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Overprotective Parents in the Workplace

The issue of overprotective parents has been noted in schools and organized activities and what many people may not know is that it is spilling over to university, college and even the workplace.

At first I was amazed to hear that parents of children in their late teens and early 20’s were setting up meetings with their kids’ university professors – sometimes before their child arrived on campus, other times if the student was struggling with a course or workload. Now of course parents love their children and want them to be successful – unfortunately this behaviour is stripping away independence and accountability.

A colleague then related a story from when she was in HR for a large entertainment company. One of her employees was late coming the work and was scheduled for a corrective disciplinary meeting in her office. She was surprised that the young employee (17 or 18) was accompanied by his parents who wanted to make sure his rights were observed.

Other HR professionals have told stories about parents who have shown up to job interviews and sat in on the interview with their child.

These same kids often struggle with the real demands of the workplace. A restaurant manager shared with me that an 18 year old dishwasher had to be let go because he didn’t come to work on time. The employee then called in saying he wasn’t told that being to work on time was a requirement.

What is interesting is that teachers have been neutered in not being able to enforce deadlines on many school assignments. One teacher confessed that they have been directed to accept assignments at any time up until the last day of school and give full marks – without penalty. This drives conscientious parents crazy because they push their children to get assignments done on time, only to find out that the class gets a few more days to complete the project.

Advice to Parents:

To get your kids ready for the harsh world, it is important that they learn accountability skills early. Ask yourself if advocating on their behalf is better for them than suffering the consequences of their action. Most of us have learned over the years because we screwed up and suffered from our actions. It’s a great teacher. Instead of interfering – support, encourage and coach the kid ahead of time and then let them go to the interview, the professor and the boss on their own – it will be a great lesson in life.

Check out the upcoming Speaking for Success program – now it is a one day course on April 29th and Advanced Communication – Persuasion Dynamics on May 7th – visit www.LeadershipWizard.com for all the info.

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