Blame My Helicopter Parents
By John Grubbs
For too many Generation Yers, parents have micromanaged every part of their lives. Having Mom or Dad hover over them, then rush in and “save the day” every time a child encounter stress is probably normal in today’s culture. While in reality, “helicopter parenting,” can range from scheduling a play date for a four year old to writing college admissions essays in the hopes the child gets into the best college. According to wiki.answers.com, a helicopter parent is a term for a person who pays extremely close attention to his or her child or children, particularly at educational institutions. They rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling them or letting them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children's wishes. They are so named because, like a helicopter, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach whether their children need them or not.
Even worse, some helicopter parents continue to hover over their children into adulthood. According to an Adecco survey cited by the Wall Street Journal, eight (8) percent of recent college graduates chose to bring their parents to a job interview. Even more amazing is the fact that a full three (3) percent actually had their parents attend an actual job tryout.
Current “over-parental” involvement is not a very positive trend. Research reveals that too much parental involvement in children’s lives can actually result in lower grades and decreased motivation for their kids. The Wall Street Journal says employers are catering to the odd tendency by hosting “Take Your Parents to Work” days and even inviting them to corporate open houses. We must examine what has changed to make this generation so different by looking at it from their perspective. Following is view from a typical young worker today.
Do not be so quick to judge me harshly. I have been slow cooked my entire life to be the person I am today. Who I am today starts with an average family that has 1.86 children. In other words, I have received a good amount of parental time growing up. In fact, my generation may be the first to be influenced significantly by the term “Helicopter Parents”.
Previous generations had so many children that parents could not provide as much time for each child. Think about what my life has been like. I really have not been allowed to fail my entire life. I could not go outside alone when I was little so Mom or Dad was always with me. I was acquainted with a purple dinosaur named Barny that loved me and a group of teenagers named the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that had super powers. As a toddler, I started pre-school before I was three years old in order to get a jump-start on my education. And yes, my parents helped each and every night with my homework. I started playing organized sports when I was four years old and we always received a trophy no matter how hard we played. I have been a winner my entire life.
I hate to admit this but my teachers were always afraid of me in school. I figured out very early that if I twisted the story when I got into trouble, my parents would immediately arrive at school and the teacher and principal would get into trouble too. As a result they mostly left me alone.
Ever since I can remember, I have been so busy with activities that I never figured out how to plan my own time. It’s funny, when I do get free time I complain of being bored. I have always had something to do and somewhere to be after school. Almost every minute of my day has been planned for me so I do not really have to think about things like this for myself.
My parents have always woke me up and fed me each morning. They have provided me with transportation and even a car when I became old enough to drive. When I moved out, they continued to call and make sure I was awake on time to get ready for school or work. What a deal! If I ever do run late for work, I can blame my parents for not making sure I was awake before they hung up the telephone. You know, if they lived close enough to me, I bet I could get my parents to come over in the mornings, wake me up, feed me, and take me to work. And if my boss yells at me or mistreats me in any way, my parents will go talk to him and make him stop. If my college professor gives me a bad grade because I did not turn in an assignment in time, they will call and plead my case. After all, they always have before, right?
Today’s workforce is different from any other and if we try to manage them like generations of the past, we will struggle for success. Supervisors must be more sensitive to each individual and understand that work is not the epicenter of their lives. It will take a skilled management team to improve on this generation’s average tenure on the job of sixteen to eighteen months.