Got Helicopter Parents? Here Are 4 Tips for Dealing With Them

helicopter parents

Parents want the best for their children, and most will do anything to help them get ahead in life. But there’s a difference between parents who are invested in your job success and helicopter parents — those who hover over your every career move. 

Did your dad write your resume? Did mom offer to sit in on salary negotiations or join you on your next job interview? These may be warning signs that you have helicopter parents!

While it’s great that your parents want you to succeed and are willing to help in any way they can, you have to set boundaries when it comes to work. Otherwise, you may run the risk of your employer thinking you’re incapable of acting independently. While you may be new to your field, supervisors are looking for leadership qualities, a sense of autonomy and the initiative to thrive. And all of these traits are crucial in the workforce.

So how can you allow your parents to be involved without running the risk of damaging your professional reputation or becoming overly reliant on their help? Here are four tips on handling helicopter parents:

1. Tap their networks

It’s OK to reach out to your parents’ networking contacts. Have them introduce you to friends and colleagues who can keep you posted on openings or help smooth your career path with introductions or even a job interview. But emphasize with mom and dad that you want to be as independent as possible, so an introduction is all you’re looking for. 

2. Ask for resume and cover letter feedback

While you don’t want your parents to write your resume for you, it never hurts to have a second, or third, set of eyes. Ask them to proofread your resume and cover letter before you send off your application package. Welcome their input, but keep in mind you don’t have to take all their suggestions. After all, you’re in command of how you present yourself to a prospective employer.

3. Let them be an objective sounding board

Sometimes it helps to talk through your career options. Sit down with your parents as you weigh the pros and cons of a professional opportunity or whether you should accept a job offer. Remember: This is your career, not theirs, which means it’s up to you to choose which advice you take and which you thank them for, but opt not to follow.

4. Hold practice interviews

It’s a great idea to practice before you go to a job interview. Have your parents prepare a list of interview questions, based on the job posting, but let them surprise you with the questions they ask so you’re prepared for both the expected and oddball questions. Review your responses with them, and ask them to be objective, so that on the day of your interview, you’re prepared to answer questions with confidence.

Your parents want nothing but the best for you. If you're careful and strategic, you'll find ways to let them be supportive and encouraging without hijacking your career. 

What tips do you have for dealing with helicopter parents? Share them in the comments.

Related Articles: