We’ve all heard the term “helicopter parent” bandied about over the years. Typically, it summons visions of overly involved parents calling college professors to complain about the “D” their child received on a test or using their money and influence to pave their children’s paths to success. 2019 brings us the next-level term that replaces helicopter parents: intensive parenting.
Intensive parenting involves around-the-clock devotion of attention and resources to children’s free time, emotions and behaviors. It’s a more hands-on approach of constantly teaching and monitoring children, focuses on feelings, and involves lots of extracurricular activities.
Parents in the United States are investing more time, attention, and money into raising their children than was the norm several decades ago. Interestingly, this parenting style isn’t restricted to only the upper-class. Whether they are wealthy or financially struggling, married or single, male or female, 75% of parents say they favor the intensive parenting style, according to a study conducted by Cornell University post-doctoral fellow Patrick Ishizuka.
Because of this significant rise in extracurricular activities, parents are demanding more flexible work schedules to accommodate their children’s schedules. It’s important for employers to understand that some parents will forgo promotion opportunities or manage on a reduced income in order to have the flexibility to take their children to music lessons, sporting events, or other activities. The demands of intensive parenting, however, often cut into sleep, time alone with their partners and friends, leisure time, and housework. The result? Anxiety, depression and stress.
It’s more important than ever for employers to understand the concerns of employees and job candidates in terms of their work/life balance and consider what impacts that can have on hiring, retention and training policies. It’s also worth taking the time to examine leave and paid time off policies to help ensure that they meet the demands of today’s worker. Having a flexible PTO policy is attractive to job seekers and can get top talent through the door.
Southwest EAP can be your partner to help determine best policies for managing these challenges with programs including: