It’s been a long time since I last posted, but I decided to resume with my blogging (yay).
Coincidentally yesterday was also the first day I started with WordPress. Here’s a little post to commemorate! This time, it’s about helicopter parents.
The pathetic case of parents over-controlling and interfering with adult children’s life choices.
Over-controlling will encourage over-dependence in children.
Known as helicopter parents, who constantly hover around and micro-manage their children’s professional lives. These parents’ over-protectiveness often start with the desire to keep their children safe when they were toddlers (up to 3 years old). But they continue to rescue and protect them from the real world because they think it is cruel, hostile and demanding. Their natural growth will then be stunted all through their primary school-age, teenage (adolescent), and adult life.
Strike for a healthy balance of discipline, responsibility, and house chores with freedom, independence and personal choices. Yes, check and train your children’s decision-making and thinking processes until you can trust them to make (adult) decisions on their own. Give constructive feedback, not unsolicited advice. Don’t rescue them, let fall down they’ll learn faster (natural for toddlers). Let go of “smothering”, being too over-bearing, fuzzing, and spoon-feeding.
One of my clients, a Group HR Director of a public-listed company, told me his story of his 10 year old son who didn’t want to continue his piano lessons. He gave him a typewritten contract about this and to think about it and sign it. Why? Because he didn’t want to take the blame and the possibility of him growing up and then complaining that his father should not have listened to his 10-year old tantrums. His son never signed it. It’s framed for him as a gift for one of his most important life lessons – of allowing a child’s own decision-making.
The biggest hiring offense is for parents (or friends) to accompany their adult children to job interviews. It is a tell-tale sign that the candidate lacks maturity and independence. Such candidates are weak, spoiled, and overly-sheltered. They cannot work under stress and power politics; let alone work long hours and in a fast pace global environment. With a little pressure they’ll become chicken scared, resign, or worse there’s no show the next day – they have absolutely no staying power.
Parents Interefering With The Hiring Process
According to Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) a shocking 60.4% of parents submit their children’s resume, 25.2% make interview arrangements, 22.3% negotiate salary and benefits, and other forms of recruitment process (http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=%2F2012%2F12%2F23%2Fnation%2F12367257&sec=nation). Yes, you or your parents are probably one of them…
In my company, our estimate is 65% of Interns come for job interviews with their parents, siblings, friends, or BF-GF waiting nearby. Quite a few even ask to come in and sit in (13.7%)… seriously? Executive recruitment is a little better.
Many intern candidates reject our job offer when their parents disapprove say some of the normal terms and conditions (we pay some of the highest salaries + bonuses for interns). I have parents interfered and stop a candidate’s highly valuable, 3-month internship program.
The reasons given for resignation were truly amazing: “have to leave town for arranged marriage; must pray at home for past lives Karma (I can accept their faith but is it that urgent; and isn’t Dharma-work ethics more important); must leave by 5:00pm because of traffic jam; no car transportation; public transport’s too hot and too long to wait; forced to drive Mummy to supermarket – daily; didn’t expect the pressure to perform”…seriously? By sheltering them, the parents are spoiling them, and they will not make it in the real world – with ever-stretching KPIs, higher target goals and performance.
I’ve once taken a 24 year-old Malaysian Management Trainee to Hong Kong with all expenses paid, within the first week of employment, for professional exposure. In fact, he eventually went to Hong Kong twice (never been on a plane) yet the parents were freaking out, like we are going to sell him off, or something.
According to the Human Resources Ministry (Malaysia), one reason why more than 70,000 graduates (as at May 2012) could not get a job was their lack of independent thinking skills.
I’ll echo that – they lack common sense thinking.
OOPS I DID IT…
I can still remember my mother accompanying me to kindergarten during my first week of school, and watching me for hours together with other “kancheong” (anxious) Asian mothers. It was very comforting and I didn’t feel alone in this.
A funny incident: I can still remember I sh_t in my short pants in the first 3 months of kindergarten. I sat there quietly, did not dare go for canteen break, and by the end of the day it had dried up! I could hear whispers from my neighbors how come they can smell the toilet in the classroom.
The moral of the story is:
When sh_t happens… stay calm, get used to the heat and pressure, it’s your own sh_t, own up, don’t blame others, live with it, get over it, ride out the storm (the worse will pass by eventually), if you sit on your sh_t long enough it actually becomes a non-issue, deny everything (well, only for PR objectives, not in relationships – silly!), don’t bring unnecessary hostile attention to yourself, surf under the radar until you are powerful enough with political allies, learn from your sh_t experiences, grow up fast; and you’ll be successful in life! (“look Mum no hands!”…I’m proof…we digressed…).
