How To Stop Being a Snowplow Parent – Part 1

How To Stop Being a Snowplow Parent – Part 1 May 13, 2024

This is Part 1 of a two-part series for those of us parents who just love to help our kids – but maybe just a bit too much.

When our kids were young, Jeff and I took them to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One of Jeff’s friends has a cabin in the UP, and we drove through a massive snowstorm to get there. Once it cleared, we had so much fun taking our kids snowmobiling.

Jeff and his buddy would often go in front of us to smooth out the extra bumps, which I appreciated! I found it a bit scary to be at the front, with all the extra bumps and risks.

At the end of one day of snowmobiling, the kids wanted to build igloos, since the snow was so deep. Imagine what would have happened if, instead of letting them, we “went in front of them” by jumping in and saying, “We don’t want you packing all that snow because your hands might get cold. Here, let us build the igloos.”

That would be ridiculous.

And yet, as parents, how often do we do exactly that? It’s called snowplow parenting: Smoothing out our children’s paths so that they don’t get bumped and bruised by life.

Snowplow parenting sounds reasonable – and yet it can create serious risks for our kids in ways we don’t even see. Let’s look at how this plays out, first by seeing how big of an issue this is, and then sharing six steps that will help us stop.


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