I was at a conference where a speaker mentioned, only in passing, the concept of helicopter parenting.
Have you ever been guilty of this phenomenon? If you’re a parent, I’m guessing it’s highly likely you have.
Wanting to protect and sometimes go into battle for your children … who amongst us hasn’t been tempted on the odd occasion to have a word with our child’s boss or work colleague to right some wrong, to set the record straight, to express perhaps in a more articulated, mature frame something that we knew our child meant to say but just hadn’t been able to?
But of course, helicopter parenting can get in the way – especially at that moment when a parent intervenes in their child’s workplace and it becomes a little embarrassing for all – all except, perhaps, the parent who is either oblivious to the impact of what they’re doing on their child’s reputation or credibility, or perhaps worse still, sees it as their role to go into bat whenever their child presents a crisis.
It seems that the word “child” is relevant here. Our children remain our children for all our lives. My own mum was still telling me well into my adulthood to “wrap up warm” on a cold day. Sweet. And now my own children are adults, I get it entirely. The look on my face when those same words come out of my mouth says it all.
But surely for our children, there comes a time when in the workplace they have to go it alone? Or at the very least, seek our advocacy in private moments and banish us to the fence where we can sit and observe, and tut tut and ah, never mind, with impunity – but resist, ever, championing their cause in a way that would break the good parenting rules.
Interesting that this particular conference wasn’t about children or parents.
It was about coaching.