Perhaps you’ve heard the term “helicopter parenting” as a way to describe the way today’s 20-somethings (Gen Y) were hovered over in childhood by their parents. As a life coach to 20-somethings and consultant to corporations with Gen Y employees, I’ve seen the effects of an even more intrusive child-rearing style that I have coined as “cockpit parenting.” Cockpit parents did more than hover. They sat right in the pilot’s seat of their child’s life, charting the course and navigating all of the twists and turns. And they often remain there well into their child’s adulthood. . . .
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Cockpit parents tend to pull all kinds of maneuvers like this. Things like writing their child’s résumé, calling in favors to their friends to get their child an internship or job, or even making-up corporations where their child has “worked.” And let’s not forget my personal favorite: listing themselves as references. These parents think they are helping, but they are not. There is a line between supporting your children and enabling them. And if cockpit parents continue to sit in the pilot’s seat of their child’s life, then the adult child continues to remain dependent on mom and dad for advice, money and answers to questions they should be answering for themselves.