What is Lawnmower Parenting and How It Can Hurt Kids in The Long Run

“Honey, did you do your homework yet? No? Let me do it for you.”
“You forgot your water bottle at home? Okay, 5 minutes and I’ll be at school!”
If this is how you behave as a parent, I have some news to break to you. You’re a ‘lawnmower parent,’ and your child may get harmed in the long run because of this.
What’s being a ‘lawnmower parent’? How can I ascertain that I’m, indeed, one? How can I stop being so?

Read more to find out.

What is Lawnmower Parenting?

To put it very simply, lawnmower parenting is when you, as a parent or a caregiver, try to eliminate any obstacle that your child may encounter.

Obstacles here are as simple as calling your 18-year-old daughter’s dentist, for instance, to schedule an appointment for them, driving to school just to deliver your kid the sweater he forgot or typing out his homework or assignment for him.

A lawnmower parent will plan out their kid’s future for them. Say things akin to “No you’ll hang out with Jane, not Judy because Jane gets good grades!” and some weird nonsensical reasonings which you think this is how you’ll protect your child.

Helicopter Parenting vs. Lawnmower Parenting

You may have heard the term helicopter parenting, tiger moms and all that cocktail of the overly enthusiastic parent archetypes.

Helicopter parenting, although very similar to ‘lawnmower parenting’; in which you hover above your child searching for any signs of lurking conflict or an obstacle that will suddenly appear out of thin air, it’s substantially different in the gist.

A helicopter parent constantly hovers and stops the conflict once it happens; a lawnmower parent prevents it from happening at all. It probably explains why it’s called ‘Lawnmowing.’ It’s how you ‘mow down’ anything that’ll possibly subject your child to being upset.

Lawnmower parenting is also called bulldozer or snowplow parenting.

Signs and Symptoms of Lawnmower Parenting

Let’s get down to business. So, most lawnmower parents would probably just read what’s above and be like “Nah, that’s too extreme. I fervently protect my child just like any other parent.”

Well, if you do at least one of the below -mentioned signs, you need to get your denial out of the way and stop lawn mowing your child’s path because it’s far from being beneficial.

  • You're in Constant Fear About Your Child's Physical Safety

This sign is usually exhibited when your child is still a toddler. The thought that your child may trip and fall plagues your mind so much that you keep your kid from exploring his surroundings, even your garden for that matter. You may be chasing him around with a hand sanitizer as well.

  • When Your Kid's Fighting With His Friends, You Gotta Stop This!

Do you rush over when your kid’s conflicting with his playmate? It’s not a good sign if you take a simple children’s quarrel that’s bound to resolve on its own that seriously. It’s a children’s fight and not some plotting for the next world war.

  • You Do Your Kid's Laundry, Wash Their Dishes and Do Their Homework

If you do your kid’s assignments and homework, spend hours trying to remember how to solve that equation, then finally giving up and googling it instead, remember that it’s your kid’s homework, not yours.

Scheduling their appointments, picking things they’ve dropped, and even make their food order for them, the list goes on.

An essential part of your child’s development is to learn to handle their responsibilities.

  • Your Child's Shortcomings Become Your Responsibility to Fix

‘Sweetie’s forgotten his homework at home, and I’ll make a trip to his school to deliver it to him.’

Sounds familiar?

An incident like this is a chance to teach your child the consequences of their actions. Unless necessary, let your child deal with the outcome of his behavior without interfering.

  • You Help Your 20-year-old kid In His College Application Process

We’ve all seen that one day, haven’t we? 

From parents filling their kid’s application form, to writing their own personal essays. Some lawnmowing parents go as far as submitting their children’s resume for them, attending interviews with them and some other disturbing stuff.

How Lawnmower Parenting Affects Your Child

Take a look at what your behavior does to your child’s psyche.

  • Your Child Develops Zero Problem-Solving Skills

If you’re the one who continually handles your child’s issues, even minimal ones, how’s your child supposed to solve problems on his own later on? 

I’m sure you’ve all seen some college students break down and cry over the simplest of struggles. It’s such a sad sight that a grown adult can’t handle his issues at all.

  • Your child Can't Deal With Hurt, Sadness, Failure or Discomfort

I’m well aware that your lawnmower parenting tendencies are all because you don’t want your child to feel any negative feelings. You continuously want to shield him from the cruel world.

But feelings such as sadness, hurt, failure, are all bound to happen whether we like it or not. It’s your job as a parent to teach him how to constructively deal with these negative feelings rather than trying to prevent the inevitable.

  • Your Child's Self-confidence Levels Become Almost Non-existent

When your child sees you always intervening in his matters, you’re instilling in him a very clear message of ‘It’s because you can’t properly do this, I’m doing it instead.’

Even if you have drastically different intentions, sadly, this is what reaches him.

  • Poor Mental Health

Many college students suffer significantly from anxiety. I’ve seen many on the verge of a mental breakdown minutes before their presentations. These students were probably subjected to lawnmower parenting behaviors.

Because of your constant anxiety over your child and your frantic methods and approaches to ensure your child is safe, you’re creating a deep hollow pit of anxiety inside of his mind as well.


Lawnmower Parents often behave this way out of good intentions. They think that they’re always sending their kids an ‘I love you’ message by intervening in every aspect of their lives.

But trust me, more bad than good happens because of this, and you need to change your ways.

Your ‘I love you’ message will be a hundred times amplified if you trust in your kid and teach him ways to take care of himself, then back off and watch your child grow.

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