0:00:00 – Speaker 1
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0:00:11 – Speaker 2
Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim On AM 630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyber parent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:38 – Speaker 1
Today’s show is about snow plow parenting. Now we gotta be honest here. I had never heard that term before I’ve heard it. I had never heard it and you defined it for me and I was like, oh yes, I know all about that.
0:00:52 – Speaker 3
I could say how I heard it, but it’s an irritating story.
0:00:56 – Speaker 1
Is it because someone said you were a snow plow parent?
0:01:01 – Speaker 3
Let’s just say somebody that my kid listens to an adult. A respectable teacher said to the class is your parent a snow plow parent?
0:01:13 – Speaker 1
0:01:14 – Speaker 3
And it kind of rubbed me the wrong way because I was like wait a minute, don’t. I don’t want to create a culture in our school where the parent is always the bad person.
0:01:24 – Speaker 1
0:01:25 – Speaker 3
It bothers me when that happens.
0:01:27 – Speaker 1
Well, because we also don’t want the teacher to be the bad person. No, we want to respect our elders.
0:01:32 – Speaker 3
It’s like a partnership, it is. Like we need to come together and respect each other, and I don’t know the way it was rephrased to me, although I’m only hearing one side of the story. It bugged me a little bit.
0:01:43 – Speaker 1
Well, what is it though?
0:01:44 – Speaker 3
Okay, yeah, I had to do some research on it. When I heard it, well, the teacher explained it to my kid. But then I had to do my further research on it and, by the way, this happened several years ago.
So, this isn’t like a new teacher, so nobody tried to go figure out who it was. But yeah, it’s again, it’s somebody. It’s kind of like a bulldozed parent, and I’ve heard it referred to as that as well. This is different than helicopter parenting, which we did a show on last, because helicopter is more like micromanaging right. And like staying in their business wanting to say the word hovering over them watching them as they’re texting their friends.
Yes, just being in that a snow plow or a bulldozed parent is. You are getting every obstacle out of their way for their success. Okay, so you’re bulldozing down obstacles, you’re you’re plowing things out of their path, so everything’s easy going.
0:02:39 – Speaker 1
0:02:41 – Speaker 3
I kind of think about this, as anytime I ask my kids to do a chore, I actually think about this. I’m not a snow plow parent because they’re unloading the dishwasher. They’re because, well, and that’s a light example but a snow plow parent would be like, well, I don’t want to inconvenience you because you need to focus on your future and you need to. But you know I’m into this whole. Yeah, I want you to focus on your future thing, but you got to learn real life skills over here as well.
0:03:07 – Speaker 1
Absolutely, you got to learn to survive. And this whole thing starts young. I have seen it, you know, even in kindergarten and first grade. I remember showing up at school and, um, there was a project that needed to be done and it was supposed to be done by the child. I mean, we’ve all been down this road. Pinterest is a bad thing and the teacher made it a point.
0:03:31 – Speaker 3
I’m so far from Pinterest.
0:03:32 – Speaker 1
Yeah Well, the teacher made a point to even say that. Listen, moms, this is not your project, like you’ve got to let your kids do it Bless that teacher Right.
And she’s like it can come in here looking crazy, but if I know they worked hard on it and it was their work they will get a good grade, like she made a point of it. And come the day of those presentations, don’t you know that there were some that was like you know, confetti blowing out the top and things that only adult could produce, yeah, like craziness for kindergarten and obviously not done by the child Beautiful handwriting. I mean just crazy town, because the kid, the parent, wanted their kid to get a perfect grade. Yeah, and this was kindergarten.
Yeah, so that just starts out like increases and increases, and increases as kids get older.
0:04:19 – Speaker 3
It does. You know, at my level. I’m looking at it from my perspective. My you know my kids going into high school and in eighth grade she had four high school classes already. So they’re on her transcript this is all going to be on her class rank. This is going to determine what college she can, colleges she can get into Like we’re, we’re, we’re on it now. You know, we’re, it’s, it’s.
0:04:39 – Speaker 1
You’re in it, sister.
0:04:41 – Speaker 3
It’s legit, which, by the way, parents, my kid is telling me legit is no longer cool because all the parents are using it now.
0:04:48 – Speaker 1
So I can use it. You need to tell her legit was from our generation. I know they stole it from us Too. Legit Come on and then.
0:04:55 – Speaker 3
And then they abbreviate it with lit.
