Article written by Christopher Harris
Published in The Daily Telegraph, 31 March 2021
Helicopter parents still hovering over their kids in their 20s and 30s have been told to stop interfering in their offspring’s workplace.
Helicopter parents are still hovering over their children well into their 20s and 30s and have been warned to stop trying to interfere in their son or daughter’s workplace.
Sydney careers experts Dr John Taccori said helicopter or so-called lawnmower parents increasingly wanted to sort out workplace dramas for their children in a bid to remove any difficulty or obstacle from their life.
“I have heard of parents intervening, and it would have some detrimental effects to the ongoing employment of that person,” he said.
“It could be related to workloads … it could be different workplace relationships which are not working, their child might come home and complain about their manager.”
“There has been an increase in the last two years of parents of their adult children who are coming to me and saying, ‘my son or daughter is having some issues and they are not happy at work’.”
Australian Institute of Management Gary Martin said the practice was depriving young people of developing their own skills to navigate the world.
“We’re now seeing parents getting involved in negotiating salary packages, we’re seeing them in the waiting rooms when interviews take place, we’re seeing them intervene when there is a spat between two work colleagues,” he said.
He said he was aware of parents who had called up their child’s boss following a negative performance review under the guise of providing advice and quoting legislation in a bid to change a situation.
“They’re providing advice and there are also some threats which would go in with that,” he said.
“Most employers recognise it is not the child who is instigating it, they take pity on them because they know they can’t control their parents.”
Organisational psychologist Dr Amanda Ferguson warned helicopter parents against intervening in their child’s workplace.
“I am not surprised to hear this, it is a blurring of boundaries and it is really disempowering for those adult children to have parents involved,” she said.
“If they are normal they would be embarrassed. And if they’re not, then they’re breeding a dependent personality disorder or even worse a narcissist.”
Child psychologist Michael Carr Gregg also said there are massive psychological risks associated with helicopter parents, including depression for their children.
“Because they are generally very anxious people, they don’t enjoy life very much, they’re not a hell of a lot of fun to be around,” he said.
“These people really have mummy and daddy issues because they can’t make any decisions because they have always been rescued and they have never stood on their own two feet.”