Are You Lawnmower Parents Who Won’t Let Your Child Fail At Anything?

by | September 13, 2018

Lawnmower Parents: a term that describes Moms and Dads who will go to any lengths to prevent their children from dealing with any type of struggle.

A recent essay by a teacher describing Lawnmower Parenting has gone viral.  “Lawnmower Parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place,” says the teacher who has managed to remain anonymous. 

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lawnmower parents

We’ve all heard of Helicopter Parenting and as the name suggests, they spend a lot of time hovering. They’re always right there, close to their kid, ready to swoop in and direct, help or protect (usually before it is needed). However, Lawnmower parents are always a step ahead of their child, smoothing their path and mowing down obstacles. Common tactics of both include interfering significantly with their grown-up children’s lives, such as complaining to employers when their children don’t get a job or even writing out their children’s college applications.

Do you know anybody who fits this description? How about yourself?

Read these 10 signs to see if you’re Lawnmower Parents.

  • You drop whatever you’re doing and race to the school with forgotten items when your kid texts you.

Do you drop stop and roll as soon as your child texts you to bring their forgotten water bottle, scarf, homework journal even if it makes you late for an appointment or work?

  • You tidy their room, pick up their dinner plates and put away their laundry.

Are your kids well able to take care of their own chores? Do you do them for them anyway if they say they’re tired. Anything so they don’t have to struggle right?

Is it always the incompetent teachers fault that “Little Jimmy” has a failing homework grade? It could never be his fault for skipping out on doing his assignments, right?

  • You push for them to be in classes or activities above their level.

Do you call the school to have them put into advanced classes for a confidence boost, even if they’re really not at that level academically?

  • You talk for them in uncomfortable situations.

Do you handle your kids business when they should be developing the skills to speak for themselves? Do you order for them in restaurants? Do you call their dance teacher to see what it will take for “Sally” to get a solo?

  • You break up fights between friends and siblings before they get a chance to resolve them.

Do you distract and redirect your kids when they’re in the middle of a dispute before they get a chance to learn valuable conflict resolution skills?

  • You spend all night Googling math problems and science facts to “help” with homework.

Do you rush to help your child with their homework or assignments just to make sure it’s perfect instead of telling them to look at their textbooks or research online themselves?

  • Your kid melts down at even the thoughts of failure.

Does your kid get anxiety and have meltdowns when they realize that they’re unable to do something for themselves because you’ve literally done everything for them.

  • You re-homed your family pet(s) before your child was born.

Did you say bye bye to Benji before you even brought your bundle of joy home from the hospital just so you could prevent them from being scratched or bitten?

  • You “help” with college applications.

Did you write your child’s college application or even their essay to ensure acceptance?

I’m going to raise my hand up right here and say that I’m definitely guilty of a few of these parenting infractions. We all want the best for our kids, nobody wants them to feel inferior or inadequate. With that said they need to be allowed a little space to learn valuable coping skills that they can carry with them into adulthood.

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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