I have a shocking thing to confess to you. I am a recovering lawnmower parent.
What is a lawnmower parent?
We’ve all heard of helicopter parents. But you may not have heard of the latest term for a troubling trend recently identified in parenting: lawnmower parents. Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure.
My husband and I adopted Little Girl. As her mom, I want more than anything for her to have a successful life. to the point where I was mowing down any speed bump, filling in any pothole, detonating any land mine that would cause her grief.
I was wrong!
Wrong because how will she develop coping skills for adult life is she does not have the chance to practice them now. She is a child in a safe environment. A place where her dad and I can help her. Advise her. Guide her but not do it for her. Childhood is a time to make mistakes. Let me just say this…there is a time that is appropriate to insert yourself. In any sort of endangerment…YES MOW AWAY!
Help them handle life!
I am talking about the day to day life choices. For example…just today Little Girl did not eat her lunch. On the way home, she lost it. Was hungry. Tired. Hot. HANGRY!!! Before I would have swung into the closest grocery store and bought organic grapes, organic applesauce pouches, organic juice boxes…anything to feed the beast. Not today! Today I explained to her that she chose not to eat lunch and I will make her a sandwich when I get home. The ride home was rough. Tears and anger about how horrible of a mom I am.
“BUT MOMMMMMM…DO SOMETHING!!!!”
I will child when we get home. Your choice to not eat lunch. (insert stabbing guilt that I would not stop and get her something to eat)
More tears. OVER amped reaction to not getting immediate food. She actually had to wait. I know…the horror!
When we got home I made good on my promise. I put together a PB and J sammy and even cut the crust off. This was not her first choice of lunch but she ate it. I am happy to report she is now reading upstairs. She lived through the struggle and perhaps next time she will eat her lunch when she is told to.
I didn’t want to be one of those parents that will be calling her college professor to explain why my precious little flower could not do her homework. That is not preparing her for real life. I don’t want her to face real-life all at once.
Yes her early years were not your typical but that does not mean her struggles will stop now. Life is hard. Life happens. What I can do is help her prepare for those landmines, potholes, and speedbumps with healthy coping skills. My job is to work myself out of a job. Prepare her for life. Help her navigate the waters of teenhood. Guide her as she grows into an adult. Not easy and not a flat ride.
It’s ok. Let them fall but teach them how to get back up!