is now becoming an accepted practice. I am all for positive parenting and close relationships within a family, but the point of raising children is to give them the resources and opportunities to grow and eventually be able to provide for themselves and perhaps a family of their own; so that they can be happy as adults and contribute to society in a positive way.
In other words; feed, nurture and release; for this is the cycle of life.