What Happens to the Children of Lawnmower Parents?

4 min read -
Tifa Ong
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Mom being a lawnmower parent to child
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Summary: Wanting to protect their children, lawnmower parents mow down any obstacles in their way. But they may not understand the potentially harmful side effects.

Parents that attempt to protect their children from any possible harm are commonly known as lawnmower parents, and this parenting style is becoming more and more prevalent today.

And while these parents may have good intentions, their children often become more vulnerable and dependent, unable to function on their own.

If this is your way of parenting, here’s what you need to know about it, its side effects, and how to stop it:

Although lawnmower parenting is driven by your desire to see your children safe and secure, it can negatively affect their natural development. 

What Is a Lawnmower Parent?

Lawnmower parenting is a form of helicopter parenting. But while helicopter parents hover above, constantly monitoring their child, lawnmower parents mow down obstacles before their children reach them.

It is a parenting style that focuses on safeguarding the child from all pain and difficulty. 

Why are they called lawnmower parents?

From racing their child’s forgotten football jersey to practice to calling the teacher to extend the homework deadline, lawnmower parents act more like a personal assistant than a parent.

Like a lawnmower, these parents are ready to mow down any obstacle in their child’s way.

This parenting style is deeply motivated by the parent’s desire to see their children safe, secure, and free from harm. 

And it seems obvious, doesn’t it? Who would ever want to see their child struggling or in pain? 

Yet, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, #1 NYT Bestselling Author, Clinical Psychologist, and renowned international speaker suggests that,

Parents need to learn to allow their children to feel their feelings.

While this parenting style is motivated by good intentions, it’s often the children who face the fallout.

There are negative consequences to this parenting style that most parents don’t anticipate. 

Mother helping her children write

What Are the Effects of Lawnmower Parenting?

Lawnmower parents have good intentions. They want to see their child safe and sound and live a happily-ever-after life — which is a good thing. 

However, good intentions don’t always bear good outcomes. 


Well, think of it this way:

Each time you attempt to solve the problem for your child (instead of letting them tackle it on their own), they subconsciously receive the following messages:

  • “I am not good enough to fix this by myself.”
  • “My parents will always be there to fix things for me. I don’t have to think.”
  • “I will get everything I want my way.”
  • “My parents don’t trust me with important things. I’m not trustworthy.”

Now, imagine what that would do to your child’s self-confidence?

The child will doubt themselves in the face of small obstacles because they’ll subconsciously believe they’re not good enough to do it by themselves. 

This is why they become vulnerable to rejections and failures. In fact, some suggest this is what has contributed to the development of ‘Generation Snowflake.’ 

3 Side Effects of Lawnmower Parenting

Even though the initial intentions of lawnmower parents are good, there are some unintentional consequences of this parenting style:

1. Underdeveloped emotional skills

When parents try to keep their children from encountering obstacles, they’re keeping them from learning how to deal with discomfort.

As a result, children are unable to develop the skills they need to navigate difficult and challenging emotions.

2. Impaired problem solving

When life gives you lemons, you’ve somehow got to find a way to turn them into lemonade, right?

But children with lawnmower parents aren’t given the opportunity to build these types of problem-solving skills.

This may not seem like a big deal during childhood, but if this continues into adulthood, it can limit an individual’s ability to take on daily life tasks.

3. Undeveloped self-esteem

This is a particularly counterintuitive side effect of lawnmower parenting – and an unintentional one at that.

Children with parents who constantly work to circumnavigate the stresses and dangers in their lives learn to be fearful of themselves.

Their parent’s perception of the world seeps into their subconscious. They learn that the world is large and dangerous and overwhelming.

Father and child doing puzzles

What to Do if You’re a Lawnmower Parent?

We all know lawnmower parents don’t like to see their child struggle, so they intervene. But what many of these parents don’t realize is that each intervention robs the child of essential life skills and self-esteem. 

The good news is, you now know lawnmower parenting does more harm than good. You’ve taken the first step: being aware. 

The next best step for a lawnmower parent is to consider a more empowering parenting style.

Ever heard of authoritative parenting? Studies have shown children of authoritative parents demonstrate greater competence in forming relationships, have better emotional well-being, and are less likely to engage in substance abuse. 

Perhaps you want to explore conscious parenting — a new kind of parenting style that not only raises independent, fully evolved, and unique children but also helps awaken you as an evolved human being. 

When you become conscious of the way you parent, your children will have more opportunities to tackle life as it comes.

Day by day, they’ll build the confidence they need to successfully take on all of life’s challenges. 

It’s the parent who consciously become whole from within who raises the most self-worthy, confident, and resilient children possible.

Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of Mindvalley’s Conscious Parenting Mastery Quest

Watch the First Lesson of the Quest

NYT Bestselling Author and a Global Authority on Parenting, Dr. Shefali, Teaches Conscious Parenting Mastery

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Tifa Ong

Tifa Ong

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