Parenting kids towards dependence and emotional crippling

Parenting kids towards dependence and emotional crippling

mowing the weeds for our children

Lawnmower parenting is it!

It’s the relatively new term and concept that has pushed aside the helicopter parent of today.  It’s similar but may be even more overt in the damage it can do to our children and teens.

What is it?  It’s getting rid of, plowing through and removing every obstacle and unsightly mess.  It’s smoothing out, straightening out, prettying up every nuance in our beautiful young sprouts.   It’s staying on top of the weeds that continuously pop up.  Difficulties, mistakes and challenges that our children {need to} go through are taken care of by who other than us, their parents.

But the key is children themselves need to go through the rough and messy patches so they know they can. This is what builds competence, confidence and happiness.

Parenting has been reduced to making kids into trophies minus the work.  They get polished and shined to look good, but underneath is a crumbling foundation and core.  We are no longer preparing our children for life and all that difficulties that come with it; rather our focus is on doing everything for them so they come out looking and smelling like a rose.

The cost is high and only getting higher, as per the recent college admissions scandal.

We don’t, as yet, have a utopian society that’s flawless and error-free.  And yet in trying to make our children into plastic commodities that we seemingly shape to perfection, we are spiraling down to a society of more trouble and malcontent, with higher levels of mental health issues than ever before.

No matter how much we talk about emotional well-being and emotional intelligence being main predictors for a successful life, we are parenting towards the false perception of GPA scores as the end-all be-all, at the expense of character and emotional scores that provide us with a rich and deep sense of life worth living.

If wealth and fame is what it’s all about, then why are there so many in revolving doors of rehabs, why so many suicides?  Isn’t money, power, fame and the big names, the key to happiness and success??  Clearly it’s not, and yet we continue and even up the ante of our job as manicurists of our children towards that perfect finish.

We are robbing our children of their rights to a competent, productive, satisfying and fulfilling life. 

We need to let them:

› fall so they learn they can get back up.

› make mistakes so they learn what and how to do it differently next time.

› struggle so they can feel the pride and joy when they finally get it.

› feel sad, mad, frustrated so they know it’s natural, normal and part of us and life, and they can get through it intact.

› get rejected so they learn to deal with the reality of losing.

› hear ‘no’ so they learn there are limits, boundaries and rules, and the world doesn’t revolve around them.

› hear constructive criticism so they learn it’s about continuous self-improvement and growth.

If our job as parents is to keep our children happy at every point, then our fundamental goal of raising happy and independent adults is out the window.

As is said, happiness is an inside job. 

Our job is to build up our children’s inner selves by teaching them the coping skills that can only come with hardship, failure, mistakes, uncomfortable feelings.  Let’s give them all the lessons possible during our child-rearing years that they can do it, they can withstand and tolerate, they can improve, they can get back up again.  With that comes the wonderful feelings of confidence, self-pride, joy and strength.  It may be hard for us as parents to withstand their emotional pain, but that’s the job of parenting – to help grow our children into competent, flourishing and happy adults; by preparing them and giving them the tools to live well.

We need to allow for the weeds and mess that we’d naturally love to mow away.

4 thoughts on “Parenting kids towards dependence and emotional crippling

  1. Lean Davidowitz says:

    Excellently said! Thank you for this

  2. Harriet says:

    Hi Lean,
    Thank you for your comment here. Glad this resonated with you.

  3. Ms. T says:

    Good morning I do ope this site is still up and running currently. Hi I’m dealing with my daughter whom is fighting cancer and I think she feels guilty, and she shield’s her kids from real life. No violence, sex, or any curing on TV, no telling them “NO” it drives me crazy, no taking baths unless they want to. they don’t help her at all, and she’s in and out of the hospital due to exhaustion, and treatment. What can I do to help. I love my grand-kids but she should be resting instead she’s busy doing for them. 12/14 year old’s and an ex-husband that feels the same no saying no do what you want, when you want?

  4. Harriet says:

    Hi Ms. T, Sounds like a really tough situation. Often times during trying times parents think kids need carte blanche to do as they want since they’re going through so much hardship. And also, parents don’t have the emotional energy to keep to boundaries and limits; it’s easier to give in and let them do as they please. You can talk to your grandkids about the situation and how important and kind an act it is for them to help out. You can’t change the parents, but you can set limits when the kids are with you and hold them to certain standards. I know how hard to watch and feel so helpless.

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