A few weeks ago there was a string of articles online regarding “lawnmower parents.” I am sure we have all heard of helicopter parents, but it appears this species has adapted and become even more dangerous to their offspring. Simply put, a lawnmower parent will go to “whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure…instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place” (anonymously cited all over the place).
One can certainly understand the motivation of such parents—who doesn’t want to protect their children? Motivation aside, however, I have witnessed the crippling effect such parenting has on children and ironically, in the act of protecting, they doom their children. As Christian parents, our duty is to prepare, not pamper, our children. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (12:11).
I think that deep down, we parents all know that lawnmower parenting is harmful, but maybe we are the ones who are afraid of pain. Letting our children go through the hard times is often more painful to us than to them. Perhaps we are trying to protect ourselves and not our children. Raising children is messy and was never meant to be antiseptic, and we as Christian parents need to remind ourselves of this. It’s okay if our children go through hard times; in fact, it is normal. Instead of being lawnmower parents, let’s start a new metaphor: pooper-scooper parents…we come behind them and help them clean up the mess.