Simple Solutions: Dangers of being a snowplow parent

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As a new college freshman, Patrick Ward is proudly wearing the colors of the University of Vermont. Getting in was all his doing.

And in an age of over-anxious parenting, that's a big deal.

"I know a lot of friends whose parents were watching their every move," Ward said.

That's one form of snow plowing. Mom and dad are so focused on their children succeeding that they remove any obstacles in their path, even eliminating any hard decisions their child has to make by making it themselves.

The extreme version of it made recent headlines with the college admission scandal.

"Snowplow parenting really just controls everything, and it often comes from a place of fear," says Educational Consultant Ana Homayoun

Snowplow behavior often doesn't stop after kids become adults.

"I think early on, we were probably more snowplow than not," says Jim Ward.

That's when they turned to educational consultant and best-selling author, Homayoun. She shows students how to achieve success on their own.

"Our focus is really helping students identify what are their own goals for themselves personally and academically, how are their daily habits moving them towards those goals or away from those goals," Homayoun said.

The hard work has paid off. Patrick got a near-perfect score on the ACT.

"We were very, very impressed," Jim said.

"When you have high expectations and high belief in your child, they rise up to those expectations," Homayoun said.

While snowplowing should be avoided, Homayoun does urge parents to be aware of their kids' daily habits to be sure they are in line with their goals.

For instance, keep them focused on homework assignments by limiting their phone use. It's important to provide the time, space, and structure for kids to do their work.
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