Every school, every district has them – helicopter parents. These highly ‘involved’ breed of mothers and fathers can be seen constantly fussing and worrying over their brood. Not just bordering, but crossing all the limits of smothering, these parents sometimes cause the child to cower in fear by the mere mention of his or her parent. However, even this breed of over-indulging guardians is being superseded with what is now being referred to as ‘Lawnmower Parents.’
Lawnmower parents are an evolved breed of helicopter parents. Instead of just hovering, fussing and worrying for their kids, these parents take matters in their own hands, even before the ‘issue’ reaches their wards. Essentially, lawnmower parents rally ahead and clear a path for their child before they even take a step, reported Parent Further.
Lawnmower parents try to pre-empt possible problems and try and mow down any and all possible obstacles, perceived or realistic, in their child’s way. Explaining the newly developing epidemic among new parents, behavior experts and authors of Selfish, Scared and Stupid, Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory said,
“Lawnmower mums and dad are out there smoothing the way for their kids, giving them a soft, even surface to move forward on.”
According to Primary to High School transition specialist Jenny Atkinson, Lawnmower parents are constantly evolving and unmistakably take on different forms depending on the age of their child and his or hers developmental stage.
“During primary school years, lawnmower parents may take on a more aggressive style; pushing their child’s agenda ahead of other children or trying to have consequences for their child’s actions reduced or dismissed.”
During teenage years, lawnmower parents can reach a level of control that is very stifling for their teen, shared Atkinson. Needless to say, teenagers can and eventually do become resentful about being so micromanaged. They become rebellious and constantly try to ‘do it their own way’, she said.
However, it all begins when the child is just a helpless infant. Lawnmower parenting forms commonly in the form of a parent’s excessive anxiety about their child’s safety, and whether they’re developing “normally” according to medical standards.
Why are parents today so obsessed with their kids? In the good old days, kids used to grow without their parents constantly hovering over them. They used to fall, get hurt and suffer from common illnesses. But the primary difference, then and now, is the access to overwhelming and often contradictory knowledge at the fingertips, revealed a mom who wished to be identified only as Natasha.
“I am just a new mum and my girl isn’t even four weeks old yet. I’m a science graduate so I should know that germs aren’t all that bad. We need germs to build immunity. But even though nothing went wrong during the pregnancy or birth, I am paranoid. [My daughter] is very healthy but I’m worried I will make a mistake and kill my daughter.”
Natasha confessed it is the plethora of information online — especially in the so-called mummy forums — that caused her to become paranoid.
“Instead of following my maternal instinct, I am constantly looking at Dr. Google. I’m scared of [my dog] becoming jealous and killing my daughter, as I’ve heard of dogs suddenly attacking kids. I change her nappy at the slightest bit of wee or poo as I’m scared of giving her an infection or nappy rash. I jump at the slightest noise she makes, even if she’s happy just laying there making noises. I’m scared of driving my daughter in the car.”
All this running around like a paranoid chicken eventually takes a toll on the parents, but they choose to ignore the same for the sake of their wards. Experts are advising parents to simply take it a little easy, when it comes to parenting, reported 4BC. The kids will err and so will you, it’s not the end of the world. When your child becomes capable of doing something, let him or her take the first steps. If they succeed, celebrate. If they fail, encourage them to try a little harder. However, do not try and clear their path for them. Though they may grumble now, your kids will thank you later in their life.
[Image Credit | Parents Universe, Alive]