Lawnmower parents, also known as lawnmower moms or dads, have gained attention and criticism in recent years. Similar to helicopter parents, lawnmower parents are highly involved in their child’s life and attempt to clear any obstacles or challenges that may come their way. However, unlike helicopter parents who hover and rescue from above, lawnmower parents actively mow down any potential difficulties before their child even encounters them.
The term “lawnmower parent” was coined by education expert and author Jessica Lahey in an article for The New York Times in 2018. She described lawnmower parents as those who continuously shield their children from any discomfort, disappointment, or failure. Instead of allowing their children to face and overcome challenges, lawnmower parents clear the path and eliminate any potential hurdles.
This parenting style may seem well-intentioned, as parents naturally want to protect and support their children. However, it can have negative consequences in the long run. By removing all obstacles from their child’s path, lawnmower parents hinder their development of important life skills such as resilience, problem-solving, and independence.
Lawnmower parents often go to extreme lengths to ensure their child’s success and happiness. They may intervene in school matters, such as demanding better grades, speaking to teachers on their child’s behalf, or even completing assignments for them. In some cases, lawnmower parents may even contact potential employers or bosses to discuss their child’s performance or negotiate better opportunities.
This level of parental involvement can have detrimental effects on a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. When they constantly see their parents swooping in to remove all obstacles, children may develop a fear of taking risks or making mistakes. They may lack the skills and resilience needed to navigate challenges and setbacks independently, which can hinder their personal growth and success in the long run.
Moreover, lawnmower parenting can also negatively impact other individuals involved, such as teachers and school administrators. When parents excessively intervene in school matters, it creates a disruptive environment and may send the message that their child is entitled to special treatment. This can strain relationships between parents and educators and compromise the overall learning environment for all students.
In contrast, a more balanced approach to parenting can benefit children greatly. Allowing children to experience failure, handle challenges, and learn from their mistakes is essential for their personal growth and development. Parents can still be supportive and involved in their child’s life without micromanaging or removing all obstacles. Encouraging independence, problem-solving skills, and fostering a growth mindset are crucial for their success in the long run.
While it’s natural for parents to want the best for their children, it’s important to find a healthy balance between support and autonomy. Instead of being lawnmower parents who clear all obstacles, let’s strive to be guides and mentors, helping our children navigate life’s challenges and learn from their experiences.