Just when you think the expectations of parenting can’t get any more intense you discover there’s yet another overly dedicated sub-breed beating you at the game. This time, it’s lawnmower parents.
And what exactly is a lawnmower parent, you ask? Let us explain.
Similar to helicopter parents, lawnmower parents are committed to the life and times of their children in a way that most of us could only aspire to be. They’re involved in everything, they’re hands on, and they expect to see results.
But where helicopter parents hover above and keep an eye on things, lawnmower parents go that one step further and stand in front of their children in a bid to clear the path ahead for them.
As explained by This Glorious Mess co-host Holly Wainwright, "These parents will clear every obstacle out of their child's way so that never have to face adversity."
For example, if a school assignment has got a child particularly stressed, a lawnmower parent will contact the teacher and demand an extension. Discomfort averted.
Potentially, a child may believe they deserve a spot on their netball team but for whatever reason they haven't been selected. Enter the lawnmower parent, who will phone up the team's coach and sell them like they're a top of the line car going cheap in an end of financial year sale.
If a university student aged child is wanting to move out but struggling to find a rental property due to their age, no problem. A lawnmower parent will simply put their name on the lease to take care of that legal obstacle.
In the early years of a child's life, being a lawnmower parent is potentially a good thing.
If they're in pain and you take charge in finding out the cause of that pain and a suitable treatment, that's obviously a good thing (and a 101 requirement of parenting).
If they're scared of going to daycare or school each day and you ask them why and consider a move, again, that can be a good thing.
Lawnmower parenting becomes more problematic, though, when children begin to reach their teens.
Listen: Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo explain the art of lawnmower parenting. Post continues...
Left unexposed to any form of discomfort or difficulty in their lives, lawnmower children struggle not only to find their independence but to also develop their own sense of self-confidence and learning to cope with some of the most basic scenarios in adult life.
They can also fail to develop an understanding that things will be okay in the end and that sometimes, bad things happen. Because lawnmower children are, fundamentally, unprepared for the adult world.
Cultivating the idea that your parents will always save you no matter what, Wainwright says, is a big problem. But it is one that can be easily solved. When you catch yourself interfering a bit too much, all you need do is step back and say, "I think I just lawnmower-ed a bit there" and move onto something else.
Trust us, your child will eventually thank you for it.
Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess below.