Move Aside Helicopter Moms, Here Come Lawnmower Parents

Aug 15th 2019

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Move Aside Helicopter Moms, Here Come Lawnmower Parents

We all learned about the helicopter parent in the early 2000s, while the term tiger mom was coined in 2011. The latest parenting style to emerge is the lawnmower parent. Watch out, because these moms and dads will intervene and "mow" down any obstacle their child may face so they never endure an inconvenience, problem or discomfort.

Weareteachers.com published an essay by a professor dealing with this in their classroom. This educator explained, "Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure," and considers this a "troubling trend."

While helicopter parents hover or swoop in to "rescue" their kids whenever they're in trouble, lawnmower parents don't need to rescue their children because they've already handled the issue.

According to ABC News, "If you say, 'Oh, I took care of this for you,' it inadvertently gives that message of 'you can't do this yourself, you can't succeed,'" said Stephanie Samar, a clinical psychologist at the Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute. "That can lead to other problematic things -- may be increased anxiety, low distressed tolerance -- [a] discomfort that comes with having conflict helplessness about their situation."

Samar says that this parenting style has parents questing "if I could make this easier for my child, why wouldn't I do that?" But she explained that "focusing on short-term parenting goals will take away from the practice of important, long-term goals that kids can benefit from like resiliency, grit, problem-solving, conflict resolution and coping skills." In other words, parents who do not allow their children to face obstacles are taking away the opportunity for them to learn how to problem solve and learn from their mistakes. 

In the end, there is no "right" or "wrong" way to parent. We all know our children and each one has different needs. Do what makes the most sense for your family while keeping in mind the end goal is to help them become an independent, loving, kind and competant adult.