Helicopter parent and lawnmower parent

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The terms helicopter parent and lawnmower parent are recent editions to the lexicon that are used to describe a change in social mores. We will examine the definitions of helicopter parent and lawnmower parent, where these expressions came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.

A helicopter parent is a mother or father who is prone to hover over his or her child, to be overprotective or to be overly invested in his or her child’s life and feelings. Helicopter parents are an exaggeration of parents who are appropriately engaged in their child’s upbringing. A helicopter mom might ignore misbehavior, monitor academic performance too closely, and become indulgent and overly focused on the child’s feeling of self worth. Helicopter moms and dads are overparenting, hindering their sons’ and daughters’ social development. They hover, monitoring and attempting to control a child’s every move. The term helicopter parent was coined by child development experts Foster Cline and Jim Fay in the 1990s to a describe a new type of parenting they were observing. Helicopter parenting or overprotective parents emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a reaction to the fears of child abduction, a focus on expanding time spent on schoolwork, and the evolution of play dates. The Millennial generation is the first generation of adult children who have been raised by helicopter parents. Most experts agree that helicopter parenting often results in offspring who suffer from anxiety or depression, adults who lack life skills and survival skills and feel helpless, and adults who often lack self control and have an overwhelming fear of failure. Related phrases are helicopter parents, helicopter parented, helicopter parenting.

A lawnmower parent is one who clears a path for his or her child, a parent who intervenes in a situation before his or her child can experience any inconvenience or discomfort. Lawnmower parents often continue this behavior once their child has entered college or even after he or she has acquired an adult job. Children of lawnmower parents usually do not understand how to communicate with others or how to fit into a community. The term lawnmower parent came into use sometime around 2012. Related phrases are lawnmower parents, lawnmower parented, lawnmower parenting.


And even when parents do hover a bit over their children — the hallmark of a helicopter parent — it’s only harmful if their motivation is control rather than warmth. (The Deseret News)

Going through the process and not always being a “helicopter parent” also teaches that child about the importance of a belief in a higher power and strategic planning when things aren’t going so well or their way. (The Gainesville Sun)

The essay closes by referencing the 2016 post by assistant Duquesne University college professor Karen Fancher who says that lawnmower parenting of younger children leads to college students who can’t make decisions. (USA Today)

But by her own admission, Cherith is a ‘lawnmower’ parent who aims to mow down even the most trivial day-to-day inconveniences, in order to smooth the path ahead for her offspring. (The Daily Mail)