Lawnmower Parents: How You Can Avoid Being One (& Why You Should) by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
The latest breed of overbearing parent is the lawnmower parent. These moms and dads don't just hover like helicopter parents but rather they smooth the way for their kids, mowing down obstacles in their path. Also known as “snowplow parents,” lawnmower parents speak for their children, make decisions for them and rush in to “save” them from any potential problem or inconvenience, even as they enter their teenage and college years. However, while these parents may mean well, they can actually cause more harm than good.
Dr. Alicia R. Camlibel, who holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Seton Hall University, suggests that “this micromanaging of children’s lives is … inhibiting them from learning the essential skills of communicating, negotiating, learning from mistakes and making decisions ... It is also sending children the message that they are not good enough to do these things themselves.” So how can you avoid being a lawnmower parent? Try these four steps:
- Let your child speak for him or herself as much as possible.
- Encourage high school- and college-aged children to communicate and make arrangements with teachers, coaches, directors, admissions counselors, employers, etc., on their own.
- Allow your child to make mistakes, struggle, even fail. And be there for her when she does. Encourage her to learn from her mistakes and move forward.
- Empower your child to make his own decisions.
Read more about lawnmower parenting.
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