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Helicopter Parenting vs Snowplow Parenting: Similarities and Differences

We now live in an age where parenting styles have their own names. Instead of just being called overbearing, overprotective, or dominating, parents are now defined as snowplow, helicopter, or lawn-mower parents. But what separates them from the rest?

To be frank, snowplow and helicopter parenting styles are very similar. Both types will do just about anything to make sure their child succeeds and has the most fulfilling life possible. Doesn't sound too bad, right? However, these kinds of parenting styles get a bad rep because they are such a dominating force in their child's life that they're not able to think for themselves, fail, or even thrive without the help of their mom or dad.

While one parent may hover as their child's doing homework, the other may step in and actually do their child's homework. Nevertheless, aside from their differences, these two parenting styles just want their child to live a stress-free life even if it stresses the parents out the most.

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10 SIMILAR: THEY MICROMANAGE

Being a micromanager is essentially being a backseat driver for all things in life. Whatever a child does, their parent is right over their shoulder making sure it's the right or healthy decision.

The problem with being a micromanager is that one day when their child grows up and moves out, they're not going to be able to do things for themselves without wondering what their managing mom or dad thinks.

9 DIFFERENT: SNOWPLOWERS FEEL ENTITLED

According to educators at Today's Parent, snowplower parent's have a tendency to have a "sense of entitlement." If their child doesn't do well in school or gets a bad grade on a test, they blame the teacher or the school district. In their eyes, it's never their child's fault because that would mean it's also their fault. Considering they're the ones helping their child in every stretch of the imagination, whenever their child does well, they do well, and whenever their child does poorly, they do poorly.

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8 SIMILAR: PARENTS WILL GET RID OF SPEEDBUMPS TO ENSURE A EASY ROAD FOR THEIR CHILD

Both helicopter and snowplowing parents will do whatever it takes to make sure their child makes the team, gets a solid grade, or lands the job. If there's competition in their child's way, their parents will do everything in their power to remove the speedbump.

These kinds of parents do this so that their child never has to deal with pain or struggle. It's thoughtful reasoning behind their parenting, but it's a tough approach as it doesn't help them grow.

7 DIFFERENT: HELICOPTER PARENTS LOSE SIGHT OF THEMSELVES FOR THEIR CHILD

If you're familiar with the College Admissions Scandal then you're aware that parents will do just about anything to get their kids an upstanding education. What these parents tend to forget is that things can go awry and it looks worse on themselves than it does the child.

Back in the early '90s, helicopter parent Wanda Webb Holloway wanted her daughter to succeed in cheerleading so badly that she actually hired a hitman to kill her daughter's biggest competitor's mother so that she would shine. Yes, Wanda was caught and served jail time for her horrendous act, but it just goes to show that some helicopter parents forget how it makes them look.

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6 SIMILAR: BOTH KIDS TEND TO NOT COPE WELL

One of the biggest downfalls about this kind of parenting is how it affects the kids. Sure, helicopter and snowplowing parents think it's beneficial to give their kids everything under the sun, shielding them from fear and doubt. But in actuality, it hinders them from learning how to fail.

As they age, kids are less likely to try new things because they're scared of the outcome. They've never failed at something before and since their parents have hidden that feeling from them all these years, the thoguht makes it scarier. This can deeply affect a child's independence and how they react to situations in life.

5 DIFFERENT: SNOWPLOWERS MAY WRITE A CHECK OR TWO

Oddly enough, Fatherly explains that most snowplow parents tend to have a lot of money. This is shown in the way they'll bribe others in hopes of getting their child what they want. Money talks so if they can write a check to have their child speak at graduation, become valedictorian, be team captain, or even make it into college (cough, cough Lori Laughman), then that's what they'll do.

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4 SIMILAR: THEY BOTH WANT WHAT'S BEST FOR THEIR KIDS (EVEN IF IT HURTS SOMEONE ELSE)

Every parent who loves as hard and as fully as helicopter and snowplow parents obviously means well. Both women and men wouldn’t volunteer to do the homework of a sixth-grader or continue to do hair cut appointments for their young-adult children if they didn’t care.

The thing is, sometimes this form of parenting hurts others. Whether it’s paying the coach of the softball team to choose your kid instead of someone else or using the adult-mind of a parent to take their projects on instead of them — someone is getting hurt along the way. These kinds of parents just don’t see it that way because they’re so blinded by their own child thriving.

3 DIFFERENT: HELICOPTER PARENTS HOVER

To be fair, both helicopter and snowplow parents hover. But helicopter parents are called “helicopters” for a reason. They hover so low they take control of the body they created.

These are the parents that get upset when their child gets an -A instead of a +A. These are the parents that call their kids’ friends on their behalf because they don’t like the way they’re handing their friendship. Helicopter parents hover so hard that it can be suffocating for their kids, yet they’re too busy hovering to really notice.

Related: 10 Things Helicopter Moms Are Doing Right, 6 Things They Shouldn’t Worry About, And 5 To Stop Doing Immediately

2 SIMILAR: BEING A HELICOPTER AND A SNOWPLOW DOESN'T END ONCE THEIR 'CHILD' BECOMES AN ADULT

Parents who do not partake in either form of parenting may think this kind of behavior ends once they’re have graduated high school and are off to college, but it only continues. A parent is a parent for life and you can’t just shut off that function just because your kid turns is an adult.

Both types of parents will make sure their children continue to thrive in college (by sending a few emails or papers if need be) and even in their grown-up relationships. It. Doesn’t. Stop.

1 DIFFERENT: SNOWPLOW PARENTS WILL DO THEIR KIDS WORK FOR THEM

Helicopter parents may watch their kids do their homework or make sure their school projects are done to perfection, but they typically hover, watching from over their shoulder.

Snowplow parents, on the other hand, will literally do their child’s homework, exam, and projects for them. If it means their kid will get a better grade or score and outperform other kids their age, then by all means.

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