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A Parent’s Confession

April 12, 2011

Why he is raising a kid you may not want to hire.

I recently had a conversation with a dad who has a senior in high school.  As we chatted about his son and I gently probed his parenting tactics he looked at me sheepishly and said…“I know I am creating a kid that one day companies won’t want to hire.”  Due to his divorce and subsequent marriage to his second wife, he had to move his son across the country and drop him into a family with two step-sisters.  Because the dad felt guilty of the changes (and was at a point in his career where he could financially step back from working) he stayed home.  He also began to cater to his son.  He spends his mornings making lunches and doing laundry, running carpool throughout the day and trying to make his kid’s life easier. 

Now it’s easy to throw punches and pass judgment.  But if you had the benefit that I did to talk openly with this father you can understand his desire to “make things better and easier” for his kid.  He is being a parent after all, and as a parent myself, I recognize that desire, no matter how misguided.  It is a constant internal ‘heart vs. head’ struggle.  And the reality is, this dad knows better and he readily admits it. 

Though the depth of our parenting may be debatable, for the most part how we raise (or don’t) our children defines who they become.  And the person they grow up to be – their values, expectations, work ethic – is the one who arrives at your company on their first day. 

This isn’t a new debate about the Millennial (or Gen Y) generation.  It is an ongoing conversation we all, including the Millennials, will continue to deal with, talk about, debate and try to fix.  Are they coddled?  Must even those in last place get a trophy?  Do they have an over-inflated sense of self-importance?  Must they act so entitled? 

Truth is not all parents coddle, not all kids get trophies when they come in last, and not all think too highly of themselves or feel entitled.  And unfortunately some are all of those things.  As the oldest Millennials start to become parents (they are officially in their 30s now) it will be interesting to see how they parent.  And will give me something else to research, study and debate.  Bring it on!

What are your thoughts on the lasting effects of parenting and how has that impacted the Millennial generation?

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