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Are You a ‘Snowplow’ Parent?

Many helicopter parents are becoming snowplow parents as their children age.

Are You a ‘Snowplow’ Parent?

By  Les Masterson

You’ve likely heard of helicopter parents. These are parents who hover over their young children.

But have you heard of snowplow parents? And are you one of them?

A snowplow parent tries to clear any kind of obstacles for their children. They try to influence most of their child's life, including grades, classes and sports. 

This can stretch all the way into the college years. 

Colleges report that the former helicopter parents are turning into snowplow parents by the time their children reach college,  according to The Boston Globe.

College officials told The Globe that the first few months of a freshman’s career are the worst for snowplow parents.

A study by the Journal of Child and Family Studies earlier this year found that snowplow parents “undermine the competence and confidence of college students and can negatively affect the parent-student relationship,” reported The Globe.

The parenting style can deprive children of developing life and problem-solving skills.

“Parents need to understand they’re not giving their children a chance to develop competency, a feeling of pride and well-being,” Holly Schiffrin, a psychology professor at The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., and co-author of the study, told The Globe. “Children are not developing the skills they need to become fully functioning adults.” 

The parenting website, the Stir, gave seven signs that you might be a “snowplow” parent. Here are four of them:

  • If you ever tried to get your child switched to another class to be with his/her friends.
  • If you’ve offered incentives to a coach to help your child make a team or get more playing time.
  • If you help your child with every homework assignment and project.
  • If you try to have your child’s grade changed -- especially in college. 

Are you a snowplow parent? What do you think of snowplow parenting? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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