ICYMI: My Post on Helicopter Parents Struck a Chord | Lindsey Pollak's Blog

ICYMI: My Post on Helicopter Parents Struck a Chord

Wow. People feel strongly about helicopter parents in the workplace. It seems my July 26 post on helicopter parents in the workplace definitely resonated.  

I enjoyed reading each and every comment and thought I would share a few of them in case you missed the lively discussion…

Twitter Buzz on Helicopter Parenting

I appreciated Dana Perino (@DanaPerino) amping up the Twitter engagement with her retweet of my article. The comments showed an entire range of responses:

  • Disbelief:

  • Resignation:

  • Common sense:

And what might be my favorite? Phil Kerpin (@Kerpin), with his ????  as he highlighted this part of the original post. “If you want advice from your mom on how to handle a client visit, definitely call her and role play some Q&A, but don’t do it on speakerphone during a ride-along with your boss, as one manager told me a millennial employee recently did.

LinkedIn Discussion on Helicopter Parenting

My LinkedIn post on helicoptering also generated numerous comments. One of the most detailed and insightful came from Dean Branson, developer of people and programs at Ball [Ind.] State University (@Dean_BSU) who, by the way, has one of my favorite Twitter summaries of all time: “Gen Xer living in a Millennial World”).

He said, “Employers are experiencing what higher education professionals have lived through for years. At first higher education was resistant to engaging helicopter parents. Since students were becoming adults they needed to make decisions on their own. That philosophy did not work well since parents were often paying the bills. For the universities that embraced this involvement by the parents and recognized the importance of the familial connection (as you point out Lindsey Pollak more than half of millennials consider a parent their best friend) they sought ways to leverage the positive aspects of parent involvement. The context of the work environment is different from higher education, but after 22+ years of an established pattern of parenting this issue is not going to just disappear. Employers need to proactively address the issue and seek ways to use this dynamic to improve company culture, employee experience, and the success of the enterprise.”

And Jennifer Rupert MIIM, MA of Virginia Tech shared another great term, the “snowplow parent,” who pushes problems out of the way.

Want to read more about the overall helicopter parent struggle? Check out #helicopterparenting or #helicopterparents for more articles on the good, the bad and the crazy. They mostly talk about helicoptering kids, vs. young adults, but it gives a great window into how the phenomenon begins, and the reason we need it to end.

And, if you haven’t checked out my post yet, please do, and then share your experience in the comments below or on Twitter.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

  1. Rich Jones says:

    Never heard of “snow plow” parents. Have you heard of “lawnmower” parents…they will mow down anyone or anything that gets in their kid’s way!!

    • @Rich – I had not heard of “lawnmowers” — I will add that to my list! Thanks for the comment — Lindsey

  2. Terry Brown says:


    I like your work. Keep it up!

    You may want to explore this more from the inside when parents disagree on how to deal with issues. My wife and I usually have differing views and I have to work hard sometimes to hold back her “helicopter.” But recently I even had to mentally say “STOP” while moving two sons in for second semesters across country. When parents are far away it may seem harder but the problem is the same. You have to Force Yourself to let them fail or even set their room up on their own. Little decisions not made buy students can snowball into “what would you do Mom?” or “just go ahead and do it for me Dad.” I generally try to push back if my child says “you do it.” We have one more at home and we still don’t always think we are doing right by them.

    Thanks again for your insights!


    • @Terry – Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’m sure it resonates with a lot of parents! – Lindsey

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