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'Snow plow' parenting: Helping kids?

Move over, Tiger Moms -- a new parenting trend prevents children from failing.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Feb 19, 2013 8:12PM

First there were Tiger Moms. You may recall the extreme style of parenting made (in)famous by Amy Chua's best-selling book,  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Then hovering 'helicopter parents came on the scene -- the overly-involved, control freak style of child rearing.  

Now, an all-out mommy war is brewing as a brand new moniker of parenting style comes under attack, "snow plow" parenting.

Photo: Snow plow parenting / Digital Vision/Getty ImagesMore from MSN Living: How dogs make our lives better

According to an article on ABC7 San Francisco’s website, "the 'snow plow' parent pushes life’s obstacles out of his or her children's way."

Instead of parenting from a place of healthy involvement, these parents try to eliminate potential roadblocks and pave a straight line to their kid's success.

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In the ABC7 story, one mom talks about how she used her "snow plow" powers when her son was going out for a basketball team.

"I brought lemon cupcakes to a baseball practice once and realized the coach doesn’t like lemon. So I went home and baked vanilla cupcakes and brought them to his house that evening for his family to share," she was quoted.

In San Mateo, Calif., Aragon High School athletic director Steve Sells tells ABC7 it's apparent in sports, "A lot more money is spent on club activity outside of school," he was quoted. "And a lot more in the way of private lessons."

Kids are pushed to succeed in one sport, and as a result, Sells sees over-use injuries at a young age.

"They're teaching their children a terrible lesson," Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, Ph.D., told ABC7. "If you're not good at something immediately, get out. It's humiliating to be a novice."

In the grand scheme of growing up, what happens if your kid doesn’t get to experience the thrill of winning and suffer a few hard knocks along the way?

Do you think "snow plow" parenting helps or hurts children?

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Photo: Snow plow parenting / Digital Vision/Getty Images

Feb 20, 2013 8:54PM
These parents need to be told to step back; everyone else has the same rights as they do, and their kids need to learn to do things for themselves, just like everyone else.  Gain some common courtesy, patience, and humility.  So what if you want your kid to be a monster?  We don't.  What is wrong with the world today?
Feb 20, 2013 8:54PM

This is everything wrong with parenting today... winning teaches nothing, its the times we get knocked down and how we react that teach the real lessons.


Growing up, my cousins and I would always play a pick-up basketball game with our fathers... they never took it easy on us, even when we were 6 or 7. But when I was 16, and we finally beat our dads for the first time... and the first time I ever dunked on someone, let alone on my dad. It was the greatest feeling in the world. The hundreds of losses before that hurt, but it was nothing comparied to the joy of watching our dads lose. I promissed myself I would give my kids the same feeling. The feeling of accomplishment for overcoming something. Even if its something as simple and meaningless as beating me in basketball. My kids will always get the best from me... and when they do finally beat me, they will know nothing was given to them, they earned it... and thats something nobody can take away from them. That is something they will always cherish and remember, the same way I will never forget the look on my dads face the first time I beat him.


Thats a huge lesson I got from my parents... nothing in life is given to you, nobody else is going to go easy on you just so you can win. You want something, go out and get it!

Feb 20, 2013 8:34PM
Snow-plow parenting hurts children in the long run. Our children learn how to deal with life by learning how to deal with problems. Yes we should guide them as best we can but they need to learn along the way. They need to make age-appropriate decisions, take risks, and yes they need to even fall a few times and learn to get back up.

Frankly I'd rather mine take numerous bumps along the way to learn about life rather than be sheltered from it until they have to face it by themselves when reality hits them like a ton of bricks and they're totally unprepared to deal with it.

People have parented this way well before this term showed up here and then they scratch their heads when their kids' adult lives wind up such a wreck in so short a time.
Feb 20, 2013 8:33PM
What the hell is not failing going to teach a kid? 
Feb 20, 2013 8:33PM
Bad. It teaches the children that their own parents don't have confidence in their ability to succeed on their own. Backhanded way of telling the kids, "you're a loser".
Feb 20, 2013 8:33PM

Just another annoying, pathetic mordern day parenting trend that will only make her kid the weakest of the weak.  As soon as these kids are able to go further than the end of mommies driveway, life is going to have them in a corner, crying like the baby these clown parents are making them. 


No real life coping skills being taught at.  All these so-called parents are teaching their kids is how to quit the second something requires more thinking than getting  4 out of  2 plus 2. They teaching them how to be spineless  weaklings. 

Feb 20, 2013 8:24PM
I think it hurts them.  Kids need to learn to succeed and to fail.  It's all part of growing up and becoming well rounded people.  I have my girls in 4H just so they compete with other kids, learn, win, and loose.  I was turned off by the thought that all kids win in sports.  I don't have a problem with my girls playing sports, but I do have a problem with them always "winning" because it's not like that in the real world.
Feb 20, 2013 8:22PM
Sounds like the parents who pushed for the "everybody wins at sports" at my sons school.  Its really sad.  It sets a bad example for later in life, ya know when  life happens.
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