Snowplow Parenting: Definition and How It Affects Children

The internet is now flooded with all sorts of things about the snowplow parenting controversy. Known as one of the controversial parenting styles—even more, intense than helicopter parenting, snowplow parents make sure their children can succeed by removing any obstacles in their path. These parents don’t let their children encounter frustration or failure in life.

Of course, every parent wants the best for the children. But snow plow parents take too much controls over children’s life, so many experts suggest that this parenting style robs children’s future. Are you one of snow plow parents? Get to know more here.

What Is Snowplow Parenting?

The term ‘snowplow parenting’ is adopted from a snowplow machine that clears snow off the street. This is exactly the same as what snow parents do for their children.

They pave the way for the kids to succeed and clear any obstacles that potentially lead to failure or frustration.

This style may sound like helicopter parenting but it’s the hyper-intensive version. Snowplow parents won’t let anything stands in kids’ way and will stop at nothing.

The main goal is to see children’s success in the future and they don’t hesitate to blame others when something goes wrong.

Snowplow parents will write notes to complain if their children don’t win a competition. These parents will be sitting in the principal’s office if the kid’s abilities aren’t recognized. In simpler words, parents make everything a little easier for the children.

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What makes this parenting style emerge? Despite snowplow parenting has been around for a while, it didn’t become a hot topic among parents and experts until a few years ago.

Some experts say that this is parenting in an anxiety age where social media and news keep telling us what’s happening in the world.

Parents are willing to fight in children’s battlefield and keep them safe from the big, wide, unfriendly world. With constant exposure to potential dangers for children, parents are getting motivated to practice this kind of parenting.

Surprisingly, this parenting method doesn’t end after the kids graduate from college. Some parents continue to take control of their children’s life by making appointments for haircuts or doctor visits. In more extreme cases, parents wouldn’t hesitate to call their kid’s boss if the child has a problem at work.

How Snowplow Parenting Affect Children’s Future?

effects of snowplow parenting on kids

Children raised with snowplow parenting may struggle in dealing with problems. As they’ve been pampered with easy access to nearly anything, they don’t feel confident to cope with their own issues. As a result, these kids become less resilient and are more prone to frustration.

Besides, snowplow children are not prepared enough to take responsibility. They can’t develop skills to overcome obstacles and make decisions which can be attained only if they pick themselves up after a failure. Of course, they don’t have any idea what to do once they grow into adults.

There are many other effects of practicing snowplow parenting style that affect children’s future. Here’s a closer look.

  • Struggle with Frustration

Super-intensive parents do anything to prevent the kids from feeling frustrated. They’re always present to help children complete any difficult tasks and make sure everything goes as expected. As a result, these children can’t deal with frustration. Once they encounter complicated issues, they’re less able to accomplish on their own.

Snow plow parenting grows less resilient children. They will give up on the first challenge which makes them unable to learn. Even when they grow older, these kids will always have trouble dealing with frustration.

  • Lack of Problem Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills develop as children face different levels of issues and find ways to go through them on their own. But this skill doesn’t seem to develop well in snowplow children since the parents bring them right to any position they want. For instance, parents get the children to a competitive soccer team or crucial role in a play.

Instead of being supportive, these parents rob children’s ability to develop problem-solving skills. They don’t have an idea of how to struggle and deal with issues in life. They never have a chance to solve their own obstacles and encounter disappointment or failure. This is what snowplow parenting creates.

  • Poor Self-Efficacy

Snowplow parenting may cause poor self-efficacy in children. Parents with their superpower rarely allow the children to take action and get the consequences. This may result in poor self-efficacy, which means snow plow kids don’t believe in their own abilities. They’re not sure that their actions could bring positive change. Moreover, they’re less likely to act.

Of course, this effect may lead to other conditions such as helplessness. The children can’t offer help when needed or they don’t know how to help people. Besides, this parenting may also cause low self-confidence as children never learn it from the parents.

  • Anxiety

As discussed previously, snow plow is a parenting technique that occurs in the age of anxiety. That means slow plow parents tend to make decisions or solve problems based on anxiety. When anxious parents make decisions, they try to soothe fears instead of managing the situations, increasing resiliency or developing problem solving skills.

As kids learn from their parents, chances are that they copy parent’s anxiety. As a result, children raised with snowplow parenting grow with anxiety that contributes to their future life.

What Do We Learn from Snow Plow Parents?

If you’ve ever read a recently-released memoir written by Trevor Noah, you might be able to learn that every parent wants the best for their kids, no matter how hard they have to struggle.

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From the perspective of snowplough parents, they never think that what they’ve been doing is wrong. They don’t realize that they’re growing children who are not ready for the future.

However, there are some lessons we can learn from them. It helps us avoid practicing snowplow parenting so that we can grow a resilient and tough generation.

