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Helicopter Parents Destroy Kids’ Job Prospects

Young boy dressed in business suit talks on a cell phone while leaving a house carrying a brief case.
Photograph by Mark Tantrum Photography

It all starts with hovering over them in the sandbox, making sure they don’t eat a mud cake. By the time they’re 10, you’re doing their math homework. Helicopter parents do this kind of stuff because they care about their kids. And now, a bold few are taking things one step further: They’re getting overly involved in their offspring’s job hunt.

Don’t believe us? Consider a story that LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams shared with CNN, where she had sworn she’d found the perfect job candidate… that is, until that candidate’s mom called her on behalf of her little baby.

“She wanted to know everything from where [the job candidate] would be sitting to a review of her responsibilities,” said Williams. “I withdrew the offer.”

Another time, Williams got a call from a parent who wasn’t happy with her son’s performance review. Could they meet in her office and discuss? In a way, it’s the logical extension for moms and dads who once haggled with high school teachers in an effort to turn their child’s B's into A's, or managed their extracurricular activities. We know these parents mean well, but what they’re actually doing is undermining their child’s ability to get—and keep—a job.

And some kids are pushing back: In 2012, a University of Cincinnati senior Aubrey Ireland won a lawsuit against her parents for civil talking—unannounced visits, cyber-monitoring, and other helicopter-style hovering tactics. “It’s just been really embarrassing and upsetting to have my parents come to my university when I’m a grown adult and just basically slander my name and follow me around,” Ireland said in a court hearing.

The upshot? We know you love your kids, guys. But at some point it’s time to let go.

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