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The Effect of 'Snow Plow' Parenting

Posted: 8:13 AM, Feb 18, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-18 09:35:26-05

TULSA — We're taking a look at a new trend in parenting styles called "Snow Plow" parenting, where these parents make a clear path for their kids with no obstacles.

Experts say it could be setting them up to fail.

So we're showing you the impacts of being a "Snow Plow" parent and why taking a step back, may be your best move.

You may have heard the term helicopter parenting, even lawnmower parenting, now we have "Snow Plow" parenting.

Child Development Expert Katey McPherson says, "It's a newer term, snow plow parenting where they are just plowing through everything for them."

6th Grade English Teacher Jordan Madura says she sees it constantly.

Madura says, I've definitely had times when I've spoke to a parent and the parent is like I don't understand why this test has to be this way, like isn't there a way that you can postpone because of x,y, and z? Asking for more things that I would expect that the kid could ask for."

McPherson says whether it's helicopter, lawnmower or snowplowing parents, all of it based out of fear.

"We really are afraid of the world, this is an unsafe place, so I'm going to hunker down, I'm going to protect my babies. I'm going to carefully engineer play dates, club soccer schedules, junior high, high school path to college etc.," says McPherson.

And how exactly does it affect our kids, take a look at the numbers:

  • 30 percent of 18 to 34-year-old men are living at home with mom and dad
  • Getting a driver's license and driving is not a priority
  • And many times after their first year of college, they come back home, for good.

"They don't have the life skills to deal with a mean roommate or a mean professor," says McPherson.

Educators and experts say the same thing: Failure is and will always have to be part of success.

School Principal, Julia Reed says, "I think back on my life and the challenges that I faced have really helped shape me as a person and have taught me so much that I wouldn't have learned any other way."

That learning experience from conflict and resolution is not something we can plow them away from for the rest of their lives.

McPherson says, "When parents allow kids to fail. When parents allow kids to have a voice in their own family and their own schooling, we see a social confidence and resilience and maturity go way up."

So the big take-away is parents, you've got to know it's okay to let go and let your kids learn from their mistakes.

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