If you have been online (or a parent) for any length of time, you have probably heard about the different titles that parents are sometimes given. Free-range parenting, which can get your child taken away, Helicopter, attachment parenting and the "infamous" tiger parenting. A teacher from the site We Are Teachers recently coined the term "lawnmower" parents. Essentially these are helicopter parents that have taken things to the extreme. Instead of simply overprotecting and hovering, like a helicopter parent, lawnmower parents are determined to remove every obstacle in their child's path. They shelter the child to the point of making sure the child has no bumps in their road. This child will never have to deal with any difficult or teachable moments as long as mom and dad are around.
They can be as seemingly innocent as blowing on your elementary school child's food when they are past old enough to do it themselves or as bad as doing a project for them and using contacts to get them into a better college despite not having the grades.
But, what are the actual differences between helicopter parents and lawnmower parents?
Helicopter parenting involves hovering and sheltering. With older children, for example, these parents will go to the school to debate over bad grades, they won't let children activities that may be dangerous on their own, and they generally like to be in their child's business, whether it is monitoring their every text message, or sitting in on a private playdate.
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Lawnmower parenting is far more intense. These parents will try to guess what obstacles the child will have to face and walk in front to get rid of whatever challenge they may be about to hit. They may actually complete school work for their child, argue over a B with the teacher, write the college admissions and will stop at nothing to make sure their child doesn't have to do anything in order to get into a good college. Their child will never truly face problems as long as their parents are around.
Both helicopter and lawnmower parenting styles hurt kids. They both shelter the children and both sides do not let the child learn how to handle "real" life, but lawnmower parenting essentially ensures that the child will break down should they end up encountering any problem on their own.
There are no benefits to being a lawnmower parent, but there is more than one bad side. This trend is being blamed for creating entitled children who think the world revolves around them. If you, as the parent, bend to your child's every want, it sets the tone for your child believing they deserve everything handed to them. They will not know how to go after whatever it is that they want or need, they will expect everything to drop into their lap. When they are older children up to their teenage years, they need to be taught that they can't have everything and that they need to work for what they want. They also need to know how to fail, and then get back up and try again. If you mow down everything in their path, they will never learn those skills that are vital to living in the adult world. Let them slip, let them fail and reject the urge of being a lawnmower parent.
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