I remember parents of Generation X (born 1960-1979) gave their kids freedom to choose. And Gen-X learned well – reflected with many of the greatest growth and innovation in history. Yet the irony is Gen-X now do not give the same freedom they so enjoyed and benefited to their own children. What hypocrites! I know of 25 year old men and women who still must call home by 11:00pm to report their whereabouts… seriously?
Spoon-Fed Generation Y, Z & AO
Now we have spoon-fed Gen-Y (born 1980-1989), Gen-Z (born 1990-1999), and Gen-AO (always on internet, born 2000-present) in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, USA, etc. who can’t cope with responsibility, commitment, and can’t decide for themselves for the life of them; and prefer to live with their parents until their 30’s.
What have we created here…
Leave Your Parent’s Den By 22
Apply and go for interviews by yourself.
By 22 you should leave permanently the comfort and security of your parents’ den. Your MBA can wait – the MBA skills will make a lot more practical sense when you had worked for at least 2-3 years. You can pay for it with your own salary.
Work for your own money, pay for your own room and car; and you’ll really appreciate the value of money and what your parents have done, and not be a spoiled brat who throw tantrums to manipulate to get the latest iPhone 5 and Honda CR-Z.
I Walk My Talk
I cycled 5km to school along busy main roads from age 13 for extra curriculum activities in Ipoh – the hometown of Willie Chan, manager of Jackie Chan, and Michelle Yeoh (she is a fellow old Michaelian from St. Michael’s Institution, Ipoh). I still cycle today (my advocacy for environment-friendliness). I left my den at 18 forever – to Melbourne.
I worked professionally at 21 in the cutthroat advertising agency world of JWT as a Copywriter and at Leo Burnett Hong Kong; and spearheaded and expanded a very strict but highly political religious organization nationwide to 10 centers – at night and weekends. I used to wake up at 3:30am for meditation, and live a chosen celibate and pure 100% vegetarian life; whilst working in a tough corporate career in Hong Kong. Want to try what I did for strict discipline for 10 years? Scary and risky? Sure! Challenging? You bet!
I learned precious life skills from working in a vast variety of part-time jobs whilst studying. I was a waiter, bartender, temping, door-to-door charity collector (in winter), packer, etc. Nowadays, many college students prefer to enjoy their semester breaks because their pocket money is double what they earn as an Intern. How short-sighted and unmotivated.
Who Wants To Be A Self-Made Millionaire?
You can’t be a SELF-MADE Millionaire with a shallow mindset. That’s why Rags-to-Riches Billionaires like Steve Jobs and Robert Kuok were so self-motivated with PASSION and to be the World’s BEST in their field. And why Richard Li is not as successful as his father Li Ka Shing because he is not self-made, and was funded and rumored to be bailed out by his father at critical times (Richard’s tiny company PCCW bought the giant Hong Kong Telephone but finally, PCCW’s stock price dropped a shocking more than 98% after the Internet bubble burst).
In contrast with two of our clients, when Nasaruddin took over as the very young Executive Chairman of Naza Group when his father Nasimuddin suddenly died at the age of 53, he had to overcome heavy internal political forces and expanded Naza beyond the shadow of his father.
Same with Lim Kok Thay, he expanded the Genting Group beyond his visionary father Lim Goh Tong. I met Kok Thay’s son, Hui Lim (28). My sense of him is he is highly intelligent, high integrity, well-balanced, and fun. I was happy to learn that he is learning fast in the ruthless, front and back-stabbing, shark infested, corporate politics in Hong Kong for the last 5 years (welcome to the real world Hui!). I have full confidence in him when he finally leads Genting.
I’m glad Steve Job’s son Reid wisely chose to be an oncologist, not the CEO. Just for the record, Tim Cook is doing a great job (pardon the pun) for Apple despite obvious negative public perceptions from naysayers (“Tim can never be Steve Jobs!”. Of course, Tim Cook is Tim Cook!). He cleaned up the horrifying state of Apple’s manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain; made tough changes in the executive team, and weed out people with disagreeable personalities like Scott Forstall, SVP of iOS, that Jobs tolerated – to create a corporate culture of harmony.
“WHEN YOUNG, WORK TO LEARN, NOT TO EARN”.
~ Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
In most of the world, including most of the United States, parts of the United Kingdom, India and China, the legal adult age is 18 (historically 21) for most purposes, with some notable exceptions: Indonesia and Japan (20).
It’s time to Gen Y to grow up, be an adult, leave the den by 22, live and decide for themselves.