We’ve all heard of “helicopter parents”—the kind of mom or dad who takes a fully hands-on approach to parenting, hovering over their children even when they’re not at home. But now, apparently, there’s a new genre of parent being added to the mix: “lawnmower parents.”
According to an anonymous post on the blog We Are Teachers, one educator coined the term “lawnmower parents” after she had a run-in with a dad who brought his teenage daughter a S’well bottle full of water to school because his child didn’t want to drink out of the water fountain. This led the teacher to realize that a new breed of parents had emerged, and thus, the idea of “lawnmower parents” was born.
But what exactly is a lawnmower parent?
“Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure,” the teacher wrote. “Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.”
The teacher was very careful to point out that this doesn’t mean these parents have bad intentions. In fact, their tendency to “lawnmower” may have come from the failures they experienced when they were younger that they’re trying to keep their own child from experiencing.
Just read about lawnmower parenting, as in clearing away obstacles ahead of the children. A possible impact on abilities of first year college students to succeed, I should think.— Katherine (Katie) Low (@DrKLow) September 15, 2018
“If we eliminate all struggle in children’s younger years, they will not arrive at adulthood magically equipped to deal with failure. Indeed, childhood is when they learn these skills,” the teacher wrote.
Of course, childhood is the time when you learn everything that will become the foundation of your adulthood. Trial and error is a part of life—it’s not always fun, but it’s reality. This teacher says that when parents rob their kids of the chance to fail, their kids may never be able to succeed on their own and may end up believing that their parents are the only ones who can solve their problems.
“If we want our children to be successful, healthy adults, we must teach them how to process through their own challenges, respond to adversity, and advocate for themselves,” the teacher wrote.
There are so many different styles of parenting, and this is only one of the latest. Lawnmower or not, most parents are doing what they feel is the best for their children at the time.