Slow News: Aggressive Parents Force Easter Egg Hunt Cancellation

It goes without saying that most of us parents want the best for our children. We wish to help them avoid adversity and suffering. But how do we separate real trauma from everyday life trials? When do we, even against instinct, stand back and let children have their own experiences, free from parental insertion?

Apparently, some parents at last year’s Easter Egg Hunt in Colorado Springs, CO, draw that line in a different place than others of us: Within seconds of the egg hunt, parents jumped a rope and swarmed the small park, determined to get their children an egg. Their behavior was such that organizers decided to cancel this year’s event.

So-called “helicopter parents” hover over their children’s lives, doing practically anything to ensure that their kids never fail. As a result, many children never experience normal disappointment and may ultimately lack necessary resources and coping skills.

Others, like the parent quoted in the article, seem to display an outsized and misplaced sense of competition and even entitlement:

I promised my kid an Easter egg hunt and I’d want to give him an even edge.

Of course, there is room for appropriate and age-appropriate assistance. For instance, one might let the kids hunt for eggs or gather pinata candy by themselves. If someone (usually a smaller child), is left empty-handed, I see nothing wrong with encouraging another child to share, or even gathering an item and helping. And that goes for anyone’s small child, not just my own.

That doesn’t quite sound like what occurred at the Last Easter Egg Hunt in Colorado Springs, when parents were so aggressive as to not even await the game’s outcome and so determined as to not let their children try to accomplish something (and have fun) for themselves.

Where do you draw the line?

See my Slow News page for other stories about Helicopter Parenting, Slow Parenting and Play.

 

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5 Responses to Slow News: Aggressive Parents Force Easter Egg Hunt Cancellation

  1. I took my son to his first egg hunt last year at 2 1/2. I was SOO excite to let him experience this whimsical part of the holiday. It was horrible. Parents were taking over! I ran with him out to the furthest part of the grass patch so he could get a few eggs. We managed to get 3, and he was happy- me, not so much. Other kids had baskets FULL as their parents loaded them up. One little girl left crying in her dad’s arms because she didn’t get ONE, NOT ONE!!! I was heartbroken for her. My son was going to give her one of his 3 eggs but they just wanted to get outta there and didn’t want to do the kid interaction thing, which they would’ve had to since I was coaxing my little 2 yr old to give one of his 3 little eggs up. This year I’m doing it myself!!!

  2. We don’t go to those public egg hunts. Some kids (but not all) go nuts and some parents go even nutser, as illustrated by your post. When we have egg hunts at home we remind the kids to leave some for others. You know, that it’s really OK to consider other people. To rant along those lines, I witness in NYC that many kids are not taught to share. At the playground, everyone has their own scooter, their own ball, etc. Other parents seem uncomfortable when I tell them their kids can play with our stuff. IMO, sharing and considering others is an important social skill that kids need to learn, and when we deprive them of the opportunity we handicap them.

  3. our church is the biggest egg hunt we’ve ever been to. They let the under 5′s get a head start so they’re sure to get something. then there’s a lot of sharing, and eggs can be turned in to make egg salad for everyone. the whole point of the event is sharing. I agree that some kids aren’t taught to share. we see that at the pool where a child will come with a bag of pool toys and expect them to float untouched by the other children. i usually feel sorry for the kids. sharing is an important friends making tool! it also feels good. the fierce competitiveness you describe is stressful. too bad for everyone.

  4. Hi Jen, Maggie and Deb. I really appreciate all your comments. It’s heartening to read these and similar. Of course, kids should learn to share. As a society we have so many resources. I believe that a large part of the depression and disconnection many people feel comes precisely from a lack of sharing and community. Children play solo video games and never learn or experience fun group games. They’re driven even short distances so that they don’t know their neighbors and neighborhoods. It’s particularly sad that an egg hunt, which could be a sweet community event, is often turned into another opportunity for greed. I think we can turn this around if enough people feel and behave the way you all do and participate in events like you describe, Deb. (And, of course, let the little ones go first!)

  5. Heritage Square Family Entertainment Village in Golden, CO took a different approach and succeeded wildly with Saturday’s Easter Celebration.

    With a strolling Easter Bunny distributing eggs, and a solar powered Bubble Tower blasting humongous bubbles in all directions, and even a stilt walking party, there was entertainment for all ages, and no one felt left out. Report and photos here: stiltwalker.com/v65u

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