HR Strange But True!
November 02, 2006

Helicopter parents--a pejorative term used to describe parents who are quick to swoop in to intervene in their children's lives--are starting to include the workplace as part of their hover zone, according to a column by Diane Stafford in the Kansas City Star.

For years, educators have seen the results of parents becoming more, some say overly, involved in their kids' lives, such as parents going to their kids' school to complain about the grades teachers gave or the discipline teachers handed out, Stafford notes.

Now, the workplace is feeling the effects, such as parents coming to their's adult child's workplace to complain to the employer about a raise or a performance review, Stafford writes.

Stafford cites an article in Fast Company magazine in which the author described parents who showed up at their 24-year-old-son's employer after he failed to receive a bonus because of a poor performance review. The parents sat outside the chief executive's office in an unsuccessful attempt to get a meeting. Security escorted them out of the building, according to the article.

The Fast Company article also discussed a parent who called the HR department at her son's employer 17 times after his supervisor said he needed to improve his performance before he would get a promotion. The employee, who also complained that HR was rude to his mom, was 22 years old at the time, according to the magazine article.

The magazine reports that some bosses--and at least one HR professional--have become so stressed after dealing with younger workers and their very-involved parents that they sought therapy.

Have you had any experiences with so-called helicopter parents in the workplace? If so, we'd like to hear about them. If we get enough good stories, we'll include them in a future issue. Just send an e-mail to and indicate how you would like to be identified, if at all.

Sources: Kansas City Star and Fast Company

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