0:04:58 – Speaker 1
0:04:59 – Speaker 3
Yeah, I’m like what. Anyway, my kid is saying mom don’t use the word anymore. It’s not cool, because parents started using it. Now we don’t use it. Yes, the trend anyway, what was I talking about, kim? Ap classes, ap classes, yes, thank you again.
0:05:13 – Speaker 2
My mind is kind of.
0:05:14 – Speaker 3
We’re a hot mess today in the studio and so AP classes. So a snow plow parent would be the one that, if your kid is getting a B or C, the snow plow parent is thinking, well, that can’t be on the final transcript, right? So they’re either emailing the teacher to figure it out for themselves, they are Setting in the school office saying you’re gonna drop my kid from this class because it cannot be on their transcript. You are demanding, right. And if you go to the kid and ask them, the kid will probably be like well, I’m trying my best, you know it is what it is like they’re not all riled up about it but, we are Mm-hmm, so we have to shift our parenting here.
Yeah, we want our kids to have the stake in this, like they need to see the importance. They need to fight for their AP classes. They need to fight for their class rank. We don’t need to be fighting for it. No, absolutely not and we cannot Just snow plow things that are in their way. Well, and you that grade or a sports being harder?
0:06:15 – Speaker 1
on them. We see this all the time in sports too. Like your kid doesn’t make the sports team. Oh, mama, dad shows up.
0:06:22 – Speaker 3
Like I’ve heard of this, like they’re, they’re like demanding the coach put them on their team and a or why was my kid on the sideline during that play?
0:06:30 – Speaker 1
My kid is the best at this thing and they need to be out there, not trusting that the coach may be doing something there, you know, maybe teaching a lesson, maybe showing another child that they have a skill set to who knows what’s happening. I mean, it’s a big deal in sports. It’s a problem.
0:06:46 – Speaker 3
And let me just pause for a minute here, Like how humiliating is for that kid yes, I mean I’m sorry if I was not put in to play and my parent went over to the coach in front of all the everybody and said why you’ve just pointed out that I didn’t play. Yeah, you’ve just. I mean it’s just embarrassing to the kid too.
0:07:08 – Speaker 1
I mean it doesn’t allow that natural consequence sometimes. So to play sports, most of the time you need to make the grade. That’s a whole thing, and Sometimes teachers and coaches will also be a part of that, snow plowing along with the parent by Helping the kid make the grade in a way that doesn’t make them work for it, just so they can play. So this comes out in a lot of different ways in sports. It’s nothing new. You’ve seen it in movies, you’ve seen it in real life and it takes away the ability for that kid to learn how to have a stake in it, like you said, to work for their own stuff, yeah. And how to resolve Situations that are not good, yeah. How do I walk through disappointment and Regret and challenges? If they never have to do it, then they’re gonna be void of a life skill that’s gonna carry them for a very long time you know, you and I have been talking a lot about.
0:08:02 – Speaker 3
I’ve been talking to you recently and some other people on our team. You know, I’ve got college in four years, coming up for my kid, for my daughter, and we’ve really been talking about what that looks like and it’s really important for my husband and I to help her some, but that she have a stake in it. Yeah, because In our lifetime, you know, we had one set of our parents paid for the college right and it was a situation where my husband he didn’t, he took it for granted like he. It took him longer to do college than I did. You know, it was just that I don’t have a stake in it, kind of thing. Oh yeah, and when we were talking about this he said I kind of felt like every obstacle was removed so that I could enjoy college.
Yeah and I said I don’t want that to happen to our kid right Like I want her to enjoy college. I want her to have that experience and obviously I want all all that with that comes with it.
But I want her to have a stake in the game. Sure, and so you know we’re entering into all these discussions with her right now, going into high school, about this is how much will pay, this is how much you’re probably gonna need to pay, and if you get scholarships, that amount that you pay will reduce. So all of these classes matter and so it’s gonna up her. And I even saw this year in eighth grade, you know, with her taking her for high school classes, there was one that she wasn’t doing great in and and she, on her own, went to the teacher, tried to figure out some things, got some extra credit. You know she did it. Yeah, I didn’t have to say because we’re she’s got she she’s invested in it.
She knows the importance of it, absolutely.
0:09:43 – Speaker 1
I’m glad that you said that about knowing the importance of it and and seeing that her actions have a consequence that’s good or bad. Yeah, I have a memory that has always stayed with me with parenting of my little brother going to his award ceremony at the end of the school year.
