Here’s your parenting task: Imagine that your child is now a grown-up (which is defined by most psychologists as at least twenty-one years old). I realize that for some of you this is easy–your offspring is already a full-grown critter, while others are still trying to get through the diapering and burping stage. But your child’s current age really isn’t the issue. I want you to focus instead on your parenting style and how you think you would respond, so just bear with me.
Now pretend that your grown kid is searching for his first full time job. School is over, the next phase of life has begun. Be honest. Which of the following behaviors would you be most like to do? (You can choose as many as you’d like).
a. Write your kid’s resume to help him secure a job.
b. Accompany him or her to a job fair or interview
c. Call a prospective employer on your kid’s behalf
d. Admonish your kid not to accept an offer without consulting you
e. Negotiate your kid’s salary or benefit package
f. Call the business on your kid’s behalf if he did not get a job
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you fit a growing category of boomer parents called “Helicoper Parent.” And those are the exact behaviors those parents are displaying.
The term “Helicopter Parent” used to apply to moms and dads of school-age offspring who did their kid’s homework and science fair projects; at high school these parents filled out their kid’s college applications and lambasted administrators about their kid’s “unfair grades”; at college who called university presidents to complain about their kids’ roommates (and “unfair grades”). Well, the Y Generation offspring are now college graduates and entering the work force. And it seems their parents are still hovering, but this time around their kids’ possible employers.
But is it right to continue micromanaging your grown child’s life?
When should a parent back off and let the child grow up? And how healthy is such overinvolved parenting to our kids? What do the kids say? And why do parents keep hovering?
What do you think? Do you think this is healthy and productive to our kids? Where does your parenting views fit in the mix?
I’ll be discussing this new parenting trend (which appears to be widespread throughout North America), on the Today Show this coming Tuesday, May 21 in the 8:00 am hour. And I’ll also let you know exactly how I feel about Helicopter Parents.