Many of you who watched the last Winter Olympics became captivated by the curious sport of Curling. In it, players slide a stone across a sheet of ice towards a target area. Probably the oddest-looking aspect of the sport are the “Sweepers.” It’s their job to sweep ahead of the stone to reduce friction and allow the stone to travel further and stay straighter.
Danish psychologist Bent Hougaard coined the term “Curling Parents” to refer to those parents who insist on sweeping everything that may get in the way of their child, their own polished stone. Such parents are excessive hoverers. They continually make sure that nothing is interfering with or negatively affecting their child. They are always sweeping.
Another term that even the colleges are referring to with increased frequency are “Lawnmower Parents.” Like the Curlers, the Lawnmower Parents look to smooth down and mow over all obstacles that could be in the young person’s path. Such parents may attempt to call the college professors about their child receiving an unsatisfactory grade. Lawnmower parents have even been reported to interfere with the salary negotiations once the child becomes an adult.
Modern parenting has countered what it believes to be the sins of the previous generation’s parenting style.
Have we placed the pendulum too far on the other side? Are we accommodating, modifying, smoothing and making nice to the child’s detriment?
It would certainly seem that a bit of “dusting oneself off” (to borrow a dated term from another generation) and getting back in the game may be of great value to most kids as a life’s lesson.