Even though it has been 7 years, I remember it as if it was yesterday. My wife and I were Cub Scout den leaders for each of our kids, and we thought that a cool spring event would be an Easter Egg hunt. We had cleared it with all parents, and all of the kids were excited about the event. We allowed siblings to be involved, and my wife and I stayed up late packing eggs with candy so there would be about 12 or so eggs per child. We informed the kids and parents that each child should get about a dozen eggs. We prepared the kids for the event in terms of expected behavior and so on – and reminded that as good Scouts sharing and cooperation were important as was helping the littler ones in the hunt. Everything seemed to be ready to go …
But what we didn’t count on was one of the parents. One child – I’ll call him ‘Sam’ as that is his name – was an over-indulged only child of older parents who was already pouty and difficult in anything he didn’t want to do … particularly when his parents were around to say ‘its OK Sammy, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do’.
Things started off very well, the kids were enthusiastic and parents were helpful, and everyone seemed to be getting a fair share and helping the 2 and 3 year olds get a few eggs. But then I saw Sam’s dad with a plastic bag, and Sam emptied his basket into the bag and the father took it back to their car. Then Sam found a few more eggs … and then started going around to other kids saying he didn’t have enough. And the kids all being good-hearted gave him more. We were about done, so I put a stop to the poaching, noting that he already had more eggs than what was in the basket – making sure his father could hear so he was aware that I knew.
We had an indoor event at a church hall next to the park, and so we all went inside. Naturally some kids wanted to eat some of their eggs, which was fine. But Sam wasn’t interested in that – he had continued trying to get other kids to give him eggs, but some kids saw through his tricks, and he was having a hard time … so he started on the little kids. By now his father had taken a SECOND bag to the car … and I was fuming but was really trying to let the kids resolve it.
Then Sam decided taking an egg from a 2-year old would be a great idea. And it would have worked, except it was that little boy’s favorite color. Sam started getting physical when the kid wouldn’t let him steal the egg – so it was time for me to step in. Sam was claiming not to have enough eggs again, even when I reminded him of the rule about not taking eggs from other kids. Of course, the helicopter parent was right there to defend Sammy and his lack of eggs … so I simply asked him to explain how he twice had a full basket and within minutes the basket was empty and he was trying to get eggs from others?
At that point he said ‘C’mon Sammy, we’re going home’, missing the rest of the events. On the way out Sam asked my wife ‘can we do this every Easter, I got tons of eggs’ (he WAS still a first grader), and I stepped in and said ‘I doubt it – there was some VERY un-Scout like behavior today’. The following year the subject came up, and when the kids were discussing, my son said “we can’t have one because Sam stole eggs from all the little kids”. Sam’s parents were mad that it was brought up, but they didn’t dare say anything.
While I had heard about helicopter parents, I had yet to see something like a parent helping their child steal eggs from a 2-year old so they could amass three times the allotted amount of eggs!
But apparently that has become much more the norm, and so it is unsurprising that at Easter we are hearing about problems – not with kids, but with their parents.
A couple of weeks ago I heard about thedue to aggressive parental behavior.
Organizers of an annual Easter egg hunt in Colorado attended by hundreds of children have canceled this year’s event, citing the behavior of aggressive parents who swarmed into the tiny park last year, determined that their kids get an egg.
That hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of egg-less tots and their own parents. Too many parents had jumped a rope set up to allow only children into Bancroft Park in a historic area of Colorado Springs.
Now there is word of another cancellation, this time in Georgia.
An annual Easter egg hunt in Central City Park in Macon, Ga., was canceled this year because of unruly parents, officials said.
The annual Easter egg hunt in Central City Park, which would have been held Saturday, was one of the largest in Middle Georgia, The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph reported.
However, officials decided to cancel the event because “parents caused a situation in which some children got hurt,” said Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen, founder and CEO of Kids Yule Love which coordinated the egg hunt.
Allen said some parents insisted on accompanying their children in the hunt and some incidents occurred when parents became violent in attempts to get eggs for themselves or their children.
It is such a shame that kids are missing out on these fun events because parents simply can’t allow kids to do things – succeed or fail – on their own. Instead, these parents put kids in danger of harm – or result in injuries as noted in Georgia – just so their kids can ‘win’ the event.
It is like the spoiled kids in the Willie Wonka movie – if one kid gets one, the other wants two … and the parents will be right there enabling them to make those demands.
The sad reality is that while striving so hard to ‘win’ rather than cooperate … everyone loses.