Lawnmower Parents: How You Can Avoid Being One (& Why You Should)! by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead

5 months ago
Lawnmower Parents: How You Can Avoid Being One (& Why You Should)!

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.

Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
This is so important, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead ! It always surprises me how much parents are doing for their kids these days that they think is helping, but in the long run, really isn't. Thank you for sharing!!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Yes, me too! I have to keep this in mind not only now but as my kids get older!
Erin Musto
I see this... now I know the term ♡ thanks Ann Marie
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I see it too, and I need to make sure I don't do it myself, especially because I see the consequences when kids reach college! :)
Katie Sloan
Guilty at times but definitely understand what happens when you have a 17 year old who struggles with decision making, goal setting and working hard.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Yes, this is the problem. I see it among my college students. Those who have not had a chance to fail or make their own decisions or be independent or speak for themselves... THEY are the ones who struggle. :(
Sheryl Gould
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead great article! I think it's especially hard for moms (including me) to let our kids fail. I see think this a lot with moms over-functioning with their kids homework and social lives. While we don't want our kids to end up experiencing pain, we cause more for them in the long run. We have to bite the bullet, allow them to learn from their mistakes and trust they will figure it out. Thanks for reminder!
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Exactly, Sheryl Gould ! But easier said than done sometimes. :)
Barb Desmarais
I agree with this 100% ! Protecting our kids from any kind of adversity, protects them from nothing. They enter the world ill equipped for challenges and no one gets through life without challenges. Yes, let them make their own college arrangements and allow them to learn from their mistakes. We learn the most through our mistakes.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Well put, Barb! Thanks for reading & contributing to this dialogue! Love our tribe! Thanks for bringing us together, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds !
Bri Montoya
I truly believe one of our biggest roles as parents is to prepare our children to walk into adulthood with confidence and skills to get them by, being a "lawnmower parent" definitely can get in the way of this role. It can be hard, but so important.
Mike Prochaska
Omg this worst then helicopter parents. I have a Dad friend who makes helicopters sounds at the park when other parents drive him crazy.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Mike Prochaska ! You and your friends must be hilarious to hang out with! :)

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