You may have heard of helicopter parenting – a parenting style in which the parent hovers over the child (or teen, or young adult offspring) and swoops in to solve their problems for them. There is now a new version of helicopter parenting. It is called lawnmower parenting.
Lawnmower parenting take things further than helicopter parents do. Helicopter parents hover nearby, and swoop down to solve their children’s problems before the child can act. Lawnmower parents mow down all potential problems, discomforts, and hurt feelings before they happen.
In general, lawnmower parents are doing this because they honestly believe it is helping their kids. These parents may have been bullied as a child, or felt neglected by their own parents in times of crisis. As a result, they go overboard with efforts to prevent their own kids from having to struggle.
Unfortunately, lawnmower parenting is actually detrimental to a child’s development. Dr. Karen Fincher is a professor in Duquesne University’s School of Pharmacy where she teaches oncology. She listed some ways lawnmower parenting causes harm:
* She or he becomes poorly equipped to deal with routine growing and learning experiences. This could mean dealing with annoying roommates, asking for directions, and coping with disappointment.
* She or he does not develop a sense of personal motivation or drive (because they only know how to follow orders from the lawnmower parent).
* She or he can’t make a decision, big or small, without the guidance of others.
* She or he constantly feels not good enough to do something themselves.
How can you avoid becoming a lawnmower parent? You have to learn how to get comfortable with allowing your child to make mistakes – and to learn from them. It is also a good idea to insist that your child do all communication first – with teachers, roommates, bosses – before you step in to assist.
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