Skip to comments.'Helicopter parents' still hover even as grads pound pavement
Posted on 07/05/2007 3:20:53 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
'Helicopter parents' still hover even as grads pound pavement
By Eleanor Yang Su
July 5, 2007
Rowena Paz's parents did everything they could to help her land a good job after college.
They edited her résumé, suggesting experience she should play up or cut out. Her mother called regularly to remind Paz, 21, to get enough sleep before interviews. Her father coached her with interview questions and drove her to three job interviews in Los Angeles, because driving in Los Angeles is tension-filled.
It came naturally for Paz's parents, who for years shuttled her to music and karate lessons, and baseball games.
This level of involvement is not uncommon, and might be considered hands-off in an era described by college officials, company recruiters and career experts as the clash of the über-involved, baby-boomer parents with corporate America.
For years, college officials have tried to cope with helicopter parents, so named because of their tendency to swoop onto college campuses to fix their child's roommate problems or dispute a grade with a professor.
As the Millennial Generation generally those born between 1982 and 2002 graduate college and search for jobs, their parents continue to hover.
A 2007 survey by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute found that a quarter of employers say parents are actively engaged in their children's job search.
About 31 percent of 725 companies surveyed said parents had submitted a résumé on behalf of their child, and 15 percent said parents complained if their son or daughter was not hired. Four percent reported parents accompanying their children to job interviews.
It's wreaking havoc on the work force, said Anna Ivey, a career consultant who coaches students and employers on how to help millennials transition from college to work.
If you're the employer, she said, how do you groom someone for a management or leadership role when they're still tied by an umbilical cord to their parent?
- Some see benefits
College career advisers say they've noticed a significant increase in the number of parents showing up at their offices.
Five to 10 years ago, students would have been mortified to have their parents show up, said Craig Schmidt, assistant director of University of California San Diego's Career Services Center. Now, students see it as a collaboration.
Many are split on whether the well-intentioned actions of over-involved parents help or hurt a student's job search.
From a student's perspective, it's excellent, said San Diego State University's James Tarbox, director of career services. They trust the judgment of their parent, and if this person's been a part of the decision-making process from day one, why cut them out? The downside is if the student doesn't develop their own decision-making skills, but I don't see that kind of paralysis people are talking about.
Andrew Ceperley, director of UCSD's career center, said it can be a challenge getting parents to listen to their children during appointments.
Parents ask many questions, often out of love and support, Ceperley said. The goal of the conversation is to get the student to do the talking.
And then there are parents who expect college advisers to find jobs for their children.
Charlie Howard, career services director at Point Loma Nazarene University, said parents call to ask him to help their children find direction.
The bottom line, several officials said, is parental advice can be helpful. But students need to take the initiative to search for their own jobs.
We can't force students to go to job fairs and use our office, Ceperley said he tells parents. There has to be that desire in them to do that.
- Job market fueling trend
Many parents are well-intentioned, and simply interested in getting a return on their college investment. As college tuition has risen, these parents are very concerned that the money they've paid is going to lead to something, said Phil Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University.
What accentuates the trend, university officials said, is this year's robust job market.
About 81 percent of college seniors who applied for jobs this spring had at least one offer by graduation, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Local colleges reported more recruiters visiting campus this year, and many companies say the competition for new hires has intensified.
The strong job market has prompted some employers to give students mere days to decide about a job offer, said Linda Scales, career services director at the University of San Diego.
When the market is pretty good, like it is now, parents do get more involved because students get more offers, Scales said. When they have a couple choices, they're trying to leverage for better salaries, and there's a tremendous amount of anxiety.
Paz, who graduated from UCSD last month, described choosing between offers from Google and Cisco Systems as one of the biggest decisions of her life.
Her father outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each, but didn't reveal his choice until after she decided.
She didn't choose the one I was in favor of, Paul Paz said of his daughter's decision to work for Google. But I told her it's very OK.
Dawn Cowles, who also graduated from UCSD last month, is just starting her job search but has already received suggestions and contacts from her parents. Her mother, a consulting partner at a management training firm, queried co-workers about good workplaces in the area. She's sent Dawn e-mails with practice interview questions and offered to edit her résume.
My parents were like, 'Hey, you're on your own,' said Cathy Huett, Cowles' mom. I'm trying to strike a balance between pushing too much and not pushing enough.
- In a tight spot
All these issues have left employers in a bind. They don't want to alienate students whose parents are very influential. But on the other hand, they don't want to hire students who can't negotiate for themselves, said Mary Scott, president of the Scott Resource Group, which consults with employers about recruiting practices.
Some employers have accepted the parent dynamic, and are trying to use it to their advantage in recruiting students.
At Stockamp & Associates, an Oregon health care consulting firm, recruiters send letters informing parents about their child's employment offer, and encourage them to learn more about the company.
The reality is we know they're involved in their children's lives and we want them to know more about their child's offer, and we want them to feel comfortable with that decision, said Kate Carson, a recruiting manager at the firm.
Merrill Lynch, the financial management corporation, began hosting some summer interns and their parents last year for lunch and a tour of their New York City trading floor.
