‘Snow plough parenting’: Building a generation of kids with no resilience

Jun 03, 2021
Scraped knees and smacked bottoms were once the norm - now parents are getting more protective, but is it actually doing more damage? Source: Getty

Parenting methods have shifted dramatically over the decades, with many techniques once considered normal during the Boomer years now slammed as outdated and negligent. But experts are warning that some new parenting styles might not be any better, and are creating kids with a lack of resilience and problem-solving skills.

First, it was helicopter parents who went to extreme measures to interfere in their child’s life, and cotton wool parents who go to extreme lengths to keep their children safe. The changes in parenting style have been so drastic that many older generations have turned to educational classes to help them adjust to the new normal.

Now, a new trend is on the rise – snow plough parenting – and an expert has warned it’s building a generation of kids with a lack of resilience, inability to navigate common situations and make their own decisions.

Melbourne-based parenting expert Sharon Witt told The Daily Mail that snow plough parenting is when parents step in to solve issues or problems for their child as opposed to giving them the chance to figure out the solution themselves.

The former secondary school teacher turned parenting expert, author and presenter shared her thoughts on the rise of ‘snow plough parenting’ and said while she understands that parents want what’s best for their kids, this type of parenting can lead to a child’s inability to solve problems and doesn’t build resilience which they need later in life.

Witt said often the best way to spot a child who has a snow plough parent is to see whether a child has an inability to navigate common situations, especially at school. She said these type of parents may “feel the need to clear the way of any possible mistakes or poor choices their child may make, or solve issues for them, rather than allowing their child or teenager the opportunity to work through the solution and build their resilience muscle”.

Witt said this can lead to a child’s inability to solve problems themselves and might lead to personal issues later down the track, often robbing “their children of wonderful opportunities to learn about real life”.

“As our young people grow up, they are going to be faced with a multitude of obstacles and issues that they will need to learn to tackle themselves,” she said.

“For example, if a child or teenager forgets to bring their lunch to school, rather than allowing this to be an important lesson for their child to learn, a snow plough parent may be up at the school with lunch in hand, the minute they realise their child’s forgetfulness.

“Children and teens will not starve if they miss lunch on one day at school. This would be a perfect opportunity for a young person to learn resourcefulness.”

Witt’s parenting lessons are hardly harsh in comparison to some of the techniques Boomers’ parents used, and while we won’t be campaigning to bring soap in the mouth as punishment for swearing, surely there’s a happy medium?

What do you think, are children too soft these days?

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