Parenting Etiquette: Don’t Be a Helicopter Parent

Have you had any professional interaction with a “ Helicopter Parent “, a parents of the Millennial Generation, the group of 20 somethings who are finishing up college and beginning their lives in the adult work force? These are parents who are so involved in their children’s lives that they are said to hover like helicopters. The same kind of parenting that was once confined to the playground is now taking place in the work environment and in their adult kids’ life. The question, “When is it time to cut the apron strings?” has to be asked eventually.

Stay out of:

The interview. Recruiters and prospective employers want to see the actual candidate making the effort to show up to the career fair or email a resume. While your assistance with the job search is most appreciated, the job seeker must be the one to actually “seek” and apply.

The office. Many companies and businesses are noticing an increase in parents interfering in the work place. From trying to negotiate better promotions and salaries for their offspring to calling in excuses when they are late, parents do it all. I’ve had parents call me and ask me to have a one-on-one etiquette session with their adult son or daughter—usually without them knowing! Your kids will never learn to be self-sufficient if they have you as their liaison to the corporate world. They will also lose respect among their colleagues and the last thing a boss wants to hear is an employee’s parent—whom they’ve never met—calling in with a complaint

The classroom. The millennial generation is ending their college years and embracing the new world of adult responsibility. College is still a time where your student needs guidance, but teacher-parent meetings were only meant for elementary school. When you call the professor and ask “why the poor test grade” and “is there extra credit,” you prevent your adult child from learning valuable problem solving skills and gaining self-confidence.

A date. It’s important to teach your young child how to treat others and give them examples of how to treat the opposite sex; however, let your  grown son or daughter figure out how and who to date on their own. It’s comforting when they seek your advice but give them the freedom to choose whom they spend their time with—mistakes are important learning tools.

Be confident that you have raised your child to be a solid individual ready to tackle whatever life throws their way. Step back and watch with pride, and be ready with a tray of cookies for them (just like elementary school) when they come back to visit.


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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