The newest embodiment of the hyper-protective parenting clan, snowplough mums and dads are described as those who try to clear the way for their children so they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t encounter any slippery slopes on the path to adulthood.
Typical behaviours of the snowplough parents can include booking their adult childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doctor appointments, dropping off forgotten homework/school lunches/violins and speaking to teachers if their child doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like the group theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been put in.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Helicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century,Ã¢â‚¬Â Claire Cain Miller and Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote in The New York Times.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowploughs: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s path to success, so they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.Ã¢â‚¬Â
While snowplough parents no doubt have all the best intentions and see themselves as prepping the path to a stress-less future, experts warn that the practice can leave young people lacking problem-solving skills and facing anxiety when presented with difficult situations they have to deal with without their parents help.
Madeline Levine, a psychologist and the author of Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies or Ã¢â‚¬ËœFat Envelopes,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã‚Â believes clearing obstacles out of childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s way while theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re growing up can actually lead to more problems in adulthood.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Here are parents who have spent 18 years grooming their kids with what they perceive as advantages, but theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not,Ã¢â‚¬Â Dr. Levine told NY Times.
Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, told the publication that snowplough parenting can actually set children back.Ã‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The point is to prepare the kid for the road, instead of preparing the road for the kid,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
Snowplough parents join lawnmower parents making their mark in the pre-emptive parenting stakes.Ã‚Â
The lawnmower parenting term was first coined last year by an anonymous writer on the We Are Teachers blog and is defined as Ã¢â‚¬Å“parents who go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle or failure.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t experience them in the first place.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Like their snowploughing counterparts, lawnmower parentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ intentions are likely well meaning, but they also could actually be doing more harm than good.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think that most lawnmower parents come from a good place. But in raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids,Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â the author who coined the phrase wrote.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“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.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Suddenly, slummy parenting doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem so bad.