Sharon DeVellis: Inside Scoop


Snow Plow Parenting

The New Parenting Label Du Jour

First it was Helicopter Parenting. Then to negate the hovering, Free-Range Parenting became the new term du jour. Let us not forget the Tiger Mom.

Yesterday as I was driving home from a speed skating meet a news story came on about Snow Plow Parenting. A snow plow parent pushes life’s obstacles out of a child’s way in an effort to ensure he or she succeeds.

It was ironic that I was listening to this news report because (a) I was driving through a freak snowstorm and would have given my right arm for a snow plow and (b) I had just spent nine hours at an arena watching my son skate and although he had a fantastic meet getting a new personal best on his 500m time, he felt he did terrible because he came in last for each of his races.

But this isn’t about him. This is about all of us.

Can we just stop labeling? Because quite frankly I think each of us has a little “helicopter/free-range/tiger mom/snow plow/whatever new term you’re going to come up with” in us.

When my oldest son was a mere toddler I couldn’t imagine him going to the park without me. Now he does, but he has a cell phone so we can text each other if we need to. Does this make me free-range or a hoverer?

Yesterday at the speed skating meet I tried to make him feel better when he was near tears at his perceived losses. When he told me he felt like he was going to lose his next race too, I told him we might as well leave because with an attitude like that he would. Was I coddling him or too militant?

The other day my son was given an extra day to finish a web project because a glitch on the school computer erased his work. But when he worked on it at home, the editing program was showing up differently on our computer. After attempting to help him for an hour I wrote his teacher an email to tell him that we weren’t able to do it and to ask if my son could have time in class the next day to work on it.

Was this me snow plowing?

I sent my other son to hockey practice today even though he has a cold. Does that mean I’m a Tiger Mom?

Here’s the thing. I don’t think I’m any of them. I’m simply a mom who’s trying to figure it out and making it up as I go along. There may be days when I over or under compensate but this does not make me into a certain type of parent.

We are not a media-hyped label, we are all parents trying to figure it out. And guess what? Here’s a news flash. We’re all going to make mistakes along the way.

Get over it.

Tired of the labels.