Children of Helicopter Parents: How Does it Affect Their Future?

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Let me preface this post by admitting that I do not have kids of my own. This gives me an interesting vantage point when it comes to how parents choose to raise their children, compared to when I was a kid (which wasn’t really that long ago – yet it seems as if a lot has changed).

About a year ago, I talked to a recruiter from a “Big 4″ accounting firm who said that they routinely send gift baskets to a candidate’s parents during the recruiting process. According to the recruiter, this is done because parents are so involved in their child’s selection between competing job offers. Additionally, she said that it was common for parents to call to ask questions regarding the nature of the job or to negotiate starting salaries. Looking back at that encounter, I can only imagine the look on my face. What kind of impression does that give a manager of a new graduate’s independence, maturity or critical thinking ability if they have to ask, “Can you talk to my mommy (or daddy) about this?”

In another light, a pediatrician I spoke to recently said he is constantly inundated with hypochondriac parents who bring their kids to the doctor for the slightest thing. Kids who are actually sick or hurt have to wait while he reassures the parents that yes, the bruise on Little Johnny’s arm will eventually fade.

Children today are too overprotected and coddled. Yes, it’s a dangerous world out there, but how are kids supposed to learn to navigate their way through the job market (or life in general) if parents make all their decisions for them? It seems that this is a uniquely American phenomenon: in Switzerland, kindergartners are trusted to play with saws and walk to school alone, something that would probably trigger a call to Child Protective Services in many U.S. suburbs. Even in youth sports, it’s now emphasized that “everyone is a winner” – which, sadly, isn’t the truth in the business world.

What many parents don’t consider is that their kids have to leave the nest sooner or later. Often, the children of over-involved parents don’t know how to cope when suddenly thrust into a cold, hard reality.  According to a recent study, “Approximately 13% of adult children between 18 and 29 move back in with their parents after an attempt to live alone.”

I understand wanting your child to have the best in life. Yet, take a step back for a minute. Helicopter parenting doesn’t give your children the tools they need to succeed. By making life choices for them, being over-involved and coddling them, you give them a sense of entitlement and an inability to come to their own conclusions.

For the parents who think I’m crazy: think back to how you things were when you were growing up. You played outside until late at night, knew the score when you lost Little League games, maybe even moved out and got a full time job when you turned 18. If you cut your knee, your parents probably put a band-aid on it, rather than rushing you to the doctor for a tetanus shot. And you turned out just fine. . . right?

 

Jenni Chelenyak About Jenni Chelenyak

Jenni currently works with Adecco’s global Information Management team as a Business SME on the Candidate Management Programme - Social Media. She’s been with Adecco’s Professional Staffing division since 2010 and held roles in on-boarding and compliance, client account management and technical recruiting. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, yoga and working with an animal rescue group.

Comments

  1. Parents don’t think you’re crazy but until you appreciate the pressures on parents today i.e the belief that parents are in someway responsible for every thing their children do and everything that happens to them good or bad for the entirety of their lives, you can not really understand why parents behave the way they do. So in that sense you do not have a unique vantage point, you have the vantage point of every other person who editorializes about helicopter parents without really appreciating why things have changed.

    • The pressures on parents today are no different than the ones 40 years ago. They are of your own making and choice because not all parents are like this. If you choose to fall into the sheep-like manipulation and agenda that Jenni and so many other people are trying to point out, then your children too will fall into this handicapped group. Yes, the world has gotten far more dangerous and competitive, but the reasons for that have nothing to do with not instilling confidence and independence in your kids by a generation of parents that have the same sort of entitlement and fearful attitudes about life.

      • Jenni Chelenyak Jenni Chelenyak says:

        I do appreciate how difficult it is to be a parent. What I am saying, is that things have changed quite a bit and when you do everything for your child and let them do nothing for themself, they may have a tough time when they are left without you. I am not saying that you should not help your kids and be part of their success – but ultimately, them being successful is the result of their hard work and you can only do so much.

  2. Laura Cloutiet says:

    I don’t think one should write an article about “patenting” w/o being a parent and not knowing the full commitment it takes to being a parent. I do understand what helicopter parenting is as I’ve seem it first hand with being in the education field. Parents do overboard sometimes as our parents did too but for someone to write an article that really has no knowledge in or even remotely understands I would advise them to stick what they know. The hardest job in the world is to be a parent until Jenni knows that first hand she really doesn’t know what she is talking about.

    • Jenni Chelenyak Jenni Chelenyak says:

      Laura, thank you for your opinion. Although I do not have children of my own; I do have the ability to see how children who are parented this way fare in the workforce. The viewpoint I was stating was as an employer; not a parent, and in that realm, I am knowledgeable. Also, keep in mind that while I have not been a parent, I have been a child in this generation, and seen how this type of parenting effects my peers. Long story short, I’m not telling people how to raise their kids; just pointing out the consequences of too much coddling.

  3. Thanks for your reply Jenni. As I do agree some parents do too much for their kids; my viewpoint is coming from being a parent. Until you have children I dont think one w/o kids will understand the decisions parents make on behalf of their children. I have seen helicopter parenting firsthand wirh being in the education field and yes there is mothingore frustrating when parents are constantly making all decsions for their children. However that being said you may feel differently when or if you have children of your own.

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