The term “helicopter parent” is familiar to most of us to describe the parent who constantly hovers over their child to watch their every move. A more recent version of this is gaining attention – the “lawn mower”parent.
A lawn mower parent is described as one who mows down all
possible obstacle in their child’s path. On the surface, it sounds harmless
enough – as parents we want to help our children in any way we can. Many of us
would argue that one of our primary jobs as a parent is to help our children
navigate life. Where things start to get complicated is when parents take that
to the level of trying to eliminate all challenges, tough decisions and
disappointments for our children.
One of the greatest traits our children can have is
resilience. Life is full of hurdles and highs and lows. Children who have
learned that some days will be challenging, that life will have problems to
solve, and that they are capable people who can work their way through
difficult times will ultimately be happier adults. The ability to brainstorm
solutions and tap into available resources will serve children well all through
How do we set our children on the right path and avoid the
lawn mower urge? Starting early is critical.
A few tips to get started:
Encourage and praise independence with self-help
skills. (“You zipped your coat all by yourself!”)Take time to show and teach before you perform
simple life skills. (“I’m sorting my light colors and dark colors before they
go in the washing machine. Let me show you how the machine works.”)Teach your children to name and express their
emotions. (“You seem worried. Let’s talk about it and see if we can figure
something out.”)Share your own disappointments when appropriate
and model good coping […]