Monday, February 15, 2010
Cut the Cord
One of the most surprising things I've found as I've transitioned to teaching is how "involved" many parents still are with their 20, 21, or 22 year-old children. I put involved in quotes because these parents aren't involved enough to make sure students get out of bed and come to class or are prepared when they do come to class, but if there is some perceived slight against their child, they automatically call the professor or the administration (and often love to threaten to bring lawyers into the conversation). I bring this issue up because I'm really concerned with how these students are going to function when (if?) they get jobs in the sports industry. If they can't work out minor situations in college on their own, how are they going to deal at work? If a peer or boss overlooks their contribution or yells at them or tells them they need to improve their work or tells them to go help park cars for an event, will they call mommy and daddy? Are they even going to be able to live on their own and be independent? At a university, I have to take these calls (assuming all FERPA requirements are met). It's still an educational environment and my hope is to try to work with that student to learn to assert some independence (and with his parents to allow him to do so). In the workplace, though, I would NEVER talk to an employee's parents (or an intern's) about that employee's performance. All I can say is be very careful where you ask your parents to become involved. Try to work out your situation on your own, one-on-one, in an adult manner before you even think of bringing in the parents. To sum it up, cut the cord before you get a job.