Get outta the way, the lawnmower parents are here to fight for their young…

Also known as Snowplough or bulldozer parents. It appears the term was coined by former high school teacher David McCullough. In 2015, he published a book, You Are Not Special, in which he implores parents to back off and let their children fail. It was based on a 2012 commencement speech he gave to high school students.

The term “lawnmower parent” was used by an anonymous writer on the We Are Teachers blog and is defined as “parents who 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,” the blog continues.

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“But in raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids,” the blog read.

“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.”

The difference between ‘helicopter parents’ and ‘lawnmower parents’ is that while the former hover over their kids ready to swoop in and rescue their children whenever an issue arises, the latter bypass the hovering stage, shares Yahoo 7.

Instead, they ‘mow’ or ‘plough’ right through to sort a problem before it has even been raised.

Experts are concerned about the message this is sending children

“If you say, ‘Oh, I took care of this for you,’ it inadvertently gives that message of ‘you can’t do this yourself, you can’t succeed’,” Stephanie Samar, a clinical psychologist at the Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, told ABC News.

“That can lead to other problematic things – maybe increased anxiety, low distressed tolerance – (a) discomfort that comes with having conflict helplessness about heir situation.”

Explaining that lawnmower parents often focus on short-term goals, for example a parent calling a teacher because they don’t agree with the grade their child got, Stephanie went on to warn that this can hinder children from developing coping skills.

“When parents are removing obstacles for their child they are really taking away that opportunity for kids to learn those problem-solving techniques,” she said.

We are having a chat on Facebook today about different parenting styles. Jump over and join in!

Read more:

  • I love these new nicknames and terms for parenting styles. I must say that although I know everyone parents differently, I find both types of parents mentioned in the article (helicopter and lawnmower) to be a little frustrating to spend significant amounts of time with.


  • The quicker children learn to stand on their own two feet and overcome the obstacles before them the better – they become street wise, money wise and able to cope in this big bad world of ours.


  • I hope I’m not a helicopter parent, I’ve tried not to be, I think my kids are learning resilience ok


  • I like this new term lawnmower parents. I know a few people like that. And I do often think why do they do it?!


  • I don’t think I have to stress about being a lawnmower parent. As long as we teach kids that if they need help they can ask for it.


  • We shouldn’t remove obstacles and take away opportunities for our kids to learn problem-solving techniques indeed.


  • Sometimes young children get a shock more than they actually hurt themselves. If they don’t appear to be hurt at all, we tell them they are OK. Of course a child is going to cry if he/she hurts himself/herself and may hurt for a minute or so. It can also be frustrating for them and they need to be able to release it rather than bottle it up and then cry for a lot longer. To say a child is a “cry baby” because they cry – how about waiting a couple of minutes before judging. A child (the same as an adult) can have bruising or torn skin not visible to you. One of my children hurt himself a few weeks ago. His long pants weren’t torn but he had skin off his leg and it was bleeding and then it started running down his leg. Other people couldn’t see that. I got the same injury once. The difference was I slipped and bumped my leg on the pointed corner of a glass top coffee table. Fortunately I didn’t damage the table at all but I got a nasty cut on my leg (not quite deep enough for stitches but it had to be cleaned and taped)


  • Most parents of the kids in my class are like this actually.


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