Lawnmower parents are the new helicopter parents

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DENVER -- Helicopter parents is a label so mainstream that it's now included in the dictionary.

However, helicopter parenting is no longer as bad as it gets. Educators are now complaining about "lawnmower parents."

The phrase went viral after a post by an anonymous middle school teacher.

Lawnmower parents are those who mow down all of their kids' challenges, refusing to let them face adversity or struggles.

Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, a Denver psychologist and author of the book "Mommy Burnout," has seen it all, from parents who contact coaches about playing time to parents who call their children's employers to ask for raises on their behalf.

"You've really got to teach your child to advocate for themselves and then have them go try it," she said. "Part of raising a child is allowing them to fail, and people are just astonished by this."

Emily O'Connell has also encountered her fair share of lawnmower parents.

She says she is very careful not to become one, but says the line between appropriate interference and too much can sometimes be difficult to gauge.

"It's really hard to know when to step in, but I feel like they have to fight their own battles," she said.

Ziegler agrees. She says being a lawnmower parent can have long-term effects on children.

"Really, it's these young professionals who don't have the skills to advocate for themselves. It's a real problem," said Ziegler. "Children are children. Our job is to teach them."

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