Lawnmower parents are the latest generation of overbearing parents who are overly involved in their children’s lives. They continue to micromanage, interfere, and arrange. Their objective is to shield them from failure, disappointment, discomfort, and adversity. They may also harm their social and personal development.
Lawnmower parents, like the more well-known Helicopter Parents, are overly involved in their child’s life to protect them from disappointment or discomfort. While they may believe they are helping their child, lawnmower parents can have a negative impact on their child’s problem-solving skills, leaving them insecure and unable to deal with failure.
Let’s get to know Lawnmower Parents better now.
A lawnmower parent, named after the machine used to cut grass, will “mow down” any obstacles their child may encounter. Lawnmower parents rush forward to save the child from any inconvenience, problem, or discomfort.
This may appear to be similar to helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting entails hovering or closely monitoring a child’s every move, whereas lawnmower parenting entails more intervention.
A lawnmower parent may:
- Complete their child’s homework or projects.
- Email teachers to debate grades.
- Remove their child from potentially hazardous situations.
- Others are to blame for their child’s mistakes.
- Intervene in disputes between friends, teachers, coaches, and others.
- Make unreasonable requests for their child’s accommodations.
- Inquire with professors about grades or extensions.
- Inquire with potential employers about interviews.
Lawnmower offspring are more likely to:
- Inadequate communication skills.
- Personal motivation and drive are lacking.
- Inability to make decisions.
- Lack of self-assurance.
- Have heightened anxiety.
Because they do not want to see their child suffer or struggle, lawnmower parents may attempt to manage their child’s life. However, by removing obstacles and setbacks for their children, they may be negatively impacting their child’s development of life skills. Children of lawnmower parents may be self-conscious about their abilities or struggle to accept failure. When confronted with problems, they may panic or shut down. In the long run, a child raised by lawnmower parents may begin to interpret difficulties as personal failures, blaming themselves for setbacks. This can result in increased anxiety, a low tolerance for pain, and feelings of helplessness.
It instils in your child the belief that they are incapable of dealing with difficult situations. Unless you are there every step of the way, they will expect to fail rather than succeed.
The parents are doing everything possible to pave the way for their children. These parents don’t want their children to ever hit a wall, trip and fall, or get lost, so they’re constantly putting themselves out ahead, doing everything they can to ensure their children have the easiest journey possible.
These children are taught that they are not capable of doing things on their own. In some ways, the lawnmower parent implies to the child that they are unable to do it on their own.
Furthermore, children who are always served life on a silver platter with no indication of struggle are more likely to struggle when confronted with life’s ups, downs, twists, and turns. They are also less likely to recognise how fortunate they are.
Lawnmower parenting can have an impact on parents as well. When parents spend their time interfering, arranging, and negotiating on their child’s behalf, they may become overwhelmed and stressed. They may spend so much time on their child in an attempt to make their child’s life easier that they have little free time left. This can have physical and mental consequences for the parent, including depression, anxiety, tension headaches, ulcers, and high blood pressure.
The consequences for children can be severe. Children who are rarely or never faced with significant challenges, feel the sting of failure, or navigate a difficult journey are more likely to become less resilient, less confident, and more anxious. The only way to truly know if you can bounce back, stand strong, or muddle through is to have to do so in small and large ways over and over throughout your life. And if their parents are always one — or five — steps ahead of them, clearing the way, they’ll never get a chance to get up, dust themselves off, and get back in the game.
Our children must learn to deal with disappointment. They must learn that they will not always get what they want. They must understand that we will not always be present to fight their personal, academic, or professional battles.
Getting Over Lawnmower Parenting.
If you suspect you are a lawnmower parent, changing your parenting style can help you and your child become more independent.
Here are a few alternatives to lawnmower parenting.
Be truthful with your children.
While it is important to support your child, it is also critical to recognise when your child is in the wrong. Encourage your child on a regular basis and let them know that you believe in them to make good decisions now and in the future. Allow them to make mistakes, even big ones, and learn as a group from them. Sharing your knowledge and guiding your children is important, but you also want to be supportive. Just don’t step in and try to do everything for them.
Don’t try to solve problems.
When problems arise with your children, avoid getting involved right away. Whether it’s a major conflict at school or a minor disagreement with friends, it’s critical to give children the opportunity to work things out on their own before interfering. Allow your child to speak for himself. Whether it’s ordering a meal at a favorite restaurant, asking a store associate where something is, or speaking with a teacher to make up a missed assignment. Allow your child to express themselves verbally. Only after your child attempts communication on their own should you, if necessary, intervene. For example, if your child misplaces a friend’s school book, have him/her consult with the friend and the librarian before making a decision and dealing with the potential consequences.
Provide problem-solving strategies.
Moving away from lawnmower parenting does not preclude you from paying child support. When your child faces a challenge, seize the opportunity to impart wisdom and counsel. Ask them what they believe they can do to solve the problem and make suggestions. This allows them to rely on you as a parent while also teaching them to take responsibility for their actions and solve their own problems. Allowing your child to fall is an important part of their development. As difficult as it is to witness, it is when our child falls that they learn the most. This is when the wheels in their heads start turning, trying to figure out how to get back up or right their wrong.
Concentrate on your independence.
It is difficult to change parenting styles overnight, especially if you are used to being involved in your child’s daily life. Remind yourself that your ultimate goal is independence. Your child should be able to care for themselves rather than relying on you all the time. We want our children to be self-sufficient and not always rely on their parents. Our job as parents is to raise compassionate, hardworking, capable adults and then set them free.
However, there are times when getting involved in your child’s problems is both appropriate and beneficial.
If your child is being bullied, you may need to intervene. This could include speaking with school officials, requesting safety precautions, or removing your child from the situation if necessary.
Helping your child when things go wrong, such as bringing them their forgotten homework or giving them a ride when they miss the bus, isn’t always a bad thing. Every child will make mistakes, and it is critical to show your child that they can come to you for help. It only becomes a problem if you are constantly rescuing your child from their errors.
The more you remind yourself of this, the better you’ll be at ensuring they can survive on their own in this big, loud, crazy world.