Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe a mom or dad who constantly hovers over their children, overseeing every aspect of their life to an annoying degree. Most of us know at least one or two individuals from the playground, park or school who fall into this category. Some of us might even self-identify.
But what is a… lawnmower parent? According to a teacher, who wrote an anonymous post that has since gone viral, there is a new breed of parent in town — and educators aren’t the least bit happy with it. The viral post from the site WeAreTeachers declares that “Lawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents & We Are Not Here for It.”
“Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure,” the author explains, after rehashing a story about a parent returning to school to drop off his child’s water bottle after receiving a slew of angry texts from them and a refusal to drink out of the water fountain. As if, right?
The author uses this instance to point out that basically, instead of preparing their children for challenges, they “mow obstacles down” so that they won’t have to experience them in the first place. You know, because drinking out a water fountain is really so bad...
The author does point out that he/she believes this new breed of parents is coming from a good place. Perhaps they even faced shame around failure themselves, as children or felt that their parents abandoned them in their moments of trouble. Maybe some of these kids suffer from anxiety? And sure, none of us really want to see our kids struggle or in pain.
But here is the problem: if we raise kids who don’t really have to struggle, we may not be creating a happier generation of kids. “We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle,” they write. “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. The list goes on.”
And the ultimate problem is, by eliminating this struggle in their youth, it is likely they will arrive at adulthood unequipped to deal with failure. Which, the article points out, will likely have some serious ramifications in college.
Okay, so it is likely that many of us lawnmower parent to a degree. We are only human, right? But, if we want our children to be happy and healthy in the long run, we have to start parenting accordingly. “If we want our children to be successful, healthy adults, we must teach them how to process through their own challenges, respond to adversity, and advocate for themselves,” they write.
While a tad harsh, this post has some totally legit points that every parent should take note of if they want to raise healthy, well-adjusted children who will be able to navigate through life's twists and turns post-high school. After all, it won't kill your kid if they have to drink water out fountain for one day — and it might even motivate them to remember to bring their water bottle to school in the future.