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.