Published: 06th April 2019
Are we into hyper-parenting? Explaining the terms tiger parenting, snowplow parenting and more
The right type of parenting is critical for the healthy physical, mental and emotional growth of children
I think parenting these days is definitely different from when a lot of people grew up. As much blame as we give a lot of our kids for what they’re not doing... I also try to give them as much credit for dealing with things that we didn’t have to deal with. Bullying was one on one and face to face. Now it’s all over the internet”
– Nelly, American rapper
The right type of parenting is critical for the healthy physical, mental and emotional growth of children. The subject of how much freedom is to be given to children is widely debated. Two negative aspects of it have given us colourful vocabulary – helicopter parents and tiger mums – which are explained below for the uninitiated.
A helicopter parent is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they ‘hover overhead’, overseeing every aspect of their child’s life constantly. Tiger parenting is strict or demanding parenting. Tiger parents push and pressure their children to attain high levels of academic achievement, using authoritarian parenting methods.
Now comes Snowplow parenting. Victoria Richards, writing for Huffpost, UK (30/3/19) titles her article What is Snowplow parenting – and should you be concerned about it? – which is excerpted here. The premise of this latest guilt-inducing label appears to be the idea that rather than hovering anxiously over their kids like parent-shaped aircraft, 2019 parents are strapping themselves into the driving seat of a machine designed to clear roads of thick snow by pushing it aside. Basically, the term describes the method by which some overprotective parents steam-roll in to ensure their children’s success – and they won’t let anything stop them. In the US, according to The Independent, ‘snowplow’ parents are those responsible for the recent college bribery scandal.
There are consequences of snowplow parenting: The prestigious Yale University has expelled a student whose parents paid more than a million dollars in bribes to get her in, the first such move since a huge admissions scandal erupted earlier this month. Some 50 people have been indicted so far in a scam to help children of the American elite gain entry into top US colleges. They include sports coaches who provided bogus recommendations, university administrators who manipulated test scores, and 33 parents accused of paying bribes totalling some $6.5 million to guarantee admission for their children.