This past weekend as I was perusing Facebook, I kept seeing the same article shared over and over in my feed—and it was mostly being shared by mom friends of mine who are also teachers. After seeing it shared a few times, I decided I’d better take a look…and I’m so glad I did. The article was written by a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous, on the site WeAreTeachers.com, and covers the behavior of a type of parent I’d never heard of before: lawnmower parents.
According to the article, lawnmower parents are the new helicopter parents.
What exactly are Lawnmower Parents, you ask? Well, as the name suggests, they are cutting things down, but in this case these things are obstacles in their child’s path. The article’s author says, “Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure.”
She cites as an example a dad who took time out of his busy work day to bring his daughter a metal water bottle that she’d left at home because she just couldn’t live without it. I mean, UGH, can you imagine what would happen if she had buy her own plastic water bottle from a vending machine, or —GASP!— drink from the drinking fountain? EEEK!
The article’s author says that she believes lawnmower parents have good intentions, but in the end, they are simply sabotaging their child’s future by mowing down any obstacles they might face before they face them.
“…in raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids,” he or she says. “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. The list goes on.”
Kids raised by lawnmower parents are going to have a rough transition to adulthood.
The lack of being able to deal with adverse situations is going to make adulthood unpleasant for these kids; in trying to save them from struggle, lawnmower parents are actually setting them up for failure. We have to let our kids fail while they’re young and suffer the natural consequences failure brings or they’ll fall into dysfunction and blame-shifting as adults. When I entered high school, I did so as a young teen who had, before this time, been good at just about everything she tried.