Lawnmower parenting: Are you guilty?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/17/2017

Apparently, sports parenting has spawned a new term…’lawnmower parent’.

Brian Greeson at the Gaston Gazette describes the label and examines potential implications for kids and parents.

Essentially, these types of parents walk in front of their kids and clear cut a smooth path, which is really more like bulldozing.

This type of parenting is becoming more common in the youth sports culture. While its motivation is positive, not wanting your child to encounter any unnecessary difficulties while they are young, it can stunt their personal growth. The truth is, you are not doing your kids any favors when you are a ‘lawnmower parent’. Greeson, a nationally certified School Psychologist and the Director of Special Services in New York School District One, provided his thoughts on how this parenting style can hinder your child’s development.  

“We are seriously cheating our kids from how to master mowing their own lawns. My number one goal of the responsible parent is to do and not do those things that will allow children to mature into responsible young adults and be independent of their parents. No, I’m not saying disengaged from the parent, never visiting the parent or no longer loving the parent — just to live independently. To be gainfully employed and living on his or her own is the key. And of course, if so desired, starting their own family.”

The problem is often founded in a parent’s fear of trusting someone else with the well-being of their child. However, many of these fears can be overcome by simply doing some initial research, prior to signing your child up for a team, camp, or school, etc.

It goes without saying that parents should be selective, because not all adults should be trusted with the ability to influence your child. If that is the case, then it’s your job as a parent to ensure your child is in an environment that you feel comfortable with, especially those in charge of looking out for the welfare of your child. If you can become comfortable through research, then you’ll hopefully pull back from lawnmower parenting and let your child gradually learn the independence they need to grow up.


Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.