Just when you finally stopped feeling on edge with worry that you might be behaving like a “helicopter” parent (i.e. hovering around your child and swooping in at the first sign of trouble), a new brand of parenting just emerged. It's called “lawnmower” parenting and—brace yourself—it's not pretty.
Coined anonymously by a teacher via the online forum We Are Teachers, lawnmower parents act in a way that cuts down any problem that dare cross their child's path. “Instead of preparing children for challenges,” the teacher describes, “they mow obstacles down so kids won't experience them in the first place. They go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle or failure.” Yikes.
She went on to give an example straight out of her own middle school classroom: When a parent of a student of hers showed up midday to drop something off, the teacher assumed it was something essential like an inhaler or money for lunch. Much to her surprise, it was actually a S'well water bottle. His explanation? “Hi, sorry. Remy kept texting me that she needed it. I texted back, Don't they have water fountains at your school?, but I guess she just had to have it out of the bottle. Teenagers, am I right?”
Her (professional) reply was to stay cool as a cucumber, but in her head she was all “WHAT ON THIS ACTUAL EARTH,” according to the essay.
She goes on to explain that the potential fallout of not equipping your kids for failure (which, let's face it, is a given at different points in life) could be decimating to them later on. It also could result in a new generation of kids who lack resilience but act entitled 24/7. The worst.
Cue the next round of parental introspection.