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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


Thankfully my parents taught me how to live in the real world. One thing I remember my mother saying when, as a teen, I was complaining about how difficult something was. She looked me right in the eye and said "Your entire life you'll run into walls. When that happens pick yourself up and try again. Either go through it or around it. But don't sit there and complain about it."

I suppose moms of today would carry the child in their womb until they get married...and then some.

Feb 20, 2013 6:14PM
Several years ago I went to see my grandson play baseball at his school.  He was about 10 at the time... Half the kids were out there pickin their nose, throwing rocks and not even halfway interested in trying to do well.  I commented about it and he said it doesn't matter....we all get a trophy anyway. His mother said that was true...I never went back to another "game".  The "feel good" crap never makes a winner out of anyone.  If winning doesn't matter...why do they keep score?
Feb 20, 2013 6:07PM
Feb 20, 2013 6:07PM
What the heck could possibly be wrong with paying for additional lessons that will make your kid the best they could be at whatever they want to do? Sports lessons are cited--would anybody object if a parent paid for piano lessons? Then why object if parents get extra coaching? Cripes, I would have killed to get golf lessons my too cheap parents wouldn't pay for when I was a kid. It would mean I would play better today as an adult, and enjoy the game better. What could be wrong with that? Maybe we shouldn't do ANYTHING for our kids...once they are born, kick them out the door, let them fend for themselves. Only the strongest survive, right?
Feb 20, 2013 6:06PM
I feel less sorry for the kids, and more sorry for the society that these kids will end up creating. What are these kids going to teach their own kids later on? It's scary where this is heading. Makes me glad I'm old, actually.
Feb 20, 2013 6:04PM

Wow newlife1979,  you mean parents are supposed to raise functional, competent, capable adults? Novel concept.  You mean at some point kids need to learn you earn what you get?  You will experience success AND failure and need to find benefits from both? 

Wish more parents felt like you.  When you clear the obstacles from your childrens path they become crippled and will not know how to function to overcome the obstacles that they will have to face without you.

A butterfiy who gets "helped" out of its cocoon, instead of working and struggling to get out has wings that are so weak it will never fly. 

Feb 20, 2013 6:01PM
Life is gonna hurt when these kids get older.
Feb 20, 2013 5:57PM
Why do you think we have so many people in their 20's doing mass
 murders? Why do you think so many young people are on anti-depressants, become addicted to drugs and alcohol, commit suicide or can't cope with life? Mom and Dad fixed everything for them and never let them overcome anything bad. Now that they are on their own, the economy is bad and Mom and Dad can't fix the adult problems they have, they can't cope. 
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