Parents who 'snowplow' deprive kids of learning to clear their own paths

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  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    I see, on average, one snowplow parent a day in my job as a school counselor. Until we let our children fail, then help them figure out what to do differently next time, then we are raising a generation that will struggle for their entire lives. Or at least until they figure it out somehow.

  • DanB Portland, OR
    Feb. 14, 2014 11:04 p.m.

    Failure and the ability to learn and comeback from it is an essential element of "God's Plan for Happiness." Otherwise, why would we need Christ's Atonement?

    While our Heavenly Father could be a snowplow parent (and sometimes He is), He usually isn't. Likewise, while He could be a helicopter parent (and sometimes He is), He usually isn't.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 12:16 p.m.


    Thanks, you're right. I guess I was only referring to the direct management part. Many parents get stuck there. It is so much more enjoyable to be a consultant than a manager.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    To "jeanie" as a parent you never work yourself out of a job. You just go from direct management to consultant.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 8:48 p.m.

    Completely agree with Brent T. As parents our job is to work ourselves out of a job.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Feb. 11, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    These articles drive me absolutely nuts. You (meaning our offspring, aside from legally being mentally challenged) are an adult in this country at age 18. The best thing my dad did (well, he was great on a lot of things) was to say happy birthday, bestow gifts and then hand me a bill for the rent (room and board) on my 18th birthday. We did the same for our children. One can be generous and helpful (we loaned our adult child money at a nice interest rate), but you fly at 18. Therefore, things happen well before that age to be ready to fly. Fairly certain that myself, and our kids, not only could do their own laundry by at least age 12, but that they didn't want us to touch it. While we certainly "gifted" clothing and stuff birthdays and holidays, the expectation was these were things they got for themselves -- by jobs and making money. None had allowances nor expected them. They all cooked before then. Could go on... just can't comprehend the idea that parents feel responsible to support kids in adulthood.

  • Sam from the south Washington, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    This is my 35th year as a secondary public school teacher in Utah. Terrific article. I wish that all parents would read this and pause to think about how they are doing. We see this all the time. How things have changed over the past few decades.

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 2:11 p.m.

    There's a funny Studio C skit about this kind of parents treated kids in the 1950's vs. how parents treat kids these days.
    How true that is.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 1:09 p.m.

    Amen! As a teacher the past 32 years, I've seen plenty of helicopters and snowplows. Kids need to learn how to cope when they are young, or those first years out on their own can be a nightmare. Also, when parents "browbeat" teachers in front of their kids, that teacher no longer has any respect or influence with that child. If you have an issue with a teacher, talk to the teacher privately and work it out. Parents need to let their kids start to grow up at an age-appropriate rate. The mom of one of my current students walks her right into class every morning and calls her "Baby" as she leaves. Seriously!

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    The sad thing is that psychologists and other similar specialists recognize that saving kids from failures is bad are often the same people wanting to save adults from their failures.

    Read the article again, but replace kids with adults and parents with Government.

    If it is bad for kids to avoid struggling or suffering from mistakes, what about adults? Is it good for adults to avoid the consequences of their mistakes?

  • Carchee Carchee, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    Just think if you were a helicopter and snowplow parent! That would be outrageous and you would be called heliplow or copterplow or something like that.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    The real secret lies in finding a balance, which focuses on teaching the children how to overcome obstacles themselves rather than assuming that mom and dad will always be there to fix everything. Sometimes, kids will need some help from parents, but they need to learn how to deal with their own problems when possible and that there are some problems that can't be fixed.

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Feb. 11, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    Also parents do learn from their own kids watching them to route along some struggles.
    They would deprive themselves of valueable lessons having avoided any possible resistance to struggle, but be careful, overbearance is counterfeeding your progress.

    And what about the progress of those who have no children ?

    Also here is some I like to get off my chest.

    As much as I admire those who have no children of their own or cannot, holding on to their faith well done, but I cannot relate to their struggle anymore.

    Because for everything in life you can find reasons, and no kids around you is a reason.
    You are wasting a wonderful life time not having kids around.

    Adoption and even if that would not be possible, there are so many suffering children sometimes without a home or parents around Utah or the world.
    You have given them the sacrifice and love of a life time, if you get involved.

    This article is not for families with children exclusively, you can make one on your own.
    Stop complaining about not having children, have some.
    What you have done unto one of the Least you have done....

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Feb. 11, 2014 6:24 a.m.

    Beautiful article, right on the spot.
    Sometimes I wonder which newspaper could be better across the country ?

    : (People think they are protecting their kids when they are really setting them up to be more vulnerable."
    Kids usually don't like it, either. They want to learn to do things on their own, and they crave some independence.)

    Those solid characters as we find them in Church Authorities, are known to have struggled during their first 2 decades of life.

    I would add, not only the children need to find the opposition in all things, but our time and media puts them on a hold for development.
    Its cracker time.