'Lawnmower' parents emerge, clearing way for kids

Think helicopter parents are bad. Some parents are going a step further. They're called 'lawnmower' parents. They'll do whatever it takes to keep challenges out of their kids' way.

These parents may actually be sabotaging their kids from being successful in the future.

It all started with an anonymous post on a blog site called "we are teachers." That’s been shared now several million times.

One educator coined the phrase "lawnmower parent" after she noticed how parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle or failure.

Helicopter parents hover while tiger moms may roar.

“I think a lawnmower parent is considered somebody who basically bulldozes and removes and mows down obstacles in front of a child and I think its an evolution from what we have seen from helicopter parenting,” said Kimberly Seals-Allers, Author.

Roxana Reid, Founder and President of Smart City Kids and Seals-Allers author of  Mocha Manuel, who both agree the problem is *not* a parent's willingness to help a child succeed.

The problem comes from a parent's repeated efforts to eliminate any and all struggle leaving children ill-equipped emotionally as they grown up.

But how do you tell the difference between legitimately helping your child versus lawnmower parenting?

Both moms say it’s a fine line.

“Be a good coaching mom. To help them at home and help them deal with situations instead of fixing it for them. Be a good coach. Be their support,” said Seals-Allers.

“I’m a parent myself and I struggle at times to figure out when do I step in and when do I step back. The pivotal question is *if* I step in am I helping and in what way?” said Reid.

How can you avoid becoming a lawnmower parent?

For school-age kids start practicing responsibilities now. Let your kid do the talking by ordering at restaurants, asking for directions, or calling a friend on the phone to ask for a playdate instead of arranging it yourself via text message.

Also, let them do chores.

For high school kids, all school communication should go through the student.  Make the arrangements with the teacher, and parents should only intervene after the attempt by the child.  Have them deal with decision and deal with the potential consequences.

Kids of all ages: TRUST your kid to do well, and tell them repeatedly that you believe that they can make good decisions on their own.  

And finally, give her room to make mistakes, even major ones.