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Snow-plow Parenting Isn’t The Problem, Society Is.

Kids aren’t growing up according to a new survey

It states that snow-plow parents are the worst of all parents. They still helping their adult children complete certain tasks that they should know how to do at the time of adulthood — which is right after high school graduation.

What tasks are snow-plow parents doing? Here are some examples:

Scheduling appointments, helping their child study for an exam, telling them what career to pursue, providing financial support, or calling their kid’s employer when something was going wrong at work.

Sometimes I read these types of complaints online and ask what do people think adult children are doing for their aging parents? There are plenty of adults who spend a good portion of their own working years providing food, money, and assistance for their aging parents. Are these people snow-plow adult-children?

Many adult children help their aged parents fill out social security and insurance forms. They write appeal letters. Some parents even call their aging parents’ landlord, if they rent, or their banks on their behalf when there’s a problem.

What’s the difference if you’re a youth vs. an aged person?  The argument against snow-plow parenting is that ‘growing up means making mistakes’ so the converse can be ‘growing old means making mistakes, too.”

The problem is that mistakes are costly. Mistakes are not seen as learning opportunities for life lessons. One too many life lessons later, you can end up ruining a future, and it doesn’t have to include going to jail or filing bankruptcy. In life, there are few opportunities and a small portion of open doors. It’s a lot of responsibility for a child who has just graduated from high school. As a mother of four kids, I often wonder if we are pushing youth to be grown too fast and too hard.

I understand that after high school teens are expected to be prepared to enter the real world, but most of them are not. Could it be that life moves so fast in high school between the parent’s job, after-school activities and homework that there’s little time left for parents to finish their role by the age of 18?

Rather than tear down parents who are doing the best that they can, it would be even better to talk about the current societal structures in place that prevent parents from being home with their children more so that they can complete their jobs rather than having to see it extend it beyond high school graduation.

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About Aria Gmitter

Aria Gmitter writes about parenting and political matters affecting the family.

6 comments

  1. Helicopter moms are the problem as I see it.

    At seventeen years old my father in law was sitting on an anti aircraft gun on a US Navy destroyer off the coast of Normandy during D-Day (he lied about his age to get enlisted) At seventeen years old I cut financial ties with my parents and moved out of my childhood home and into my first apartment(I lied about my age to sign the lease).

    Please don’t equate helping a 20 something year old son or daughter with helping an aging parent. Most parents won’t need help for the last 18+ years of their life. If the child needs help after about 20 years of age, their parents have failed them.

    Don’t make excuses.

  2. One of the biggest problems kids are experiencing today is that their parents don’t challenge them enough – a child who is challenged at an early age is far more likely to be successful later in life. Anything a child is taught (good or bad) early in life takes firm hold of that person’s mind and tends to set the tone for his or her entire life. We’re all self-motivated, too – as a college automotive instructor, I’ve seen more than a few teens who, although they seemed “smarter” than some others, lacked the grit and inner motivation do do anything except hang around and hope they’d learn by osmosis – but they never do. The kids who don’t seem as quick to catch on but have had to work harder to get passing grades in school tend to do better in life than those who sailed through all their courses in school without studying.

    A child who is taught personal responsibility and money management when they’re very young understands those things later on. My own children have proved that out; I taught them work ethic, told them Bible accounts of people who won out in the end because they did the right things, and taught them about money management, and today they’re all three married with children and doing very well.

    My oldest son was on his own and paying his own bills at age 18 – he went into the Navy at age 22 and spent 10 years in the nuclear program before leaving the Navy and taking a job as a facilities maintenance technician at a large automotive assembly plant. His two children aren’t in the public school system and began at a very early age to learn all the things I taught him (including the importance of knowing the Bible). They learned cursive writing in the first grade, and they’re good at it – at ages 8 and 10 now, they’re always some of the smartest, hardest working kids in the room anywhere they go (and the most humble).

    I could share lots of things about all my grandkids, but their parents – my children – learned parenting from me, and one of the most important elements is consistency, and for them to learn to start each day with completed tasks and the willingness to take personal responsibility for their own learning, their own mistakes, and their own provision, as soon as they’re old enough.

    In the founding era, Benjamin Rush was 14 when he graduated from Princeton.
    Thomas Jefferson was 9 when he began the study of Latin, Greek, and French – at 16 he entered William and Mary College – it was common for American youth to be trilingual and to enter college between the ages of 13 and 16.

    When Andrew Jackson was 13 he was serving in the Continental Army. At 14, he was a British POW, and at 16, he was a schoolteacher.

    When Maria Mitchell was 11, she was a teaching assistant and studying astronomy – at seventeen, she headed her on academy training women in astronomy and science.

    When Buffalo Bill was nine, he was a cattle driver – at 11, he was a legendary Indian fighter – at 12, he was a trapper and woodsman – at 13, a Pony Express rider – at 15, he was riding military dispatches. at 16, he was a guide and a scout for the military, where he became a Medal of Honor winner.

    Like Buffalo Bill, Charlie Miller (1850-1955) was a Pony Express rider, with each of his trips being a ten-day ride at breakneck speed, covering some 1800 miles between St. Joseph, Missouri and San Francisco, CA, fighting hardships, dangers, storms, Indians, and outlaws all along the way.

    When Annie Oakley was nine she was already earning money as a sharpshooter with her rifle.

    The point is that kids that aren’t challenged don’t do as well in life as those who are. That’s the biggest problem facing kids today is that their parents don’t believe in them – and they’re taught not to believe in themselves.

    • Oh you write this very well. I agree. Thanks for this, I needed it as my grandson leaves for college out of state after graduation. He is the son of a single mother and has been sheltered all of his life. Maybe after his first year he will have a better eye opener of real life without mom. It scares me, but I am going to look at it as a ‘boot camp’. I want him to be a man and if this is the road to make it happen, so be it. Thanks.

  3. This seems like a feeble attempt to rationalize ‘snow-plow’ parenting.
    As parents, we teach proper principles and let them use their agency to choose to follow or not and if not, they must pay the consequences. If we do it for them, they NEVER learn. Yes, after we teach, we can remind’, but they need to be able to feel free to make their own choices. If they fail, either we didn’t foresee the ‘gap’ in our instruction, it which case we can be humble enough to say we’re sorry and help them see how they can fix the problem. We must empower them to feel they can make it on their own. Families are to help each other, not enable bad behavior or choices. Finally, as parents, we love them always but sometimes it must be tough love. They need to grow up and become self sufficient. We must not “need” to always jump in and save them. That is NOT love, it is selfishness.

  4. Makes me think of the “Officer Krupke” song from the “West Side Story” in which everyone and anyone gets blamed for the actions of the culprit except the culprit until the end of the song. Blaming “society” is a cop-out, something leftists do – they blame someone or something else, but never themselves, and since poor, little old society cannot respond, it is totally unfair to blame it. Failure is a fact of life. Be free…free to fail, free to try again and free to succeed if you can.

    • Well put, Al. I also think it is insulting for the ‘wonderful democrat socialists” to assume if a person is poor that they are stupid. Only a liberal socialist would think they are superior and must help the stupid poor person. I am independent and have always thought if at first you don’t succeed – try again, and again. Never give up. Poor people are not the issue, letting them be lazy and give up to let somebody do it for them, IS.
      Your comment “Free To Succeed” is inspiring. Wish it were on every school wall in America! Maybe the children can teach their parents after all. Nobody wants to be a leach. They are just taught it by example and given an easy pass. Thanks.

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