Adulting, Helicopter Parents, and Snow Plow Types

As if helicoptering parents weren’t enough, there’s a new breed of moms and dads on the scene these days. These so-called “snow plough” types don’t just hover; they stay ahead of the curve, removing potential roadblocks in their children’s paths to ensure their safe passage through this perilous world.

Consider the widely publicised college admissions scandal, which erupted in March and implicated at least 50 jailed parents, including actress Felicity Huffman. She expressed “great regret and shame” and apologised to individuals who obtained college acceptance based on their own merit after being caught paying $15,000 for a bogus SAT score for her daughter before serving a relatively brief sentence.

According to a New York Times/Morning Consult poll of 1,136 parents of 18- to 28-year-olds and 1,508 young people in that age range, many parents can’t seem to let go of the reigns and let their grown-up children fend for themselves.
The poll discovered the following among parents:

76 percent indicated they’d reminded their adult children about upcoming deadlines, such as schoolwork.
74% scheduled appointments for them, including a doctor’s visit.
42 percent gave them dating and romantic life guidance.
22% assisted them in studying for an exam.
16 percent assisted in the preparation of a job or internship application in whole or in part.
15% called or texted their parents to make sure they didn’t miss a class or a test.
And so on…
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a Republican, says “… Adolescence is no longer regarded as a formative and restricted period. Many parents and educators are abdicating their responsibilities to teach their children how to develop foresight and resilience. As a result, many young people are failing to acquire the self-reliance, strong character, and self-esteem that they would otherwise have, leaving them unprepared for the challenges of adulthood.”

As a result, even in their late teens, children lack the abilities and resources to deal with frustration, annoyance, and failure—the best teacher of all. Incapable of standing on their own, they have a “let someone else do it for me” attitude rather than a “can do” attitude.

Adulting, or acting like an adult, is a term used to describe this behaviour. To put it another way, they must work, pay bills, live independently, write checks, and otherwise fend for themselves.

As an example, and in God’s honest truth: A few months ago, a 21-year-old woman in line with me at the post office informed me she was “adulting” by posting a letter on her own for the first time.

I’d never heard the term before that day, but I now hear it frequently.

It’s no surprise, however, that young people support candidates like Bernie Sanders, who, if elected, will eliminate all school debt, thus making taxpayers the snowploughs parent. Likewise, Elizabeth Warren’s plan for debt forgiveness based on a borrower’s income.

“The objective is to prepare the kid for the road, rather than the road for the kid,” says former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of the book How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. You can’t simply transport people to the future you desire. They must put forth the effort to improve their abilities.”