Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
A few nights ago, I mentioned to my pregnant wife that I would do everything in my power to ensure that our baby never struggled with anything in life. She immediately agreed. But then we began speaking about becoming too overprotective of our soon-to-be daughter. A growing part of me says we wouldn’t be doing her any favors if we kept her completely away from any sort of inconvenience or struggle that she encounters in life. My oldest sister and her husband constantly hover over their kids to the point that they never leave their side. This can’t be healthy for a child, can it?Over the last few years, labels that describe overparenting have become the norm. Click To Tweet
Over the last few years, labels that describe overparenting have become the norm. You may have even heard of a few such as:
- Tiger moms
- Eagle dads
- Helicopter parents
Now, the term “lawnmower parent” has been added to the mix. I tried to find the original source of this label to give the person who first used it credit, but my search yielded no results.
However, after reading several different articles, the common explanation is that lawnmower parents mow down anything that gets in their kids’ way so that they don’t experience hardship, failure, or struggles.
Another term I discovered in my search was “curling parenting”. These are parents that sweep away anything that might cause their child’s road to be anything but perfectly smooth.
Is it Possible You’ve Become One?Sometimes, overparenting can stem from your own childhood. Click To Tweet
It is often difficult to pinpoint and evaluate our own actions, but when it comes to the benefit of our children, it should be a huge priority. Sometimes, overparenting can stem from your own childhood. Perhaps you felt that your parents weren’t available enough for you or you wish they had been more accommodating or helpful to you in your times of need.
In response, perhaps you pledged to make your child’s “growing up years” easier by being there to help whenever you could. What I mean is helping your kids whenever, wherever, and however you could. So, how can you tell if your parenting is closing in on lawnmower territory? These examples can help:
- Always Avoiding Conflict – If you go out of your way to ensure that your child experiences no conflict from the get-go, then you may be a lawnmower parent. For example, buying duplicate toys so that there’s no fighting at playdates.
- No Help, All Do – Your kids will need help with their homework at some point. However, if you’re actually doing their work for them, then you’re mowing the lawn really close to the ground.
- To the Rescue – A helicopter parent may check off all the things their child needs before they get on the bus for school. Lawnmower parents, on the other hand, will literally drive to the school if their child just so happens to forget their favorite pencil so that they feel comfortable taking their test.
- “Hey, Teacher, Leave My Kid Alone!” – Let’s say your child gets a bad grade in biology. Most parents would encourage their child to try harder or discuss things with their instructor. A lawnmower parent, however, will go toe-to-toe with the teacher about their child’s grade.
If You Are One, It’s Time to Let the Grass Grow Between Mowings!
Lawnmower parents obliterate any obstacle before it even comes into their child’s field of view. Click To TweetLawnmower parents obliterate any obstacle before it even comes into their child’s field of view. While this may seem like the right thing to do, it’s important to understand why it can have such a negative effect on your child’s development.
By getting rid of any discomfort, opposition, or sense of struggle, lawnmower parents could end up keeping their children from learning how to:
- Deal with discomfort
- Solve their own problems
- Develop their own confidence
- Establish mental strength
- Deal with mental health issues
Let’s Talk About It
If you’re struggling with your current role as a parent or want help with what’s currently on your mind, then Rice Psychology Group is here to help. Our team of licensed psychologists and mental health counselors in Tampa will listen to your story in a comfortable and relaxing environment to ensure that you’re supported through the entire process. Reach out to us in Tampa today to learn more about our services.