I just read the phrase “lawnmower parenting” on Facebook, and had to look it up to see whether someone was hilariously mixing lawnmowers up with helicopters or if it really was a new thing.
It really is a new thing. Lawnmower parents are parents who smooth down every little bump ahead of their children, so that they face no obstacles or nasty tricky hurdles in their lives.
I didn’t read any more. I can see how it works. I can see how sometimes you’d do it and sometimes you wouldn’t, and how you’d do it less as your child grows up, and you’d adjust what you’re doing according to the personality of your individual child, whom you know, because you’re their parent.
Unless, of course, you’ve heard that now it’s a thing you mustn’t ever do, because then you’ll be a lawnmower parent, and if it has a name and a label then it’s a Style of Parenting that you must now and forever espouse or reject, amen.
So now, helping your child is another thing to worry about, and feel potentially guilty for, and wonder whether you’re doing enough of or too much of. I don’t care for this. We have enough sources of potential guilt already. I think we can stop making up names for things now.
Here’s a plan. Do what works for your family. If it’s not working, change it. (I did not come up with this insightful basic truth. It’s from Magda Pecsenye, who has been making parents feel better about what they’re doing for years and years.) Behave decently, and let your kids see you behaving decently, towards them and to others. Feel your feelings, and talk about them, and give your kids words for how they feel. Do what feels right. It probably is.
The kids will be all right.