We have all heard of the overbearing Tiger Mom, the overprotective Helicopter Parent and the controversial Free-Range parent. But there is a new term for a parenting type that many parents are finding may fit them to a T!
Snowplow parenting is a term used for parents who is always moving obstacles out of the way for their child. Like a snowplow moves snow out of the way for drivers. These parents are actively working toward removing anything that may be hard or difficult for their children to handle. They want their kids to be successful at everything, so they remove any challenges that their child may fail at. These are the type of parents who are in the principals office asking for an extension for a late assignment or pleading their case why their kid should be able to take that test again.
The difference between a helicopter parent and a snowplow parent is the motivation. The helicopter parents is always around because they are afraid of their kid getting physically or emotionally hurt. Their motivation is fear. A snowplow parent is micro-managing to ensure success in their kids future.
I realized that I might be a little bit snowplowey myself. Here's my story...
My oldest will be starting 7th grade in 2 weeks. At the end of the school last year my daughter had to sign up for her elective for the next year. She had just started showing interest in singing and I tried to sway her toward chorus. She was set on going for ASB (student government). She had to write an essay and turn in an application and during the summer we found out she got in. A few weeks later my daughter got a information pack from the ASB adviser along with information about the first field trip.
Before school starts, as a get to know each other activity, ASB is going to a local university for a low-ropes course challenge. Like something you would see on a Road Rules Challenge. As soon as I read this I knew it was something my daughter would not enjoy. I knew that because of her skin condition that sometimes make it difficult for her to bend her arms and legs, added to her general chicken personality I knew that she would be awful at a ropes course. I knew that she would most likely come in last and have an overall miserable time. So instead of forcing her to go and be involved with the elective she chose and letting her try it and fail, I called the teacher and made every excuse in the book to get her out of the activity. Making sure that the teacher believed that it was my concern and not my daughters.
There I was pushing aside a difficult situation so that my daughter did not fail at something.
Classic snowplow parenting.
Although the parenting style motivation may be different, helicopter parenting and snowplow parenting can have the can effect on kids. They will grow up not being able to handle failure and without the ability to problem solve. Something that I know I am going to have to work on in the future.