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Lawn Mower Parent: Good Or Bad? It Depends.

A teacher recently wrote an angry anonymous letter on WeAreTeachers.com that stemmed from frustration that a parent brought a water bottle to school for their child vs. letting them drink from a water fountain. She called this form of parenting the ‘lawnmower parent.’

What is a lawn mower parent? According to social media, it is a parent who prevents their child from experiencing failure or discomfort, at any cost.

She felt that this type of enablement led to adult failure. That parents who rescue their children are destined to miss out on valuable lessons that they can learn from. I agree.

As a mother of four children, I often believe that consequences to poor decisions make the best lasting impression on a child who is growing up, but let’s be real, she is a public school teacher. And, it’s a stretch between paying off a school to get your kid into a great college vs. bringing items to your teenager even if they are in their senior year because you know that their day is tough, and being 8-hours without an item would stink.

I reversed this scenario to see how it would play out in a husband and wife situation. Wife forgets her water bottle at home. Husband is heading to work and can drop it off. Wife asks her husband if he can just swing by her office and bring it to her. He says to her to drink out of the water fountain for the day. Husband ends up sleeping in the dog house. Doesn’t sound too loving, does it?

As a conservative mother, my number one job is to love my child the way that I would want to be loved. Of course, if there is a lesson to be learned, there are lots of ways to go about teaching it. I don’t think that pain and suffering, such as catching the flu from drinking out of a dirty water public water fountain is the best way to resolve the problem in that case. I also don’t know if making a child attend school, physical fitness, and then ride a bus home is the ideal way to teach a student to remember to bring their water bottle to school. To me, the teacher took a stretch to use this as an example, but I do see her point.

From a conservative mother’s standpoint, I see school as a danger zone these days. Ten years ago I did not. There’s a lot coming at kids in today’s society and not just in the form of drugs and bad grades. Just last week, on the news, there was a story about a student on a hall pass committing suicide in the auditorium. Since Parkland, there is a school shooting every 12 days. are stories each day about teachers abusing students, and even though educators are doing the best that they can, the school system has major control issues that don’t exactly instill a lot of faith in the system. I’m sorry, teacher. Lawn mower parenting or not, in this particular situation, I think that you are wrong.

Our kids aren’t growing up in a generation that we grew up in. It’s difficult to know when to be the intermediary on behalf of your child when they are in public school, no matter what age they are. This is why homeschooling is on the rise to the tune of 1.77 million students since 2012. In fact, one-third of parents fear for their child’s safety.

Maybe I feel this way because I was a teacher who left the system to be a homeschooling parent. I witnessed the pressures that students faced in the classroom. I’m all for allowing teachers to do their job. I was a teacher, myself, and remember one particular private school student whose mother would writer her daughter a sick note each time a test was due in class, the entire school year.

Like this teacher, I complained. My biggest concern for her child was that she would never grow up to be responsible. Her daughter did not land a high profile job. She became a flight attendant. It took her longer to get to where she was going, but some children are late bloomers in life. In the end, I was wrong. Were her parents? I don’t know.

Personally, I wish more parents would have been involved in their child’s lives. I wish more parents would call to communicate with their teachers. It would provide an opportunity to connect and learn about the student’s needs, overall. Not all students whose parents come in to help them will be failures. Not all lawnmower parents are bad.

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About A.G. Mitter

A. G. Mitter writes about parenting and political matters affecting the family.

3 comments

  1. Why don’t this teacher spend more time teaching and less time criticizing. If that were my child and I had the time, dang right I am bring the water bottle. I also disagree with this comment “even though educators are doing the best that they can.” I live in Oklahoma. I see teachers here as extortionist. Strike “for the good of the children.” Give me more money and I will be a better teacher. Garbage.

  2. We are a nation of judgementalists! Who do we think we are? People who live in glass houses shoudn’t! Not one of us is perfect. Not one of us “knows it ALL” when it comes to our neighbors. Appearances ARE deceiving. “Snow-Plow parents”, “Lawn Mower parents” says WHO? IF Americans would stop hating and judging their neighbors and show concern and kindness, we would not be “a nation divided”. Yes, our society today IS at fault, but EACH of US are ‘society”. What are we doing to make it better? Certainly not pointing fingers at others, whom we don’t understand or care to. Get a grip, people, fix ourselves and help others. Stop making things worse with hate.

  3. Michael Waits,Sr

    Such a good article. Thank you….

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