Fly away Helicopter parents, you’ve been pushed over by snow plough parents.
Parenting is a bit like astrology – you might be a Helicopter parent with a rising sign in Competitive or you might be a Tired parent with rising sign in Tiger. Now there’s a new parenting profile to add to your roster, and it’s the most intense one yet. Snow plough.
If you haven’t heard of this latest stereotype, these are the mums and dads who try to clear every obstacle from their kids’ paths in an effort to set them up for success, according to a recent article in The New Yorker, “Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost?” What’s more, Snow plough parents do so much for their kids — making everything so easy — that they inadvertently deprive their children of developing skills like problem-solving and conflict management.
Signs you are a Snow plough parent:
* You argue with teachers over your child’s grades;
* You expect your children to make faster progress in sporting activities and demand they be constantly assessed;
* You dress your children or wipe their bottoms well after they should be doing it themselves;
* You micro-manage your child’s homework and school projects, even when they don’t need your help;
* You’ve screamed from the sidelines at coaches and refs during sporting events.
While I hadn’t heard of the term until I read the piece, I’m all too familiar with the concept.
You know the type: They’re heavy-handed in their kids’ school projects, they call the teacher to complain about the less-than-stellar grade the child received, they continue to dress their kindy kid because the child simply doesn’t want to put on his own shirt.
The thing is: Failure is more than good. It’s essential.
Dominic Randolph, the headmaster of a New York City private school told The New York Times last year: “There [used to be] this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful. Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that…When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”
I get it. I understand the urge to make your child’s life easier! I know I’ll have to run interference for my kids sometimes in the years to come, but I will try my very best to sweep, not not plough, my way to help. Because, in the end, I want my kids to not need me for everything, but just really want me to cheer them on.
Are you a Snow plough parent?