Helicopter Parents Vs. Lawnmower Parents

Helicopter parents are overly active in their children’s lives. They tend to hover over their kids, being overprotective and paying close attention to everything they do. Lawnmower parents go out of their way to take down any possible obstacles to smooth a path, so their children never endure discomfort or hardships.

There is a good reason that experts believe that modern parenting styles are getting in the way of raising well-balanced children. This can be seen, especially, in the rise in helicopter and lawnmower parenting. So, what are they, and why are most people (particularly child development experts) simply not fans of them?

Many parents want what is best for their children. Still, there is a difference between maintaining a healthy balance and hovering to the point of no return.

helicopter parents having lunch on grass field with child

Related Reading: Here’s Why Gentle Parenting Doesn’t Work

What Is Helicopter Parenting?

Overprotection, excessive hand-holding, and over-direction all fall under the umbrella of helicopter parenting. It’s a term for parents who hover overly close to their children, attempting to assist them with every possible decision and action, significant or tiny, to the point that the kid cannot act independently.

This prevents the kid from learning from his or her mistakes, thinking critically, or independently maneuvering in the world. Parents that hover over their children’s lives to the point of absurdity are known as helicopter parents.

Parents who are helicopter parents often don’t believe they are helicopter parents. They simply think they’re doing the best they can for their children. As a newborn, this type of hovering may be okay to some extent, as the newborn cannot do anything without assistance and you are solely responsible for their needs and safety. However, by the stage that the baby becomes a teenager it is a disservice to them, and everyone who comes into contact with them, to deal with the hovering parent.

Parents who practice what is known as helicopter parenting often continue to advocate for their children even after they have grown up, obtained employment, and moved out of the house. It can entail becoming so involved in their child’s life that the affection becomes overprotective and dominating instead of loving and caring.

Helicopter parents give their children too many directions and become overly involved in their lives. They may believe that they are bad parents if they do not participate fully in their children’s lives.

What Is Lawnmower Parenting?

Lawnmower parenting is where the parents feel the need to stay one step ahead of their child. Basically, these parents make it their mission to remove any roadblocks from their child’s way. This goes without saying, but the children rarely ever get a chance to make their own mistakes, so they never really learn anything.

The goal is so their child doesn’t ever have to cope with issues on their own. Unlike the hovering helicopter parents, lawnmower parents ensure that they clear a path for their kids before they even get a chance to go down that path themselves, anticipating potential issues and effectively taking down obstacles in their path. Also known as mowing down obstacles, hence the name lawnmower parenting.

Lawnmower parents are later responsible for the world’s most vulnerable adults, since they have never learned to deal with any sort of issue or adversity on their own.

How Does Helicopter and Lawnmower Parenting Affect Children?

Both lawnmower and helicopter parents set their children up for failure. If a parent is always hovering over their child, the child isn’t ever left to make choices on his or her own. Everything goes through the parent.

Minor mistakes made by kids while they are young serve as crucial lessons for when they are older and must make more critical decisions for which they will be able to understand have their own set of consequences.

As a result, the parent is robbing the child of the opportunity to learn how to conquer tiny challenges that would have taught them grit, resourcefulness, and tenacity in coping with more significant problems later in life.

Related Reading: How to Deal With Helicopter Parents as a Teacher [HELP!]

Helicopter And Lawnmower Parents Set Kids Up to Fail in Life

Lawnmower parents are constantly solving problems for their children, once again training a child to not think for themselves and eliminating any discomfort caused by a casual blunder they make. Helicopter parents smother their children, rather than allow them to figure things out for themselves, leaving them unprepared to confront reality and make difficult decisions. Both set children up to fail.

By not allowing their children to experience even tiny repercussions, Lawnmower parents are setting their children up to be severely disappointed whenever they make a slight mistake as adults. Life is full of choices and disappointments, and failing to teach your child how to deal with each is terrible.

The fundamental issue with the helicopter parenting style is its negative impact. Children with helicopter parents lose interest in various activities because they know their parents are ready to always assist them. It’s one of the reasons why many youngsters with constantly hovering parents have low self-esteem and confidence.

Helicopter parents are always on hand to clean up their children’s messes and keep them out of trouble. As a result, their child never learns how to deal with failure or disappointment. According to studies, helicopter parenting makes children less capable of dealing with life’s stresses. The child lacks the necessary knowledge to cope with day-to-day challenges.

Learning to overcome obstacles is an essential part of growing up. This isn’t to suggest a child can’t seek and receive assistance. A person must learn how to overcome obstacles independently, whether with or without assistance. Parents who remove all obstacles from their children’s paths before they have to face them are not assisting their children in their development.

What Do Helicopter and Lawnmower Kids Grow Up to Be Like?

Many children who have been raised in this manner struggle to achieve effective independence because they have never been allowed to fail. Allowing failure is a crucial component of a parent’s job description. Of course, teaching them and keeping them safe is as well. The trick is to comprehend the vast gray region between those two perspectives, as this is where most learning takes place.

Is it essential for a parent to intervene when the matter escalates, or a situation seems like it is about to or has become violent? Yes, it is. However, there is a limit that helicopter and lawnmower parents ignore.

Because the parent constantly jumps in to manage the situation, a “helicoptered” child will struggle to learn to share or negotiate sharing encounters. Helicopter parents intervene far before the child can negotiate any level of the problem on their own.

As a result, the kid is denied the opportunity to learn and develop more confidence in their abilities to navigate the world without their parent’s guidance. Long-term, this sort of parenting frequently results in reliant, insecure, and indecisive adults who lack motivation and ambition in their life. In order to develop correctly and be ready for adulthood, children require some freedom.

Failure to teach personal responsibility isn’t helping kids as they will struggle as adults. Children must learn to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again. Never allowing a child to fail denies them the chance to understand how it is to not always be number one.

Related Reading: Free-Range Parenting vs. Helicopter Parenting


Helicopter and lawnmower parenting harms the growth and development of a child. There is a reason why most people are against it. In an effort to soothe their own discomfort, parents sometimes fail to allow their children to develop key life skills such as critical thinking. It’s too easy to confuse your own best interests with your child’s. By doing that, children grow up unprepared for real life.

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