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The Five Working Parents You'll Encounter On Take Your Kids to Work Day

It's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, the one day of the year (okay, the second day this month alone, cough!) when our co-workers will bring their child with them to the workplace.

You're bound to learn something about your co-workers by watching them attempt to parent while working. You might observe how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in some ways, among other things. At a minimum, you'll get to see the little people who sometimes leave you holding the bag at work.

So without further ado, here are five types of parent/co-workers you might encounter on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day:

1. The overly-permissive parent. This co-worker's child is using your office chair like a Sit 'n Spin when they're not running up and down the hallways, leaving wrappers from their free break room snacks on the floor, and treating the office like a playground to the distraction of everyone in the office. Aren't they just so cute at this age? Um.

2. The overly-strict parent. On the flip side is this co-worker, who definitely had a talk with their child before they came to work today. Don't touch anything, be quiet, I'll let you know when you can participate. You can quietly play on my iPad while I work all day. Hey, the kid is just happy to miss a day of school. With any luck, he or she will learn something about the STEM field by osmosis.

3. The boastful parent. Do you know that your co-worker's fourth grader is highly gifted? If you didn't know, then you will know by quitting time. You will also learn all about your co-worker's parenting philosophies for raising great kids, even though your oldest is in grad school. Maintaining a sense of humor for the next few hours will be crucial.

4. The tentative parent. This co-worker didn't really want to bring their child to work, but somehow got talked into it. Quitting time can't come fast enough for this co-worker. You may actually be surprised to learn this co-worker has children, since they never talk about their kids at work. It's information doled out strictly on a need-to-know basis, apparently? Shh -- nothing to see here, just keep working, everyone!

5. The put-them-to-work parent. This co-worker wants their child to get a hands-on work experience, which is great! Busy hands are happy hands especially where kids are concerned. So why not show a third grader how to use the office copier to make 20 copies of a report for today's meeting? Let's just hope their participation in the work flow doesn't bring things to a sudden standstill because Pages 10 through 15 somehow got out of order. Supervision is very important. Don't even think about pawning this responsibility off on the administrative assistant, either.

There are other types of parents we could discuss, but these are the basics. The best thing you can do is to roll with it and have a good sense of humor. You are a workplace role model in the eyes of these kids, so don't take yourself quite so seriously! You were a kid once, too, so find the fun and joy in watching the next generation glimpse the future.

Besides, recent surveys reveal that today's workplaces aren't all that different from the average preschool classroom. The tantrum your boss had last week is proof.

Even if kids aren't your thing, remember this: Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day is an experience these kids will remember all their lives. It was a special day with Mom or Dad to see why they always get home so late, and why they're always working. It informs their growing view of the working world at an impressionable time in their lives, even if the only thing they discover is that they never, ever want to do the same type of job as their parents.

Of course, your employer may be planning an entire day's events around Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day complete with seminars, t-shirts and a complimentary lunch. If your employer's "it takes a workplace to raise a child" mentality isn't working for you, then think of it this way, Millennials: 20 short years from now, the runny-nosed kid borrowing your office stapler without permission could be the savvy, 28-year-old hiring manager skeptically scanning your resume and wondering if your 50-year-old self is qualified for the job.

So have fun, be fun to talk to, and most of all, decide to be a good role model for Generation Z tomorrow, will you? It does take a workplace village.


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