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Lawnmower Parents


You've probably heard of "helicopter" parents. These are parents who hover over all aspects of their kids' lives.

But there is also another parenting style that has emerged since then. It's called being a "Lawnmower Parent."

Lawnmower parents mow down every obstacle or difficulty their children may have. It's a natural tendency for parents to want to protect their children from disappointment. I get that and I'm sure you do as well.

But constantly protecting children from disappointment can ultimately lead to lower self-esteem and cause them to have more difficulty as they grow up.

As parents, we want to see our children succeed and a key part of that is letting them learn the importance of failure. Instead of mowing down challenges, we must allow failure. When we do this, it helps kids learn how to overcome failure and have persistence, positive self-image, self-confidence and problem-solving.

When lawnmower parents see their child struggling, they go into "protective parent mode" and mow down the challenges their child is facing.

But, as parents, we must remember this - failure is part of life and if we do not give our kids the opportunity to fail or make mistakes, they'll never realize that they can overcome failure and bounce back. Rather than raising resilient kids, we will raise kids who can't handle failure and learn from it.

An example of lawnmower parenting is the parents who recently tried to bribe their kids into colleges that they were not equipped to attend. The truth is this - if you want to help your child build their sense of confidence and self-esteem, then you must allow them to fail.

One thing that hinders parents from doing this is when they have their own self-esteem tied to their child's success or failure. If their child makes the traveling soccer team, it makes them feel like they have done a good job as a parent. If they get a good grade on their exams, it makes them feel like an A+ parent.

Rather than mowing down all the obstacles and detours in our child's life, we should encourage our child to do their best and then encourage our child when they fail.

Difficulty helps kids grow stronger if parents will allow them to work through it. Kids must be allowed to work through frustration and challenges. Instead of telling them how to do challenging tasks, give kids more control over the tasks before them and allow them to work through their frustrations.

How can we help kids learn to push through failure and not give up? One way is show them through lessons what failure and resilience looks like. Give them a task or chore. When they do something wrong, use it as a learning opportunity. Instead of berating the child for the mistake, turn it into a question and ask them what they are going to learn from it? What can they do differently to succeed the next time? What should they do next?

As parents, our role is to respond to mistakes and failures by encouraging our children to try again and let them figure out other options. Instead of mowing down the obstacles for them, let them figure out how to overcome the obstacles.

Another thing we can do as parents is to share stories of our past failures and how we worked through them. We can also share with them current challenges we are facing which will help them understand that no matter our age, we will fail at times and we can learn from it.

Model resilience. Resilient parents raise resilient kids.

Use the words "but the next time" when you fail. Share with your kids the mistake you made and then share with them the steps you are going to take to succeed the next time.

One of the best things you can do as a parent is to encourage your child to try, let them make mistakes and then see the failures as learning opportunities. Do this and you will raise a child who is not afraid to face adversity and overcome it.

Failure is a part of life. We must give our kids the opportunities to fail and make mistakes. If we don't, they'll never realize that they can come back.

Rather than mowing down the obstacles, we should encourage children to try and when they fail to try again.

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