Parenting Tips

Lawnmower Parent or Helicopter Parent? What Does it Mean, and Which One Are You?

Jenny Many Editorial Team

Researchers believe that there are new types of parents, lawnmower parents or helicopter parents, who are emerging in today’s generation. It is not particularly healthy for a child's upbringing. Scientists have called these kinds of parents "detrimental" to their child's health. If you are one of these parents, then you might be harming your child more than you would think.

It is important that you recognize these parenting patterns so that your kid can be more resilient in facing the world. Parenting is one of the hardest responsibilities in a person’s life. But at some point, you will have to let go of your child and provide more freedom for them to face life’s ups and downs.

This article will highlight the two types of parenting styles and how you can understand if you are one of the lawnmower or helicopter parents.

Who is a Lawnmower Parent?

When your child is young, probably below the age of 8 to 10, they would continuously need your support. They would require you to protect them from harm as they are likely to be most vulnerable at this age. But as your child grows older, you would need to give them space to figure out their own life. A lawnmower parent cannot do this. If you are a lawnmower parent,  you will constantly be intervening in your child's activities. You will be fighting your child's battles and challenges for them throughout their childhood or even adult life. If things don’t go according to your plan for your child, you might become upset and emotional.

Are You a Lawnmower Parent?

You might not let them have the friends they like unless you approve of it. You might even monitor their actions at school, college or university, to prevent your child from harm. Even small challenges your child faces, you will not let them resolve it themselves. You will want your child to behave the way you picture them to, paving a specific path for their entire life. You might decide what university they will go to, or what they will study in the future, without their consent. It might even involve everyday situations such as not letting your child handle their conflicts at school while they are playing with friends. You might also constantly help them with their homework or do their homework for them. Being such a lawnmower parent will lead you to have trust and confidence issues with your child. You will want to protect them from all anxious and difficult problems.

What Can You Do About it?

If this sounds like you, it is best that you take a step backward, and allow your child to experience their life. Being a lawnmower parent will be difficult for your child to handle and your child will experience low self-confidence. Your child will not think that they can resolve any situation without your help and will continuously depend on you.  You will need to realize that it is not your job to keep your child happy all the time. You will need to teach your child to be more capable on their own and let them try things that you do not always approve. You will need to teach them skills that make them proficient by themselves. You will need to realize that you cannot control your children. After some years, it is best for them to carve out their own lives.

Who is a Helicopter Parent?

Helicopter parents are like Lawnmower parents but are relatively less intrusive. Helicopter parents are known to always ‘hover' over their child like a helicopter. If you are a helicopter parent, you will always be observing your child, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are overly concerned about their child's successes and failures at school or university. While they do not necessarily carve their educational path for their child, they will have a major involvement. Helicopter parents might make decisions for their child at a young age and during school might contact their teachers about grades. The parents usually do this because of fear of their children not meeting certain expectations. Helicopter parents are also generally overly concerned about how society perceives their kids.

Are You a Helicopter Parent?

If you are a helicopter parent, rather than just leaving your children at school, you continuously follow them. Even when they need to do things on their own, you will have an opinion about it. You would want your children to maintain high grades and will take failures very seriously. You will not approve of them if they get low grades at school. Even when they are adults, you will always worry about their careers and how they will fit into society. You will do this because you do not want to see your child hurt, which suggests that you are overprotective. You do not realize that your child needs to manage their successes and failures in life. You will not trust your child to gain certain life skills on their own. Similar to Lawnmower parents, your child will have difficulty in coping skills.

What Can You Do About it?

You need to understand that failure is a part of life, and your child will need to manage this on their own. Life throws many challenges for people of all ages, and your child needs to understand how to handle life’s challenges. Similar to Lawnmower parents, your child will have consequences of low self-confidence when they find a job or enter university. You will need to make sure that you do not pressure your child to maintain high grades. It’s okay for your child to fail at subjects sometimes and then slowly improve in their own time. You can learn to focus on your child’s strengths and help them develop their strengths further. You can also stop caving into peer pressure from other parents and society.


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