The recent college admissions bribery scandal calls into light a disturbing trend: parents who do things for their adult children that they can do for themselves. A New York Times and Morning Consult poll revealed:
• 76 percent reminded their adult children of deadlines they need to meet
• 74 percent made appointments for them, including doctor’s appointments
• 16 percent helped write all or part of a job or internship application
• 15 percent texted or called their college student to wake them up so they wouldn’t sleep through a class or test
• 14 percent told them which career to pursue
• 12 percent gave them more than $500 per month for rent or daily expenses.
The saddest statistic of them all? Eleven percent of parents with adult children say they will call their child’s employer if he or she had an issue at work. Seriously?!?
While I understand times have changed since I attended college, my parents did none of these things for me. Yes, I had a college internship at IBM where my father worked, but I landed that job by beating out more than 5,000 other applicants whose parents also worked at IBM. My father did nothing to position me.
The result of my parents not doing any of these things for me? An imperfect but functioning member of society, who takes accountability for her actions, is responsible, is proactive, makes her own decisions, is financially secure, and learns from her mistakes.
When you don’t let your children grow up and are always there to handle things for them, it makes them ill-equipped to manage their lives. In addition, you are lulling them into a false sense of security. There are going to be times – many times – in their life where they will not have the option of you acting as their savior or security blanket. If they are coddled as a young adult, they will never learn the skills they need to successfully maneuver their way through life.
WHAT CAN I DO? Understand that your job as a parent – and as a supervisor – is to give your people the tools they need to succeed and then let them fly out of the nest on their own. People don’t excel when they are coddled or micro-managed. People excel when they are given a runway, and know that you believe in them and their ability to succeed. Read more of Jill’s blogs here.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.