Yeah, and this was an award ceremony to celebrate Achievement, that’s how they labeled it. And so we went and we’re sitting there and every child in the school this was like 1200 kids got an award for everything cutest backpack, best at eating your lunch, like Ridiculous, like we really thought it was a joke. I by the end, and everybody’s dying because we’re like there’s no way they’re giving an award to everyone. So everybody had a blue ribbon, which usually indicates you’ve done the best or you’ve achieved something or you’ve worked hard for something. But everybody had it. And the first thing my brother said, who was in elementary school, when he sat down and said, like this doesn’t mean anything to me because everybody got one.
0:10:52 – Speaker 3
He didn’t have to work for it.
0:10:53 – Speaker 1
He didn’t have to work for it. Everybody got the same thing. They labeled it differently, but everybody got the same thing. And that made such an impression on me and I was in high school at the time that I remembered it when we were, when we’re parenting that it’s not that you have to be the best or first, but when you’re working hard towards something and or when you do something to change the world or make a good choice morally, those are the things that yes, you did good, you get the pat on the back, and when you mess up, it’s okay to point that out. Like that wasn’t so good, like that was a struggle.
0:11:25 – Speaker 3
Or to like notice that you’re not good at things Absolutely, you know what I mean like this may not be your gifting and that’s okay. Yeah, like you tried it, you don’t like it, or maybe you’re not good at it. Just being honest with yourself.
0:11:38 – Speaker 1
My husband has coached for a bazillion years, loves youth sports yeah, he’s awesome at it too.
Well, he’s just a quieter kind of coach and, anyway, has talked so many times about how sports are such a great leveling field and a great opportunity for kids to learn their strengths and their weaknesses and working together.
And if you have your kids in sports, you know that, you know it’s a great experience. For that reason and he says all the time it’s so hard when he hears parents saying like you are the best at this, like you’re gonna be a superstar. And you would think, like they would know that their child, who is four feet tall and moves as slow as a snail, is not going to be in the NBA. And when their kid runs over and is like I’m gonna do this for my career, you think like okay, like it’s okay to say that, but he’s like I get those kids in high school and they still believe that. They still believe that they are going to be the next LeBron James. Because no one had that conversation with them like, hey, you know what? I’m glad you enjoy this sport and glad it’s fun, but this may not be your life plan and that’s okay.
0:12:47 – Speaker 3
You’re excellent at this, the hard conversations of it’s okay, not everything is going to be easy for you and you can’t do everything you know, one time we were leaving one of my kids flag football games and my son had had a great game, great game, he had played quarterback, he had he had thrown the ball. It was great. We got in the car and my husband said something to him and it irritated me. He said honey, you’re never gonna be the fastest, you’re just not fast. Yeah, you’re, you’re not gonna be able to do.
Be that running back that you want to be you know, whatever, because my, my, my son hates playing quarterback he wants to be the running back. He wants to be the person getting the touchdown yes right, and so we’ve had a lot of conversations with him about how he’s contributing to it. He doesn’t have to be the star you know what I?
mean, but he is the one that’s helping implement the play, that kind of thing. But when my husband said you’re not good at running, like I got defensive, yes, and I was like looking at him and he followed it up with. But you’re awesome at being able to talk to the team about the plan and executing what you need to do, like that is your strength. But later I was like honey, you can’t tell him that it’s so negative. And he he like set me straight. He was like no, we’re gonna be honest with our kids. Yes, he’s not a fast runner, he’s always gonna be the slowest on the team, because that’s not, that’s not his gifting well and you’re doing your child a favor because you’ve met those kids that are kind of pompous and they think they can do everything and that they’re the best at everything my kid kind of thinks that too.
0:14:22 – Speaker 1
Well, but his is just because he has that kind of personality.
0:14:25 – Speaker 2
0:14:27 – Speaker 1
But he understands the reality of it and he will know how to work through that. It’s great to have confident kids. I love that, but I think at the same time you wanna give them that skill of being able to accurately look at themselves. This is what I’m really good at. I need to follow that dream and pray about how God can use me in that way and clearly this is not my thing.
0:14:48 – Speaker 3
I enjoy doing it. It’s a self-evaluation tool. You’re teaching them to self-evaluate themselves Exactly. If you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 2 pm on AM 630,. The Word nextTalk Radio is listener supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through your donations To support our organization. Go to nextTalk.org and click on Give.
0:15:14 – Speaker 1
I gotta tell you I had my kids do swim team two years in a row now because I wanted them to be strong swimmers and that whole thing, and I really wished I could say you are gonna be the best and move all the obstacles out of the way. And oh, we didn’t go to that practice. That’s why you lost that race, no, plow it down.
