Friday, March 30, 2012

Parents Ruin Easter Egg Hunt, Childhood

Parents Ruin Easter Egg Hunt, Childhood

There's always someone who ruins things for everyone else. Any time you're no longer allowed to do something, it's because some jackwagon screwed it up for everybody.

That's why an Easter egg hunt was canceled this year in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Because some parents thought the Easter egg hunt was a competition, and not something small children could just do for fun.

According to a story by the Associated Press, the event had been marred by too many parents who ignored the "no parents" rule and climbed over the official "no parents" rope to help their precious snowflakes scoop up as many eggs as possible, even if that meant that other kids wouldn't get one.

"That's the perfect metaphor for millennial children," Ron Alsop, author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up, told the AP. "(Parents) can't stay out of their children's lives. They don't give their children enough chances to learn from hard knocks, mistakes."

How much of a helicopter parent — parents who hover over their children like helicopters, ensuring they don't experience the heartache of failure — do you have to be to shove another little kid out of the way, just so your kid can experience the joys of picking up a plastic Easter egg that's sitting out on the lawn?

To make it more sad and pitiful, the eggs in Colorado Springs had candy and coupons for nearby businesses.

Coupons? Seriously, you had to make sure you ruined an Easter egg hunt to make sure your child picked up more coupons than the other kids?

If you want your kid to find an egg with cheap candy and a coupon, get a couple of suckers from the bank, get a free coupon out of the mail, and hide the egg in the middle of your front lawn. That's what the Easter egg hunt amounted to, and you just ruined it for the entire city.

I'm getting so tired of helicopter parents and their incessant overprotectiveness. They're actually doing their children more harm than good by never letting them experience the pain and failure that we did when we were growing up.

And it's going on so long that some parents are even calling their child's boss during their first real, grown-up job to help with negotiations, raises, and even dealing with workplace conflict. And that's so pervasive that some companies even have a Take Your Parents to Work Day, which is understandable, since they're probably driving their kids to work in the first place.

It's a perfect example of what helicopter parents and the newer, more clingy parents — Velcro parents — are doing to their children as they get older, and are not even aware of the problems they're creating.

They're not letting their children play on the hard ground, because they don't want them to get hurt. Meanwhile, kids like now-former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett grew up playing football on the street in front of his house.

Tackle football.

Gary Brackett became the defensive captain of the Indianapolis Colts during their Super Bowl run because he knew pain as a little kid. But that helicopter kid is going to be the assistant junior night manager at Starbucks, at least until his mommy calls in a snit because the manager spoke harshly to him.

Want your children to grow up to be competitive and always strive to do their best? Let them fail when their young. Don't let them grow up with that "everyone's a winner" attitude.

Want them to be adventurous and willing to face their next big challenge? Let them fall down and skin their knees. Don't let them play on rubber-padded playgrounds.

Want them to laugh in the face of fear and start their own successful company, rather than hiding safely in lower middle management? Let them earn their own money to buy the things they want. Don't hand them 50 bucks whenever they want something.

But if you want them to strive for the safety of mediocrity, the comfort of good enough, and the snuggly warmth of lowered expectations, then by all means, hover protectively nearby for their entire childhood. Give them what they need, protect them from failure and disappointment, and never, ever let them fall.

Because the adult world is all sweetness and light and unicorn farts that smell like rainbows. It's not a competitive world that picks winners and losers. Everyone gets a trophy just for trying, and victory is shared equally among all.

And your kid won't be chewed up and spit out by the kids who learned how to run fast and fight hard after getting punked out of an Easter egg by a helicopter parent.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

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