snowplow parent(ing)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 1 21:40:30 UTC 2013

"Snowplow parenting" -- a kind of followup to "helicopter parenting"
-- has been getting a lot of attention lately.
"Everyone has heard of parents who do their grade schooler’s science
project or are overly involved in their kids’ social lives. But the
infamous helicopter parents, hovering over their younger children, are
now transitioning into so-called snowplow parents, trying to smooth a
path for their kids even after they’ve started college."

"Snowplow parent(ing)" was apparently popularized by the 2008 book _A
Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting_ by Hara Estroff
Marano. But according to Michele Borba's _The Big Book of Parenting
Solutions_, it dates to a couple of years before that, used by Glen
Egleman in S.C. Caufield, "Ninth Leadership Forum: Student Health
2010: What Changes Will the Next Five Years Bring?" _Student Health
Spectrum_, Feb. 2006, 4-18.

It can also be shortened to "snowplowing" (like "helicoptering" before it):
"Over the last few decades there has been a major swift in how we
raise our kids, and the descriptions of modern day parenting are far
from flattering. Try these for starters: Helicoptering. Hothousing.
Snowplowing. Hyper-Parenting."


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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