No, plow it down Like that coach wasn’t good enough. That’s why we’re gonna change teams, all of that. But really, what the conversations ended up being in the car and at home was one in particular. We stood in front of the mirror together and I was like let’s look at our natural build guys. Like we are not tiny people. We are big, strong, tall people.
God designed us this way for a reason. We can get things off the top shelf for someone at the grocery store, but we are not running and winning any long distance races. We are gonna fall down. We’ll be huffing and puffing on the side of the road. That is just not how we’re built. Like that is not our God given ability.
Swimming is the same thing. We’re heavy, like we sink. We just we jump in and a lot of water comes out of the pool. You’re looking at themselves like what? Yeah? But I was like you know we’re big people and that’s a good thing because we can use that for all these sports. And I laid out all these sports, all these life skills, all these things that we can do to help people, and I was like I just want you to be honest with yourself, because they were discouraged that they weren’t winning every race against these tiny little fast people. I was like that’s just not how we’re built. But we can still have fun and we can still get exercise and we can make friends done, and so it’s hard. It’s hard not to bulldoze those things out of the way and make everything nice and pretty for your kids. But, man, we’re stealing from them if we do.
0:16:56 – Speaker 3
Well, you know. The other thing is they need to learn how to fail.
0:17:00 – Speaker 1
0:17:01 – Speaker 3
You know this their life has to be their journey, and what I mean by that is, you know, I think of this from a cyber parenting standpoint. You know, you find out your kid has posted something inappropriate, or maybe they’re bullying someone online. Some parents would try and cover that up.
0:17:21 – Speaker 2
Delete, delete delete, delete delete Absolutely.
0:17:23 – Speaker 3
Well, and you should remove it Absolutely, because we want it taken down, but it shouldn’t be taken down to protect your child’s digital footprint, in the sense of I don’t ever want them to learn from this kind of thing. And I think there’s a difference, because they need to learn a lesson in their failures and their mistakes, and I think a snowplow parent if you’re removing all the obstacles out of the way, like you’re constantly kind of making excuses for them or, you know, just removing Fixing it, yeah, anything that is going to cause them trouble.
You know, then, they’re never going to learn to fail. And I think up back in my life, like so many of my failures even define what I do now, absolutely Like they’ve given me purpose in my life, because I look back and I’m like I don’t want any teenage girl to make the same mistakes that I made, you know. But what if all that had been like swept under the rug and well, you did all that because of this and I was coddled into believing that I wasn’t responsible for it, right, or it was just covered up Like, well, that didn’t really happen. I mean, it was just one thing. Yes, I just look back on all that and if that had been the path for me, there’s so much I would have missed out on on learning, just learning, and experiencing forgiveness and grace.
0:18:55 – Speaker 1
0:18:55 – Speaker 3
I mean what a wonderful gift to experience when you make a mistake.
0:19:00 – Speaker 1
0:19:01 – Speaker 3
You know, especially today as a, as a young kid, we always say whatever your kid does, default to love. You know, if they post a nude picture, if they I mean whatever you like, you can think the worst thing love your kid. Yes, allowing your kid to walk through that and realize they messed up and experience your grace and your forgiveness on that, I mean that’s an amazing journey for your kid to be on.
0:19:25 – Speaker 1
It really is, and it’s such a life skill, like you said, and also a blessing to experience that grace and then, on the other side, teaching them about saying sorry.
0:19:34 – Speaker 3
0:19:35 – Speaker 1
Like you, it’s just being able to, with a contrite heart in their spiritual walk, you know, asking for forgiveness, and then also with others. I mean, you’ve experienced that when someone has humbly come to you and said I am so sorry that I did this. If your kid has never experienced that or had to do that, man, that’s a difficult adult to be around. Yeah, you know. I really have to say that. I watched this show the other day and they showed a clip from a Simon Sinek interview.
0:20:06 – Speaker 3
I love him. He’s so cool. Start with why that’s what he wrote.
0:20:09 – Speaker 1
It’s so good.
Yeah, he’s such a great author and speaker and has some great points and he loves talking about the millennial generation and I thought of him when we were preparing for this show because he was saying this is really a generational thing in a lot of ways.
