‘Helicopter parents’ keep a leash on their kids

By Claudia Buck, Sacramento Bee

At a Sacramento job fair last fall, the polished, well-dressed woman went from booth to booth, recruiter to recruiter, passing out résumés, asking about job openings. Not for herself, however. For her son.

“‘He just graduated. He has a degree. He’s sharp. He doesn’t know what he wants to do, but I think he’d be good at HR (human resources),’ ” recalls Preet Kuar, a Manpower company recruiter who spoke with the mom.

For baby boomer parents, who have diligently – some would say obsessively – followed their children from diapers to diplomas, that encounter was perhaps the next logical phase of so-called “helicopter parenting.”

Clearly, parental hovering doesn’t end at college graduation but continues well into the job hunt. According to a recent survey of more than 3,000 employers by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, or CERI, based at Michigan State University, about a third – 31 percent – of companies report that parents are more involved in their son’s or daughter’s career search than prior to the recession.

Mom and dad are chatting up their kids’ credentials with company officials, pestering college career staff, handing out their kids’ résumés at career fairs, even showing up at job interviews.

“It’s happening quite a bit, actually,” said Kuar, executive recruiter with Manpower’s Gold River office. “We see a lot more parent involvement,” everything from setting up job counseling appointments to forwarding their kid’s résumé.

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Comments (8)
  1. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: April 8, 2012

    If they had hovered a little more when the “kid” was picking a major they might have been able to cut the cord.

  2. Tim says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    If you are interested in fighting this trend of obsessive overparenting, a place to start is reading “Free Range Kids” by Lenore Skenazy. We are overprotecting our kids so much that they don’t have a chance to learn how to become responsible adults.

  3. dogwoman says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    Advocate, I don’t think helicopter parents actually DO want to cut the cord. Seems bizarre to me, but it does seem to be a current trend. I know folks who fall into both categories, and the non-hoverers are much happier than the copters. I also enjoy their grown children a lot more too.

  4. biggerpicture says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    Like everything too much of something tends to be a bad thing. Same goes with parenting and for some parents the difference between being an INVOLVED parent and a helicopter parent can be worlds apart.

  5. Lisa says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    Dogwoman and biggerpicture are correct. The parents don’t want to cut the cord,generally they haven’t taught their kids to make their own choices nor given them the tools to do so. They still see their kids as 6 years olds and don’t trust them to make decisions.I am a recruiter for high tech and if a parent showed up with a kid (or even tried to talk to me about the interview more than once), I would not hire that person. Newsflash for helicopter parents…you are going to die someday and if you don’t teach your kids to be adults, they will be lost, unable to run their own lives and you will have failed as a parent. Your job from the day they were born was to teach them how to stand on their own two feet. It is that simple.

  6. dogwoman says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    Bravo, Lisa!

  7. Josie says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    Lisa is totally correct. Unbelievable; is the parent going to show up and work the job for them too? I would have zero faith in any prospective employee that couldn’t even speak for themselves to get the job.
    Sent my kids through Rapport Leadership International to augment what I was attempting to do to raise responsible, qualified citizens.Great program!
    And when it is my time to go, I am confident my children will not only be able to support themselves, but will support each other as a family, and raise their own children to stand on their own feet.
    Smothering is not healthy love.So sad!

  8. SmedleyButler says - Posted: April 9, 2012

    I think My children never got smothered because who the heck had the time to helicopter? If you have 2 or more children and work an hourly job you’re lucky to be able to house, feed, clothe and educate them. Luckily for them they didn’t get any cult training.