Snowplow Parenting: How It Affects Your Child And How to Avoid It

Last Update on November 20, 2023 : Published on November 20, 2023
Snowplow Parenting

Parenting is a wonderful thing albeit a journey full of twists, turns, and unexpected bumps along the way. As parents, you want the best for your child, but sometimes, good intentions can inadvertently create more challenges rather than removing them. One such challenge that parents might face is snowplow parenting.

Among all parenting styles, snowplow parenting is the one that might sound healthy but can create more problems for your child in the future. As a parent, it’s normal to want a smooth sail for your child, but more often than not, you might end up removing all obstacles from your child’s path, making them dependent on you even in the future.

In this article, let’s explore what snowplow parenting is, what it might look like, how it affects your child, and how you can avoid being a snowplow parent.

What is Snowplow Parenting?

Just like a snow plow clears the path by removing any obstacle in its way, a parent who chooses to remove all obstacles, challenges, and difficulties from their child’s path can be a snowplow parent. While this approach might be rooted in good intentions, driven by the desire to ensure a challenge-free life for your child, it can end up creating more trouble than it might perceive.

It’s OK to want an obstacle-free life for your child, but engaging in snowplow parenting can be pretty overprotective and might even look controlling.

snowplow parenting

Signs of Snowplow Parenting

How to know if you’re engaging in snowplow parenting? Here are some signs of snowplow parenting that you need to keep an eye out for;

  • You tend to be overly involved in your children’s lives, from academics to extracurricular activities
  • You make decisions on behalf of your children without allowing them to make choices and face consequences
  • You shield your children from failure, often preventing them from learning crucial life lessons
  • You mediate before your children have a chance to face conflicts. It might look like intervening in conversations with your children’s friends, teachers, etc.
  • You constantly bring your children’s things to school if they leave them at home and you might even pack their bags for them
  • You rarely tell your children “NO” if they ask you for an activity or a thing
  • You assume that your children are always right causing you to defend your children’s side of the defense

How Does Snowplow Parenting Affect Children?

While the intention behind snow plow parenting is to provide the best for your child, it can inadvertently cause negative consequences on your child’s development and health.

Children raised under the constant protection of snowplow parenting might struggle with independence and making decisions on their own. Over time, this can affect their ability to face challenges head-on and make smart decisions.

Here are other negative effects of snowplow parenting on children;

1. Your child can’t take “NO” for an answer

Because you rarely tell your child “NO” when they ask for something, it can make it harder for them to hear “NO” in the future. This could make it challenging for your child to regulate themselves and they might even resort to throwing tantrums.

Also Read: Why Is It So Hard To Say ‘NO’?

2. Your child might have a fear of failure

Because you never reassured your child that it’s OK to fail and make mistakes, it might lead them to develop a fear of failure. This can make it harder for your child to become independent and see themselves as capable of handling life’s tough situations.

3. Your child can’t solve problems

And here I’m not talking about simple math problems either. Because you were always there to remove all obstacles from your child’s path, they never learned to become a problem-solver. They were never allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, causing them to become dependent on you, the parent, to solve their problems.

4. Your child is more anxious than others

Because you were always there to soothe them and their fears, your child might never learn to manage anxiety and frustrations. Long-term effects of anxiety could interfere with their ability to build and manage healthy relationships or function stress-free in life.

5. Your child has low self-esteem

Self-esteem and self-confidence are built when you allow your child to work on their weaknesses. In the snowplow parenting style, a child is not allowed to work through their frustrations and build confidence in themselves, which can lower their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Tips to Avoid Being a Snowplow Parent

So, how to avoid being a snowplow parent and allow your child to become independent and resilient? Here are some ways to avoid snowplow parenting;

1. Allow your child to be independent

To help your child become independent and resilient, you need to allow your child to make their decisions on their own and face the consequences of their choices. It allows them to make mistakes and learn from them which can help them in the future.

2. Let them embrace failure

You need to show your child that failure is a part of life, so instead of shielding them from failures and mistakes, let them make those mistakes. It’ll help them understand that failures doesn’t mean the end of the world but it’s an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

3. Create a supportive environment

To avoid becoming a snowplow parent, create a supportive environment where your child feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and expressing their feelings without feeling judged or rejected. It’s OK for you to let go and let your child experience new feelings and emotions.

4. Take care of your guilt

Parental guilt can affect your child as well, so to avoid becoming a snowplow parent, start by looking within and changing your expectations. How you think and act as a parent can affect your child’s development. So, learn to understand and cope with your parental guilt first.

5. Set boundaries with your child

Boundaries are an important part of any relationship including a parent-child relationship. You need to let your child understand that you can’t always jump in and save the day. Set boundaries with your child by not getting involved in everything they do. It’s OK to be aware of what’s happening in their lives, but it’s OK to not know everything about their lives too.

6. Embrace mindful parenting

Mindful parenting means being in the moment with your child. Engaging in mindful parenting can help you be more aware of your emotions and more intentional about your reactions. It can help you model a healthy parenting style for your child too.

how to stop being a snowplow parent

Snowplow Parenting vs. Helicopter Parenting

Snowplow parenting involves actively removing obstacles and challenges from your child’s path. The focus is on ensuring smooth sailing without bumps or setbacks. Snowplow parents might make decisions on behalf of their children and shield them from failure.

While the intention is rooted in love, constant intervention from the parent can affect the child’s ability to become independent, resilient, and a problem-solver. The risk is that children raised under this parenting style might struggle when faced with life’s inevitable challenges.

Helicopter parenting, on the other hand, involves hovering closely over a child, monitoring their every move. Helicopter parents are highly involved and tend to be overprotective. They might step in to solve problems, intervene in conflicts, and micromanage the different aspects of their child’s life, often out of fear for their safety.

Helicopter parenting can result in children feeling stifled, anxious, or overwhelmed. A lack of independence may lead to difficulties in decision-making and problem-solving, as children may become overly reliant on their parents.

If you’re still finding it hard to let go of the snowplow parenting style, then don’t hesitate to seek professional help and counseling. Parenting workshops, counseling, and support groups can be good sources to learn strategies to balance parenting with guidance and independence.

Wrapping Up…

Parenting means creating a balance between support, guidance, and letting go. While it’s OK to want to protect your child, being a constant snowplow in your child’s life could be more of a cripple than help. By allowing your child to become independent, resilient, and a problem-solver, you can help them become a person who can navigate through life’s challenges on their own with confidence and success.

As a parent, it’s not about clearing the path for your child but equipping them with the skills and tools they need to overcome their own challenges and obstacles and become a confident and resilient person that you’d be proud of.

I hope this article helped you understand what snowplow parenting is, what it looks like, how it impacts your child’s life, and how you can avoid becoming a snowplow parent. Let me know your thoughts about this parenting style in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On