  1. Deal with Failure

Seeing our children failed is hard but there’s always a big lesson behind a failure. Children can learn how to pick themselves up and struggle to deal with failure or disappointment. From this bitterness, they are able to understand that their choice can backfire and their expectations aren’t always met.

As parents, you might want to pick them up and fix everything but they won’t be able to learn from their mistakes. Besides, they can’t bounce back from that position and jump higher. If they need a little help, you might give them motivation and support.

  1. Learn to Say No

Snow plow parents won’t let their children sad or cry because of ‘no’ answer. This is a huge lesson we can learn from snowplow parenting. You don’t always have to say ‘yes’ even though it may cause a bad feeling for the kids. Sometimes you’ve to let them feel the disappointment no matter how hard it is. Refusal helps them tolerate inconvenience so they’ll be more resilient.

You might be tempted to soothe their pain but it’s only temporary. But when you let them deal with disappointment on their own, they’ll be able to cope with this feeling in the future. Additionally, children will find power to overcome.

  1. Praise Children’s Effort

Unlike snowplow parenting that praises the children more than the results, you can learn to praise their effort as much as results. Don’t hesitate to praise your kids for doing hard things and keep telling them that they can make it. It helps fathers and mothers to promote their mindset that their ability can grow as they practice more and more.

Praising kids’ effort is also important to boost their confidence in solving problems. They’ll keep going through the challenges even when it gets tougher. But remember not to praise the children more than their achievement as it potentially makes them less likely to take risks.

  1. Give Responsibility

Your children are never too young for responsibility. You need to give them an increased level of responsibility like making the bed or preparing the dining table, all depends on their age. Snowplow parenting won’t let this happen as the children are too precious to do household chores or other tasks.

Teaching responsibility to children helps develop their self-confidence. They also become more responsible and are able to manage frustration. As a comparison, children who don’t participate in household chores have lower self-esteem and responsibility when handling tasks.

  1. Get the Kids Think Proactively

Telling your children to do something isn’t enough. To raise a resilient and active generation, you need to train them to think proactively. You can start by asking what the kids should do next after a morning routine or what they need to prepare before going picnic. The main achievement is to help them focus on their tasks.

It’s pretty much easier to start when your children are 3 or 4 than when they are 20. Preparing the children for their future might not come easy but the result is sweet. Don’t let your kids feel temporary happiness but have to struggle in the future.

What Can We Do to Stop Snowplow Parenting?

After all the information about snowplow parenting, you may realize that you’ve been falling into this category. It may be quite hard to change your parenting style—especially when you see your precious children have to struggle—but nobody says it’s impossible.

What can you do to start over? There are several tips that you can try to stop your snowplow parenting habit and sufficiently prepare your kids for adulthood.

  1. Control Your Anxiety

Parents’ ability to control anxiety plays a great role in shaping self-sufficient children. Parents who can’t manage their own anxiety is more likely to raise kids with anxiety.

But when parents can think and make decisions with clear head, chances are that the children are able to handle any obstacles come their way.

In other words, the first point of starting over is begin with yourself. If you can control your anxiety, it’s much easier to parent your children without worrying about problems or issues that may block their path.

  1. Focus on Long-Term Achievement

The main characteristic of snowplow parenting is emphasizing short-term emergencies. Snowplow parents could rush to buy a new toy when their children broke the old one.

Or they could write a note when the children didn’t win a science competition. These parents want to achieve a short-term goal, preventing the kids from feeling frustrated or sad.

To start over, you need to focus on long-term achievement. You’ve got to put emphasis on the process of learning instead of attaining products like scores, grades, or awards. The key to a successful process is becoming better in the future.

  1. Prepare for Adulthood

Not many parents sufficiently prepare their children for adulthood. There’s a method suggested by experts to be effective in preparing the kids known as big-picture.

This parenting allows the kids to think independently and solve problems by themselves. Parents gradually pull back and give them the opportunity to figure it out.

Whenever the children encounter a problem, parents may ask how they will solve the problem and how to make it different next time. If needed, these parents offer suggestions but will respect child’s decision to deal with the problem.

  1. Be Patient

It’s hard to change your parenting style, moreover if you’re already accustomed to one. But thinking about your children’s future can be your best motivation to move on. It’s not only you but also your children who need to adapt to the new style, so you’ve got to be patient. In the beginning, your kids may wonder why you act differently but they will get used to it over time.

There are several lessons we can learn from these parents and if you fall into this category, you can find ways to start over and adequately prepare the kids for adulthood.

Despite snowplow parenting is controversial, this hyper-intensive parenting has been practiced by plenty of parents. It causes a number of negative effects on the children, like poor problem-solving skills and lack of self-efficacy.

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