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Snowplow parenting: What to know about the controversial technique


Forget Tiger Moms and wave goodbye to helicopter parents because there’s a new type of parent pushing her way through the schoolyard–and she will stop at nothing to ensure her child’s success.

The ” snowplow parent “~ ATAGEND is defined as a person who constantly forces obstacles out of their kids’ routes. They have their eye on the future success of their child, and anyone or anything that stands in their route has to be removed.

It sounds similar to helicopter parenting, I know, but there are some differences. Helicopter parents hover and micro-manage out of anxiety. They observe every morsel that enters their child’s body, they monitor their every move, they keep a close eye on every scrap of homework. They hold their kids close to them because they’re anxious about the big, wide world. Also , no one admits to being a helicopter parent–even if they clearly are one.

Snowplow parents may also micro-manage when it comes to diet and education, but they do so with an eye on the future. They want to remove any ache or difficulties from their children’s paths so that their kids can succeed. They are the mothers sitting in the principal’s office asking about extra courses or for special allowances for their child. According to educators, there is a sense of entitlement to snowplowers: They blame the school when things go wrong and never accept anything less than first place for their child.

How do I know all this? Because I may merely fall into the snowplow category myself. For years I’ve been searching for a label for my parenting style. I’m too laissez-faire for helicopter parenting and the Tiger Mom thing is just route too aggressive. And I can’t quite let myself try free-range parenting–I still save my children style too frequently to be a Lenore Skenazy disciple.

But snowplow parenting may be the one for me. I can let my kids walk to school on their own because the research tells me it will contribute to their independence and self-esteem. But if the school doesn’t recognise my special snowflake’s abilities, then they will hear from me.( I’m pretty sure last year’s science educator hides from me now, after my deserving child didn’t win the science awarding .) I will write notes to excuse them from their homework if I don’t shared with the approach. And yes, I do drive them to school on really cold days. But I’m not all in. I’m OK with them experiencing some failings at school or not being on the school sports squads. I do make their lives a little easier–often in ways that they don’t notice–but I won’t be writing their university applications for them.

Research shows that helicopter parenting can have a negative effect on kids. They are less resilient, and least likely to take risks. They never develop proper coping abilities or the maturity to make decisions on their own. Experts fear that children of snowplow mothers will have similar issues–they won’t be able to handle failure or solve problems independently. Kids of snowplow mothers may discontinue something instead of resolve for second best.

We’re all trying our very best, and no label fits any of us 100 percent. I realize that I can’t remove every obstacle from my children’s tracks. On especially snowy days, I’m still be inclined to pull out the snowplow and move everything that blocks their style, but I’m working on it. Maybe I will get the kids to shovel the walk this week.

Emma Waverman is a novelist, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.

Read more: Constantly reminding and nagging? Here’s when to let your kid fail The one thing about free-range parenting nobody talks about

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