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7 Signs You Might Be a 'Snow Plow' Parent

by Julie Ryan Evans on February 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM

snow plowMove over tiger moms; hover elsewhere helicopter parents. There's a new type of parent in town -- the "snow plow" parent. They come with the same motives as the others -- to produce superior children -- but they take a slightly different approach.

According to an ABC story that highlighted the growing trend, snow plow parents are those who attempt to push life's obstacles out of their children's way. It can be with anything -- from friends to school and sports -- and they'll do anything to ensure their children don't fail. They interviewed one mom who wanted her son to get a good position on his baseball team. She brought lemon cupcakes to practice one day, but when she realized the coach didn't like lemon, she baked some new vanilla ones and delivered them personally to his house.

That's a fairly tame example, but there are plenty of others who go to more extreme lengths. And while they may think they're helping their kids, they're really setting them up for failure later in life when they're ill-equipped to handle the real world.

It's understandable to some degree, as we all want what's best for our kids, but there's a definite line as to what's over-the-top, and some ... plow right over it. Here are seven signs you might have snow plow parent tendencies

1. If you've ever approached your child's school and tried to get your kid switched to another class just because her friends aren't in the one to which she was assigned. (Lord forbid she has to make new ones.)

2. If you've ever offered incentives/bribes to a coach to help your kid make a team or get more playing time.

3. If you've ever screamed at a referee or charged the field to argue with an umpire for making a "wrong" call against your kid or her team.

4. If you "help"  your child with every homework assignment and project (i.e., pretty much do it for them).

5. If you've ever helped your child try to get a grade changed ... especially when she's in college.

6. Likewise, if you've ever hacked into your child's school system to change your child's grade yourself, you're very likely a snow plow parent. (Yes, it happens.)

7. Finally, remember that mom, Wanda Holloway, who plotted to have the mother of her daughter's cheerleading rival killed? Yeah, if you can kind of see where she was coming from, you're most definitely a snow plow parent.

Do you think you might be a snow plow parent?

 

Image via ww3billard/Flickr

Filed Under: behavior, education, kid health

Comments

13
  • gabe05
    --

    gabe05

    February 21, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    I have total compassion and understanding of snowplow parents.  I would love to clear all the obstacles from in front of my children.  I would love to wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them from ever feeling rejected or teased or any of the many negative feelings that we all hate.  To be honest, if I could figure out a way to actually accomplish that, I would highly consider it.  Unfortunately, my job as a parent is to prepare my children to handle all the bad things of life, which means I would be doing them a disservice if I protected them from all of it. 


  • nekoy...
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    nekoyukidoll

    February 22, 2013 at 12:20 AM
    I totally know a snowplow parent. There is a family I used to know where the mom and dad actually called their kid's college professor and threatened them. Totally crazy. I get wanting to help your kid and all but let them fight there own battles and learn that things aren't always gonna go their way; it's not the end of the world if your kid gets a bad grade or doesn't get on the team of there choice. Life goes on.
  • amiec...
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    amiecanflie

    February 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I'm more of a bulldozer: I only come in to clean up the big stuff. ;]


  • jpfsmom
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    jpfsmom

    February 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM
    I'm far from it but my husband is a teacher and coach and he's had dealings with them quite a bit. It never ceases to amaze me how far parents will go to assure their child doesn't experience disappointment.
  • gamma4
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    gamma4

    February 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM
    I know someone that does number 4 but otherwise let's the kid live lifes troubles and comforts them through them as we should..lol
  • Lesli...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Leslie Johnson

    February 22, 2013 at 12:58 PM
    My ex-husband continues to follow No. 3. I am guilty of repeating No. 4. My ex criticizes me by saying, "Are you going to go to college with them, too?" Yes, I'd love to...
  • Abbys...
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    AbbysMom1017

    February 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    These parents are the reason we have kids walking around with no common sense and doing senseless stupid sh*t. And the reason I got out of retail to own my own business, I was sick and tired of managing teenagers and anyone under 30 that couldn't come to work on time, come dressed appropriately or know how to be respectful. I had SEVERAL parents call in for some of my employees to tell me they were sick and staying home, THEY WERE ALL OVER THE AGE OF 21!!!! Like seriously?


  • Amy Deal
    -- Facebook comment from

    Amy Deal

    February 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM
    I have four very strong willed independant children ranging from 17 to 9 years-old!! They think for themselves and are able to figure out problems for themselves, they don't throw fits or blame others when they don't get something they just work harder for something else they want. We would have a better generation of children if parents would stop "snowplowing" for their children and show them that the word is not going to hand you everthing you want. Don't get me wrong there are instances where the parents need to protect and help their children, but with looking at todays young kids parents are going to far.
  • Reen1
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    Reen1

    February 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    These types of parents are not doing their children any favors. They are stripping their children of any sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth. They are refusing them the privelage of seeing THEMSELVES fall and then get back up on their own feet, building their self esteem and problem solving capabilities. Self esteem is called SELF esteem for a reason. It is esteem of YOURSELF. You cannot give your child self esteem, they have to earn it for themselves, and the way they do this is not by having a parent who always "wipes their noses", but by experiencing and figuring things out for themselves, and watching themselves overcome and grow into functional human beings. A child who experiences himself fail, and then gets back up on his own two feet and succeeds... THAT is a child who is going to become a strong, powerful, confident, intelligent adult.


  • Helen...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Helena Marfell

    February 24, 2013 at 1:13 PM
    Hubby is totally a 'snowplow'. Stepdaughter is failing school & has been for 4 years, but keeps getting passed to the next grade level because he belabors the school teachers, officials, etc, to keep passing her. She's now in 7th grade, at a 3rd-grade level and will require extensive tutoring to catch up, IF she even can, and has no motivation to try...it's tragic, but it's why I try so hard to help. There are kids like this everywhere.
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