Snowplow Parents: A Global Phenomenon?


Here’s a story you don’t see every day though there are probably countless more than are reported in professional Facebook groups.  Mommy and Daddy know best.  These parents are interchangeably referred to as lawnmower or snowplow parents,.  Their (dis)service to their children is to remove every obstacle in the latter’s path.  Think of it as a misguided and perverted kind of love.  Some are living vicariously through their children.  Rather than teaching them how to fish, they give them the fish, not exactly a positive and useful life lesson, unless the children have generous trust funds.  

In Viet Nam and other countries, there are many companies that provide this “service” for a handsome fee.  One in Viet Nam even organizes projects (think community service) so that their clients can list them on their resume and have something else to write about.  Customer as king and queen.  Or, to borrow a line from the movie Jerry Maguire and clean it up for a G-rated audience, I will kill for you, I will maime for you, … and pillage for you.  

Rampant fraud in the admission process, another investigative report waiting and dying to be written.  Whatever it takes.  The ends justify the means in a multimillion dollar industry that makes miracles happen – at any cost – for ambitious young people and perhaps even more ambitious parents, who will do almost anything to make their children’s (and their) dreams come true.  The end result is that all become collaborators and conspirators in a web of unethical behavior.  Bottom line:  Success without integrity is failure.  

Peace, MAA