Bridge Street

Taking on 'Lawnmower' Parents with Dr. Tanya Gesek

Guiding children to make good decisions can be challenging for most parents. From tackling homework, to staying on top of special assignments, sometimes it can be hard for parents to relinquish control. And in some cases, 'mowing over' issues that children face can seem easier than having them face them head on.

The so-called phenomenon, now referred to as "Lawnmower parents" has gone viral on Facebook after an anonymous middle school teacher shared the tale of a supposed run in with a “lawn mower dad.” “The lawnmower parent” is the term to describe parents who intervene in children’s difficulties and clear and smooth the path for them, like mowing your lawn.

And while helping our children succeed can be the extra push they need, Dr. Tanya Gesek said that 'mowing over' their challenges can in fact do more harm than good. Dr. Gesek isn't surprised that such a title exists. She's seen it in circumstances surrounding her own professional career.

Her biggest advice for parents of children at all ages is to allow kids the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them and to face their own challenges when it's suitable to do so.  Instead, parents should be responsible for making children ready for the path.

“In the long term, you are not allowing them to problem-solve and fix things on their own, and to become a more resilient adult,” Tanya added.

There are many different labels put on parents of children and the very best way to try your best is to let your children fail and succeed and set clear boundaries to help make that happen, she said.

Dr. Tanya Gesek is a child and family therapist. To learn how she can help you, visit her on Facebook at Facebook.com/TanyaGesekPHD.


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