parents" who "hyperactively intervene" in the lives of their
offspring could damage their children's job prospects, a careers
Parents are increasingly involved in their children's
university and even career choices, Liverpool University's head
of careers and employability says.
Dr Paul Redmond claims some parents even contact their sons'
or daughters' employers to negotiate pay rises.
This can backfire as most bosses want independent-minded
workers, he added.
" Some are even negotiating pay rises for
them - it's like having a footballer's agent
Dr Redmond said "helicopter parents" who "hover" over their
offspring intervening in their lives far more than in any
previous generation were increasingly being seen on university
"They're much more involved in all aspects of their lives -
they help them to get to university and even help them get jobs
when they graduate."
He added: "Employers are saying to me that parents are
contacting them with regard to their sons' or daughters'
"Some are even negotiating pay rises for them - it's like
having a footballer's agent."
"We have even had the phenomena of parents attending careers
fairs around the country - and doing most of the talking on
behalf of their son or daughter."
He even identifies five types meddling parents with labels
like the Agent, the Bodyguard and the Banker.
"Helicopter parents" are so common among the middle classes
that universities are now having to produce teams of family
liaison officers to deal with them.
And some are now even producing parent packs, he said.
He said careers departments were now having to sit down with
parents and tell them straight that, despite their best
intentions, they could be doing more harm than good.
"The problem is it could potentially harm their employment
prospects as employers want graduates who are self-reliant," he
"We are worried about the impact. It's great to have parental
support but sometimes it's better to leave the parents at home."
Students were often now tied to their parents by what is
"surely the longest umbilical chord in history" - the mobile
But perhaps surprisingly, Dr Redmond says, the offspring of
helicopter parents tend to be completely unabashed about their
ever-increasing involvement in their affairs.
"It's a generational thing, Generation Y - those born from
the 1980s onwards - have a completely different relationship
with their parents. to Generation X - those born in between the
mid-1960s and the 1980s."
"Generation X would have been appalled at the idea."
The extra involvement is also down to the marketisation of
academia as a result of university fees, Dr Redmond said.
"They pay the money; they expect to see results."
But helicopter parents are also a product of government
policies encouraging increased parental involvement at school
In a blog for the Guardian website, Dr Redmond describes the
five different types of "helicopter parents" that now
characterise England's higher education system.
The Agent Having an Agent helicopter parent is like
having Max Clifford working for you round the clock-for free.
They operate like a footballer's agent: fixing deals, arranging
contracts, smoothing out local difficulties. It's the Agent's
job to represent his or her client at events which, for whatever
reason, the client feels are simply too tedious to attend.
The Banker Accessible online, face-to-face or via a
personal hotline, the Banker is unique in the world of financial
services for charging no APR, asking few if any questions,
expecting no collateral, and being psychologically inclined to
say "yes" no matter how illogical or poorly articulated the
request. The Banker is also resigned to never seeing loans
The White Knight Imbued with an almost semi-mythical
status, the White Knight parent appears at little to no notice
to resolve awkward situations. Once resolved, the White Knight
will fade anonymously into the background. Intervention is
accomplished silently and with minimum fuss.
The Bodyguard The primary function of the Bodyguard is
to protect the client from a range of embarrassing social
situations - such as cancelling appointments and soaking up
complaints on behalf of their client. Particularly skilled in
constructing elaborate excuses. When not protecting life, limb
and reputation, doubles up as a chauffeur and personal
The Black Hawk Named after the military helicopter,
and dreaded by teachers and educational administrators, the
Black Hawk is unique among helicopter parents due to their
willingness to go to any lengths - legal or illegal - to give
their offspring a positional advantage over any competition.
Particularly lethal when elected to parent-teacher associations.