Once our kids graduate--be it from college, graduate school or a specialized program--we're pleased when they land their first "career" job. They're launched. It's more than pleasing. It's thrilling.
But some of us have a hard time letting go and recognizing they are now on their own as professionals. I've written about parents who contacted their child's boss when they didn't like the way the company was treating their child. I think we can all agree that is a major overstep. I've taken note of other over-steps in the job search and work place here and here
How about this one? A parent wrote to the New York Times' Work Friend columnist, Megan Greenwell, that her daughter asked her for advice on a workplace issue and now she was asking the columnist to weigh in.
My 24-year-old daughter works for a small nonprofit. She has recently started to see a therapist one day a week, so she arrives an hour later than normal and stays an extra hour that day. She puts her arrival time into the organization’s calendar, which is the protocol if you have a doctor’s appointment, but since this is a weekly appointment, she wasn’t sure if she needs to explain where she is to the executive director. My initial response is that her therapy appointments are none of the director’s business, but now I wonder if I am just being old-fashioned. What do you recommend for her?
Megan Greenwell wasn't treating this as a "tell" or "not-tell" issue. She took it as a deeper incursion into the daughter's independence and autonomy. Here, in part, is what she wrote the mother about her daughter:
I’d recommend that she draw sharper boundaries with her mom. Asking family members for advice is entirely reasonable, but your outsourcing the question crosses the line into helicopter parenting. A 24-year-old is more than capable of navigating her own office politics.
"Over-parenting" can be a fine line. Is asking advice about the advice to give an adult child who has asked for advice crossing into the dreaded territory of helicopter parenting? Does it suggest we're making too much of the issue, of over-reacting to our adult child's situation?
Got an opinion on this? Please share.
(P.S. Here's how Greenwell came down on the actual issue of whether or not to tell:)
It sounds as though her boss has already agreed to her schedule change one day a week, so I don’t see a need for any further discussion about why. If arriving an hour late isn’t causing any problems, she can just keep filling out the calendar. She absolutely shouldn’t feel any shame for going to therapy — everyone should try it! — but she doesn’t need to go out of her way to make sure everyone knows, either.