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Aggressive parents force egg hunt cancellation

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Organizers of an annual Easter egg hunt 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.

Organizers say the event has outgrown its original intent of being a neighborhood event.

Parenting observers cite the cancellation as a prime example of so-called "helicopter parents" — those who hover over their children and are involved in every aspect of their children's lives — sports, school, and increasingly work — to ensure that they don't fail, even at an Easter egg hunt.

"They couldn't resist getting over the rope to help their kids," said Ron Alsop, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of "The Trophy Kids Grow Up," which examines the "millennial children" generation.

"That's the perfect metaphor for millennial children. They (parents) can't stay out of their children's lives. They don't give their children enough chances to learn from hard knocks, mistakes."

Alsop and others say the parenting phenomenon began in earnest when Baby Boomers who decorated their cars with "Baby on Board" signs in the 1980s began having children. It has prompted at least two New York companies to establish "take your parent to work day" for new recruits as parents remain involved even after their children become adults.

Last April's egg hunt, sponsored by the Old Colorado City Association, attracted hundreds of parents and children and experienced a few technical difficulties, said Mazie Baalman, owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and sponsor of the event.

There was no place to hide the plastic eggs, which were filled with donated candy or coupons redeemable at nearby businesses. So thousands of eggs were placed in plain view on the grass. A bullhorn to start the event malfunctioned, so Baalman, master of ceremonies, used a public address system that was hard to hear.

"So everybody thinks you said `Go,' and everybody goes, and it's over in seconds," Baalman said. "If one parent gets in there, other parents say, `If one can get in we all can get in,' and everybody goes."

Jennifer Rexford used to live near the park and now lives in Galveston, Texas. She said she used to participate in public Easter egg hunts with her three boys, ages 3, 8, and 14. She doesn't anymore because of "pushy parents" she experienced at hunts in Florida and Texas.

"It just seems to be the mindset. People just want the best for their kids," Rexford said.

Lenny Watkins, who lives a block away from Bancroft Park, took his friend's then 4-year-old son to the hunt in 2009.

"I just remember having a wonderful time, him with his Easter basket" Watson said, adding that he can understand why a parent would step in.

"You have all these eggs just lying around, and parents helping out. You better believe I'm going to help my kid get one of those eggs. I promised my kid an Easter egg hunt and I'd want to give him an even edge."

Alsop said that dynamic is at play with parents who hover over their children, even into adulthood.

"I don't see any sign of it abating," he said. "It seems everything is more and more and more competitive, fast paced, and I think parents are going to see they need to do more to help their kids get an edge."

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 7:36 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Our neighborhood has one locally, and my large extended family has one a county over. I don't take my kids to the hunts because they're the youngest/smallest out of both groups. But, we do our own hunt for both of the boys. They're 6 and 4. I'd love to include my sister's oldest, since they're so close in age, but she doesn't allow them to do the easter bunny/egg thing.
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by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM
I have 4. I would help my 1 y/o especially since she is not steady on her feet. The older 3 would be on their own.
by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM

  I'm not surprised.  Leave it to stupid adults ruining it for the kids.  Pathetic!

Maybe next yr they can announce that there will be "no parents allowed" rule.

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I went to a huge easter egg hunt in Oakdale Minneaota they droped eggs out of a helicopter.  Over 10000 eggs right they had sections for each group or ages.  I got to go with my son as he was in the younger age.  My daughter came to me crying the parents and older kids took all her eggs from her luckly i got a bunch from my sons area and walked around passing someout to kids that had none some parents had 3 or 4 bags full they had said each kid got 10 eggs it made me sick.  the next year i held my own easter egg hunt. parents these days are gimme gimme to me they want everything for their kids. 

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I dont blame them for cancling I took my kids to a church Easter hunt last year and it was exactly as the article describes,it was over in 10 seconds thanks to other parent

by Member on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I agree with it. I took my kids last year, 3, 2, and 1 (his b-day was Easter) and they got pushed around by all the other parents, so I had to jump in to protect them. Why can't they just stay out of it and let the kids have fun?? 

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

im pretty sure every kid is able to get eggs unless they are little a need help from the parents but thats the parents fault that they didnt take their kid to an age appropriate egg hunt where the parents are allowed to help their kids around and pick up the eggs

by Member on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM

The same type that comes on CM and brags about stealing a child's wallet or letting their child gather up toys on the playground to take home.

Quoting Luv.My.Kidz:

I hate going to those things.... last year we went to one at a VFW.... 2 sets of parents were escorted off the premises and asked never to return because one knocked a kid over to get eggs for their kids and the other tripped another kid....

Who does that shit to kids?

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Two years ago I took my DS to a hunt at a local church.  They had divided the lawn into sections labeled infants, 2-3, 4-6, then they had the back lot for the older kids (i think they were seperated as well for 7-10, and 11 and above).  Each section had monitors from the church who helped the kinds and the parents were not allowed to go in.  My DS had a blast and loved that he was able to do it by himself.

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I have never and will never take my son to those socalled hunts...a hunt on Easter morning at home is best.
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