Twenty years ago, parents told their children to get jobs. Ten years ago, parents encouraged their children to get jobs. Now, parents are attending job interviews alongside their children.
To be clear, when I say “children,” I’m not referring to 15-year-olds who are looking for summer work at the local fast food restaurant. I’m talking about 22-year-old college graduates who are landing their first big jobs in their chosen career path.
It may seem like common sense that parents shouldn’t attend a job interview alongside their 22-year-old. But it’s really happening. And attending the interview isn’t the only way parents are meddling in their adult children’s careers.
Michigan State University surveyed employers who recruit recent college graduates to learn how parents are getting involved in their adult children’s job search. Here’s what employers had to say:
At the end of the survey, researchers asked employers if they had anything else to add about the ways parents are getting involved in the workplace. Employers revealed they’re also seeing these trends:
Employers say mothers are more likely to attend career fairs to collect information on their child’s behalf and they are more likely to make arrangements for interviews. They are more likely to hear from fathers regarding salary negotiations, disciplinary measures, and rejections.
Not surprisingly, employers report parental involvement as negative. Imagine a mother sitting next to her son in an interview saying, “My son is a real self-starter.” And it’s hard for a young adult to convince a prospective employer that she’s motivated when her parents submit a resume on her behalf.
There’s a good chance your new graduate could benefit from a few words of wisdom from you before embarking on a new career. So you may want to offer your best tips for nailing an interview or negotiating salary. But your work should end there.
The ultimate goal of parenting should be to work yourself out of a job. That means letting your child—especially your adult child—embark on new adventures without you.
No matter how tempted you are to get involved in your young adult’s job search, don’t do it. Rejection, failure, and mistakes are opportunities to build mental strength.
It's best to let your child experience the sting of rejection and the natural consequences of irresponsibility at a young age. Pain and struggle teach valuable life lessons. But, propping your child up and paving the way throughout adulthood does more harm than good.
So no matter how tempted you are to apply for a job on your child's behalf and no matter how much you may want to attend the interview, please don't do it.
Want to learn how to give up the bad habits that rob kids of mental strength? Pick up a copy of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do.