The celebrity college-acceptance scandal, where high-profile parents like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were accused of doing immoral or illegal things to give their kids a leg up with college admissions, has put the idea of “lawnmower parenting” in the spotlight. This over-involved parenting style is also called “snowplow parenting” or “bulldozer parenting” but, no matter what name you give it, experts say it hurts kids in the long run.

What is lawnmower parenting?

Lawnmower parents are over-involved in their kids lives, to the point of not giving their children a chance to figure out anything on their own. “The parents are doing everything they can to clear a path for their children,” says Carla Naumburg, Ph.D., a clinical social worker and the author of the upcoming book How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids. “These parents don’t want their kids to ever hit a wall, or trip and fall, or lose their way, so they’re constantly putting themselves out ahead, doing their best to make sure their kids have the easiest journey possible.”

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