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Show The Nice Man Your Resume, Tyler

Show The Nice Man Your Resume, Tyler

A recent front page article in The Wall Street Journal chronicles a problem that seems to be a sign of the times: parents accompanying their kids on job interviews.

And calling their kids’ bosses to demand better treatment.

And showing up at their kids’ jobs to fight their battles.

These stories can seem apocryphal, but The Journal’s Te-Ping Chen dug up some jaw-dropping examples. One Seattle restaurateur recalled a co-worker whose mom asked the manager to let her son have Sundays off to watch football.

That idea got sacked.

A Dollar Tree shopper told The Journal she was going into the store one day when an angry woman barged past her. It was the cashier’s mom. A customer had given her daughter a hard time and the mom had come to give ’em hell.

But parents aren’t just intervening once their kids get their jobs. Some are lurking not so subtly on the sidelines when their kids have online job interviews. “You’ll sometime even hear them whispering,” one recruiter told the paper. And some are actually accompanying their kids to those interviews in real life:

“At Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vt., parents haven’t only applied for summer jobs on behalf of their children, they frequently try and sit in on their interviews, too, says human-resources coordinator Sam McDowell. ‘They generally come in the door first, and their children come behind,’ McDowell says. ‘Sometimes it’s a little bit confusing about who’s actually there to interview.'” — TheWall Street Journal

Reporter Chen chalks up a lot of this behavior to the COVID-19 cocooning of parents and kids. But these problems were mounting long before the pandemic. In fact, here’s a Wall Street Journal piece by Sue Shellenbarger from 2006:

“Helicopter parents are going to work. From Vanguard Group and St. Paul Travelers to General Electric and Boeing, managers are getting phone calls from parents asking them to hire their 20-something kids.” — Sue Shellenbarger

The problem starts long before that first job interview. It starts in a childhood, with adults organizing a child’s whole day: showing, teaching, saving, soothing the child all day long. Instead of learning to deal with risk, fear, snags and jerks, an adult has always been there to sort of pre-chew the experience.

Result? Kids lose out on learning how to deal with the confusion and drama of everyday life.

If young people are arriving at college or work unaccustomed to frustration and misunderstandings, that’s a serious lack of experience. And if they don’t develop the resources to work through obstacles, molehills come to look like mountains.

And job interviews look like Kilimanjaro.

I don’t blame “helicopter parents” for overprotecting kids. I blame a culture so obsessively risk-averse it is forcing parents to helicopter.

But kids need the chance to be on their own sometimes, playing, roaming, taking risks, getting scrapes, making things happen and taking responsibility. After all: How can you learn to solve problems if there’s always someone there, solving them for you?

How can you grow brave when someone’s always watching over you?

How can you become an adult when someone who gave you birth is calling your boss?

It’s great that our culture wants to protect kids from danger! But it has gone too far. Always helping kids is hurting them.

Deep down, today’s parents know that.

And so do bosses.


Image credit: Pexels


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  • Avatar
    June 27, 2023, 4:04 am

    "raise" kids this way and when REAL conflict shows up (as it surely will: "in this life you WILL hve rouble" God. )
    Lemme guess….. the vast majority or these meddlesmoe "parents" are female, right? And I will climb further out on the roverbial limb and bet they don't have husbands t elp them raise their kids, right? So they rause them like veal calves, never allow any stress to come upon them. But just like a puppy raised alone they CANNOT develop any life skills and thus would become victims except for Mommie……

    I know at least a hndred kids whose parents wisely challenge them, allow them to try and fail, then encourage them to get up and ry again. Until they succeed at that thing. Then challenge them wieh twenty more things. I know four year olds who relate easily with any adult, can relate to them, have meaningful interaction with us. Oh and they are keen to look after their younger sibligs… cause they all have them or will soon. The happiest family I know are nine kids aged 19 down to 2. They look out for each other, hep and work together, include new kids easily, relate well to adults, take on challenges…. hates ta say it, Helo Mom, but these kids are the ones going to be hiring YOUR kids. But don''t bother to come round to "protect" your "pweshiss widdow DAHR lin cuz YOU will get the boot. None of these kids work for somene else. They have all built their own businesses from scratch..pest control, commecial construction, music studios, bakeries, coffee companies (including developing their own cimmercial products to sell… they are likely to be the ones hiring YOUR kids for assembly of the machines) commercial/residential electrical contractor, real estate, wedding products, auto repair, firearms training for military and lw enforcement, commercial videography, brand promotion, comuter repair and business installation managment, aircraft mechanic,

  • Avatar
    June 27, 2023, 5:45 am

    The author does not blame helicopter parents?? This trashes the article; just more endless excuses for weak behavior. You will blame society? You aid & abet; it is this attitude that feeds the fire.

  • Avatar
    Robert Tusch
    June 28, 2023, 9:30 am

    Wow, I had not known this problem has advanced this far. Parents need to put more effort into the development of their children when they really need it (at a young age) and then cut loose and let them fly. Today parents have the process reversed. Disregard their development at young age and then hover over them at later age.


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