Our goal is to recruit and retain the best and the brightest talent, spokeswoman Selena Morris said. If parents are increasingly becoming involved, sometimes that involves recruiting the parent a little as well.
Some recruiters say they're trying to gently educate parents about how their involvement could backfire.
Adam Ward, Qualcomm's campus recruiting manager, said about a dozen parents have called him this year on behalf of students seeking jobs and internships.
That's a dozen more than I got a year ago, Ward said. It would be more impressive to me if the student were taking the initiative to call. I'm not interested in hiring the parent. I'm interested in hiring the student.
The question in everyone's mind is what's next? Will parents call employers when their children receive unsatisfactory raises? When they're passed up for a promotion?
Where does it stop? said Scott, the recruiting consultant. Why would you think it would stop now? The whole thing is just mind-boggling.
'Where does it stop?' said Scott, the recruiting consultant. 'Why would you think it would stop now? The whole thing is just mind-boggling."
These "helicopter parents" could very well be turning loose onto society a bunch of whiney sniveling dependent brats.
Let's hope that this bad behavior which has been exhibited by too many baby boomers will not be passed along to their kids.
Well...one can at least hope.
Failure of the parent is what it indicates to me.
Part of parenting success I thought was teaching the bird to fly and LEAVE the nest.
We are raising a lot of woosies with cell phones glued to their heads for feedback on every decision and challenge in life.
We need more people who can think and act alone!
On the other hand, perhaps parents who have sunk over $100K into their child’s education expect the university to have given the student some marketable skill which will give them a decent return on their investment. Many universities should be sued for failing to deliver their end of the bargain.
“Rowena Paz’s parents did everything they could to help her land a good job after college.”
Let me guess. She got a liberal arts degree with no practical knowledge of anything.
Perfectly summed up!
You don't. You groom the independent employee.
How is this any different that the dad who eases his son (or daughter or whatever) into the family business?
I’m part of the Millennial Generation. I expect my parents to stay hands-off unless I come to them for advice on an issue. The idea of “helicopter parents” is horrifying to me, although I did have roommates in college who’s parents certainly fit that description.
This is another in a series of stories that have no basis and no reason being written, let alone being printed.
The present generation is not all Paris Hilton wannabes or Ugly Betty misfits; they’re just another bunch of young kids still figuring out what thet want to do and be.
The "helicopter parents" that I know did it from day one. While I worked as a classroom assistant, I saw some of these parents at school constantly. Parent involvement at school can be a good thing, but there is a point where it can become too much of a good thing (and I say that as a parent who tried to be involved at an appropriate level).
On the day my older son graduated from college he asked me, “Dad can I stay at your place till I get on my feet and find a job”? I had already anticipated his request prior to his asking. I told him, “Sure you can but you are going to have to sleep on the floor because I got rid of your bed last week”. About six months later he thanked me for not letting him stay with me.
You should call my daughter and have a nice chat. I still hover, although she’s in her 30’s.
It’s what I do. Sorry. Wouldn’t call an employer but ...
I can go along with some of it, but going to their kid’s professor to argue about a grade, or tagging along on job interviews is a little nutty.
My son is going to apply for a job tomorrow, whether he likes it or not, and his “step dad” is driving him. We’re “empty refrigerator” parents ;)
Whenever I received a resume from a parent on behalf of his/her child, it immediately went into the circular file.
The public school that my son attends keeps on saying how they like parental involvement.
Well, I’ve complained about quite a few things, but with the complaints has come solutions to the problems and offers to help fix the problems.
One of my complaints was that several of his teachers this past year would not input the students grades onto an online website for parents to see. I offered to come in an input the grades. I could have easily come in for an hour a week and entered grades, but the teachers never called, and the grades were not entered in a timely fashion.
I’ve asked to get a directory for the families in my son’s classes, but the school can’t figure out a way of doing that. I could even send in a form for the parents to fill out for each of my son’s classes and then I could make up the directories, but the teachers don’t want my help.
I think if I am paying for something, then I want information.
I’ve actually had more problems with the teachers screwing up than my son screwing up. Teachers have said my son did not do work, but I keep all of his work during the school year in case there is a problem. I’ve had to send back graded assignments so that they are entered in correctly.
My son is only 12, and he’s starting to take responsibility for some of this. However, whenever I step out of the loop and let him handle something, the teachers screw things up.
Last year, the computer center was closed when my son needed to take an online computer test. He had to take the test after school (as per class policy), and the only day available for him to stay after school was the day before the due date. The school failed to notify parents that the computer center was going to be closed, and the school did not post the closure on their website. The only notification that it was going to be closed was during morning announcements, and my son can’t hear the announcements because of other children talking.
The next day, my son went to his teacher and told her what happened. The teacher gave him a zero for the assignment, and the assignment was worth 10% of his grade. She didn’t help to get him on a computer. She didn’t offer another solution. She let another kid type up a report and send it to her after school, but she didn’t let my son do this.
I just don’t trust public educators and what they say about parents. I think that public educators just don’t like the scrutiny.
I have a special needs daughter, and when she’s in college I am going to be the most hovering parent around.
She’s going to need someone around to help her, just like Helen Keller needed someone around to help her navigate college.
