Ever since Doctor Spock began speaking out on child rearing, parents have been searching for the one, ‘perfect’ formula for guaranteeing well-adjusted and productive adults. Parenting advice has become a multi-million dollar industry, and it’s no wonder that trends change so rapidly.
For a while, overly-attentive moms and dads were referred to as ‘helicopter parents’ and they made their mark by inserting themselves into every minute aspect of their child’s life, even going so far as to take on responsibilities that the kids should have been doing for themselves.
The term ‘helicopter parenting’ first came into the mainstream in “1969 in the bestselling book 'Between Parent & Teenager' by Dr. Haim Ginott, which mentions a teen who complains: ‘Mother hovers over me like a helicopter…’” Even though the parent’s intentions may be good, the method has been around long enough for society to get a pretty good idea of what adherence to its tenets has wrought.
Now, we are seeing an alarming move to an even more intrusive form of parenting than the 'helicopter moms' - and it has educators, coaches, and others who are charged with teaching children extremely alarmed.
It's called 'Lawnmower Parenting' and it's exactly what it sounds like. Where helicopter moms would 'hover' around their children to maintain a 'presence' in their lives, 'lawnmowing' goes a step further. The mission is to prevent their kids from facing any sort of adversity whatsoever!
"LAWNMOWER PARENTS: With the best intentions, they go to lengths to prevent their child from facing adversity, struggle, or failure by “mowing” obstacles down so kids won’t have to experience them in the first place, ironically, poorly preparing them for life’s challenges."
"Move over, helicopter parents - the new trend is 'lawnmower' parents who mow down all adversity for their children.” And why is this alarming? Isn't it natural for a parent to want to protect their children? And the answer, of course, is an emphatic 'YES,' but the harm comes in carrying the concept too far. And that is exactly what the 'lawnmowing' moms and dads are doing.
“Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place,” according to a Fox News report.
The report goes on: "Meanwhile, one professor of educational psychology says that such coddling can only stand to harm a child’s long-term development.
Dr. Jillian Roberts, associate professor at the University of Victoria warns that “Growing up is about learning to continuously adapt to new and more challenging situations.
“When parents deprive their children of opportunities to practice these skills, their parenting is actually detrimental to their kids. In fact, what they are communicating is: 'I do not think you are capable of handling this on your own.'” the professor said of the lawn mower parent phenomenon during an interview with Global News Canada.
So, if you recognize yourself (or someone you know) in this description, it might be wise to reexamine the ultimate outcome you hope to achieve with your child-rearing practices. It can only benefit your kids in the long run.
To find out if you might be a 'lawnmower parent,' check out the tweet, below.