'Lawnmower parenting:' Affordable mistakes

WICHITA, Kan. Are you a lawnmower parent? It's the topic Eyewitness News is looking into this week for our new show, "Right Now with Michael Schwanke."

The question of whether or not you're a lawnmower parent can be answered in the form of another question identifying what a 'lawnmower parent" is: "Are you too involved in fixing or preventing problems for your children?"

Tuesday, Eyewitness News is discussing the idea of "affordable mistakes."

Mika Gross, founder of "The Parents Place" in Wichita says the earlier you can start letting children learn from their mistakes, the better. Identifying the right "affordable mistake" will depend on their age.

Starting early, you can even start teaching with toddlers.

"So, with a tiny toddler, if you've got one or two steps in the home, and they're refusing to learn to go down backwards, a fall in a safety zone like that is a really impactful learning experience," Gross says. "Kids usually won't tumble twice. They'll go back and figure out how to avoid that the next time."

Once children get a little older, an example of of an "affordable mistake" is letting a child who forgets to bring their lunch to school deal with the consequences and work through a problem, whether that be going hungry for a meal, asking friends to share some food, settling for a hot lunch or asking for some cafeteria food that may be available for students without a lunch plan.

Gross says developing problem-solving skills can make children upset at their parents in the short term, but will have a long-term benefit, helping them to avoid repeating the same mistakes/problems.