I may even tag along on job interviews if I have to.
My daughter doesn’t speak well, and probably never will.
I’ll help her as much as I can until I can’t anymore.
She’s only 10 now. I think she’ll be able to live on her own and hold a job when she grows up. However, I’ll help her along the way.
My other 2 kids won’t need as much help.
Yeah, Google and Cisco Systems will hire ANYBODY.
Helps to read the whole article...
A good parent teachers their kid from Kindergarten on, that THEY are solely responsible for their education. Parents and teachers can assist, but ultimately it is up to them.
If I were the one doing the hiring, that would be an automatic disqualifier. Employers need adults to do grown-up jobs. If you're hiring for a fast food place (or some other minimum wage position), that's another matter.
The family owns the family business and is entitled to use whatever stupid policies they want in hiring and promoting. Another business, however, would be foolish to hire someone who is so dependent (for any serious job, anyway).
You are awesome! Of course you will do right by your little girl. When the time comes, keep the “Americans with Disabilities” act in mind. Who knows, she may turn out to be a whiz at computer programming, or other jobs that don’t require her to speak well.
My son is 19, and has suffered from the effects of parental alienation, getting hit by a car, and some other things. He’s 60 credits behind for a HS diploma. He does have mechanical aptitude, however. A transmission shop opened up here recently, and we’re hoping they can use a kid to do clean up. He could learn by watching the other mechanics, and move on up the food chain.
We’re down to one vehicle, and live in a remote area, so it isn’t easy to get him to work. This would be perfect, God willing.
My 12 yr old wants to go to culinary school. She refuses the notion of becoming fluent in Spanish, or taking computer classes for a fallback position. She’ll come around when she’s older :)
My own dad helped motivate me when I was still in college. I stayed out late one night and he chewed me out for it being too late. I told him that I had no school and no work that morning, and he responded with "As long as you live under my roof, you live by my rules.".
Two weeks later, I was sharing a house with two friends, and paying for my own college. It wasn't fun to be poor, but it was good to be independent, and I had chosen that route for myself. :-)
That would be one of my first questions, but it said her job choices were between Google and Cisco Systems, so I would assume that she went for Computer Science or at least some type of IT.
That's not true at all. Many children of wealthy, successful people have been coddled to the point when they are worth nothing at all. Children of bums often find the motivation to make a very different life for themselves.
"BE A COLLEGE PROFESSOR LIKE ME..!"
Hey, that's really STUPID advice...! I'd also wager that most profs would sooner try 2 get in your kid's pants than help them with their lives...
[How is this any different that the dad who eases his son (or daughter or whatever) into the family business?]
I worked for Motorola in the eighties. I was there when Galvin Jr. (the third generation after Paul Galvin and Bob Galvin) was ‘put to work’. He was being groomed for the ultimate job of “head honcho”.
I listened to him wax eloquent and my impression was that grandpa started the business, daddy make it very profitable and Jr. would drive it into the ground!
I have to say If i found out a parent was interfering in the interview process or God forbid called me directly ... the likelihood they would get the job would be very very low. Doesnt look good at all for the individual as far as Im concerned.
I think you are correct for most kids, but not for a special needs kid.
Kids just don’t know what is right for them, and it is up to us parents to make sure they are educated.
Kids don’t know what their weaknesses are. Heck, we had to take my daughter to a neuropsychologist to find out what was going on with her. Everyone agreed she had speech issues, but we knew something else was up with her.
Now, that we have the information it’s up to my husband and I to see that my daughter is educated the correct way.
My daughter cannot remember things she hears (less than 1% on auditory memory). We have to stay on top of her teachers to make sure they help her learn.
We’ll have to do the same thing when she is in college.
The big thing is just knowing if she is understanding or not. If she isn’t, then she may need extra help.
I would agree with that.
Maybe it’s time to find something else to do? ;-)
I think hovering parents can cause resentment in their relationship with their grown children. When kids reach 18, they are adults, and parents should treat them as such. Sure they might need some coaching and emotional support for a while, but the relationship should transition to more of a friendship, with both parties on equal ground. If the relationship never makes that transition, it becomes unhealthy and unhelpful. Just watch “Everybody Loves Raymond” to see what unhealthy dynamics can develop!
I wonder if this generation of parents are hovering because they have made their children the center of the universe in their lives? Of course children are a priority. But I am wondering if making the children all-important, at the expense of the parents’ relationship and the parents’ own lives and interests, makes it hard for these parents to “let go”? Once the kids are gone, perhaps these parents don’t know what to do with themselves. Maybe they don’t know who they are apart from being a father or mother?
I think as long as the parents are footing the bill, then the parents have a right to do as they please.
Some kids are ready at 18 to be adults, and some kids aren’t.
Now, if the kids are footing the bill, then the parents don’t have a right to do anything.
At 18, my parents were paying for my college, and if I wanted them to continue that then I had to do what they said. At 23, I got my first real job, and then I was on my own. I’ve done what I’ve wanted since.
At 18, my husband was putting himself through college by working part-time and going to college part-time. He did what he wanted at 18.
As long as my husband and I are paying for college or room and board, then I expect my kids to follow our rules.