You have your parents who really had to work so hard. Like I think about my mom. She was a female wanting to be at the top of her career and she had to work so hard to break that ceiling in her generation and nothing was given to her and she just worked like a crazy person and got three master’s degrees and always had to plow through everything and on her own. On her own. And so that generation of the working professional, especially the women who strived for that, they really took on this belief in their parenting is I don’t want my kid to have to work that hard to get these things, and so it wasn’t on purpose. But a lot of those parents snow plowed everything out of the way and said I did all the work. Now you reap the benefits and I’m gonna make life a little bit easier for you.
0:21:16 – Speaker 3
How many times do we say I want your life to be better than mine? All the time.
0:21:20 – Speaker 1
You hear that.
0:21:21 – Speaker 3
Let me just caution you here. My husband and I have been talking about this so many times. We are struggling with something and we don’t want our kids to have to, and we swing the pendulum all the way to the other side. To where we do snow plow everything out of their way. We need to find the balance. Yes, their life can be a little bit easier. Yes, there are some things that have happened, but they need to learn the lessons they do.
0:21:42 – Speaker 1
It’s so true and I love what he was saying about how these kids that are raised thinking they can do anything and everything is amazing and there are no challenges, and they don’t learn how to fail and what to do when you fail and stumble, they’re growing up now and going into the workforce right out of college and they are falling flat on their faces. They are failing and feeling like failures because they never learned how to deal with consequences, change, hard work, what grace and humility looks like, forgiveness and the patience that it takes to succeed in real life. So depression, then, is the next step. We have all these kids that are depressed because they never learned that life skill of coping.
0:22:23 – Speaker 3
Well, I mean, think about it. You got a parent who snow plows everything out of the way for you. You got an easy peasy life right. And then you get to your first job and your boss looks at you and says this is horrible, you’re doing an awful job. I need you to do this, this and this. Yes, better, I mean how?
0:22:42 – Speaker 2
do you cope with that Shocking?
0:22:44 – Speaker 3
Because you’ve never been told you’re not good at this or you’ve never been allowed to figure things out on your own.
0:22:49 – Speaker 1
Yeah, and you know we don’t want to give that to our kids as their legacy, that they have no ability to cope.
0:22:56 – Speaker 3
There’s a balance there we can find.
0:22:58 – Speaker 1
So it comes back to this snow plow question and asking yourself why am I doing this and am I doing this, and how can I stop and find a balance within that? Yes, we want to be an advocate for a child. Yes, we want to be able to move some things out of their way that aren’t necessary, but am I allowing my child to fail and walking them through that life skill?
0:23:18 – Speaker 3
Well, and just like I said at the beginning of the show, I hate these labels, that society, the world, whoever gives to parents, because it always makes us look like the bad person it does, and it doesn’t help build this culture in our home where we’re respected and we talk and we have an equal voice to be able to talk through these things with our kids. So it bothers me, but at the same time I think that I know I can look at this and see characteristics of me being a snow plow parent, in certain situations, Of course, and so for me I’ll be able to pause and be like wait a minute. What is the lesson that my kid needs to have from this? Do I really need to be involved at this moment?
0:23:57 – Speaker 1
You know, and I just had this thought and I want to just say this because I think it’s important prepare yourself for the pain. It hurts to let your kid cry and be last and fail. It’s so hard for me Not make the team. Yes, when my kids come to me and they are crying and something has happened and they’ve been hurt by someone or something, I want to fix it. I want to remove all the barriers and tell them all these lies about how everybody else had a specialty coach Not true, but I want to fix it. But it’s okay for your kids to hurt and feel pain and struggle. That’s okay because you get to walk them through redemption, you get to walk them through healing and looking ahead out of that and walking out of that.
0:24:42 – Speaker 3
And finding God’s real plan for their lives. Yes, like that’s cool and exciting. Exactly.
0:24:46 – Speaker 1
You’ve got to see what God will do. You’ve got to see, beyond the moment, beyond the moment, how important it is to let them struggle.
0:24:51 – Speaker 3
And God will use their pain for a purpose. I mean, he has mine. Yeah, I know that there are so many adults that can relate to look back and say, man, I’m glad I walked through that. I didn’t in the moment like walking through it at all, but I’ve learned so much through it.
0:25:06 – Speaker 1
So summarizing what we’ve talked about today snow plow parenting removes all the obstacles in the path of your child. Number two kids often learn most from failure. We need to let them walk through their own mistakes, not try to fix everything. Number three when we snow plow, we take away the chance for our kids to experience forgiveness and grace, and I don’t think anybody would want to take that away from their child.
0:25:32 – Speaker 2
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim on AM630, the Word. You are not alone, trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page