Move over, helicopter parents – there is a new group of parents that are taking over, and not in a good way.
In the last few weeks, you may have heard the term “Lawnmower Parent” which has gained steam after anonymous middle school teacher shared a story with a “lawnmower dad”. The unnamed teacher shared her story of being called down to the main office in the middle of her planning period to pick up an item the teenager forgot. “Thinking it was something like an inhaler or money for dinner, I was happy to go retrieve it.”
The teacher was shocked to find that a father went out of his way to deliver an insulated water bottle for his teenage daughter. The father had texted his daughter back that she could use the water fountain, but the teen “had to have it out of the bottle.”
The teacher was so floored that she felt she needed to write a post about parenting today, and lawnmower parents.
Exactly what are lawn mower parents?
“Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place,” the teacher wrote.
"In raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids. We are…
Lawnmower parents will do things for their children, even though their children are old enough to handle things on their own… for example, forgetting their homework, lunch, or water bottle at home and expecting their parents to drop everything to bring it to them. Or asking their mother or father to contact the teacher and ask for an extension on an assignment rather than the student asking themselves.
“In raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids. We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle. A generation who panics or shuts down at the mere idea of failure. A generation for whom failure is far too painful, leaving them with coping mechanisms like addiction, blame, and internalization.”
This new-ish term reminds me of the term “bulldozer” style of parenting introduced a few years ago. The Bulldozer parent will forge ahead before their child, removing all obstacles, ensuring success at every turn. While well-intentioned and meant to “protect” the child from short-term harm, a bulldozer style of parenting ultimately results in a psychologically fragile child, fearful and avoiding failure, with never-learned coping strategies and poor resilience.
What do you think – do you agree with this anonymous teacher? Or do you think she’s exaggerating?