During the week, I read an article about a parenting style called ‘Lawnmower’.
Lawnmower parenting take helicopter parents to the next level. But instead of hovering above, a lawnmower parent will do everything in their control to clear the path ahead for their child.
This is a devoted parent who wants the best for their child. Maybe they had a bad experience with adversity when they were young or it could be in an effort to accelerate their child’s success. Parenting styles probably stem from how we were raised or perhaps the very opposite of how we were raised?
Either way, In my role as a tennis coach, I have seen and experienced a range of parenting styles. As part of my coaching philosophy, I try and teach young tennis players to be as independent as possible and to experience both success but also adversity, as that is where most of the lessons are.
So what impact can a lawnmower parenting style have on a child’s tennis development?
A loss of resilience – Child looking to parent during a match, “help me mum, help me dad.”
A loss of long term development – Child reluctant to adjust a technique that short term causes mistakes.
A loss of growth and challenge – Child may end up playing in matches that they easily win.
A loss of confidence and belief – Child may end up only playing with better players (quest to improve fastest)
A damage to relationship – Child may end up resenting their parent and feel crowded.
So there are a lot of downsides to the lawnmower style but it really depends on how it is executed. Involvement and interest in your kids is fantastic but removing all the life lessons has some potential downsides.
If you are curious about this parenting style, check out this article.
As tennis coaches, the parents who sit in the middle of the spectrum help to really develop their children’s resilience.