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 donâ€™t encounter any slippery slopes on the path to adulthood.
Typical behaviours of the snowplough parents can include booking their adult childâ€™s doctor appointments, dropping off forgotten homework/school lunches/violins and speaking to teachers if their child doesnâ€™t like the group theyâ€™ve been put in.
â€œHelicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near oneâ€™s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century,â€ Claire Cain Miller and Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote in The New York Times.
â€œSome affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowploughs: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their childâ€™s path to success, so they donâ€™t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.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 â€˜Fat Envelopes,â€™Â believes clearing obstacles out of childrenâ€™s way while theyâ€™re growing up can actually lead to more problems in adulthood.
â€œHere are parents who have spent 18 years grooming their kids with what they perceive as advantages, but theyâ€™re not,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.Â
â€œThe point is to prepare the kid for the road, instead of preparing the road for the kid,â€ she said.
Snowplough parents join lawnmower parents making their mark in the pre-emptive parenting stakes.Â
The lawnmower parenting term was first coined last year by an anonymous writer on the We Are Teachers blog and is defined as â€œparents who go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle or failure.
â€œInstead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids wonâ€™t experience them in the first place.â€
Like their snowploughing counterparts, lawnmower parentsâ€™ intentions are likely well meaning, but they also could actually be doing more harm than good.
â€œI 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,â€Â the author who coined the phrase wrote.
â€œWe 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.â€
Suddenly, slummy parenting doesnâ€™t seem so bad.