Moms and Dads, sit down. We need to have a talk. It has come to my attention that Easter egg hunts have been cancelled in this great land because of "aggressive parents."
These parents, it seems, were absolutely terrified that their wee little snookums would not get a plastic made in China egg stuffed with the kind of chocolate crap that will smear all over their face and the backseat on the way home. Are you getting this? Cutie Patootie Pants would get a fun day out in the sunshine with some pals but no egg.
Awww, those poor ... parents?
I'm going to tell you something that may be hard to hear. Your kid will get over not getting an egg. For reals.
They will take that cute little 3-year-old mind that jumps from "Oooh, I want to stick my finger up my nose" to "Oooh, I want to play horsey with Mommy" in 5 seconds flat, and they will find something else to focus on. There may be a meltdown. But you will get through it. Trust me. I've been there, done that, have a 6-year-old who has not pierced my eardrums with her shrieks yet.
Our job is to protect our kids, but our generation of parents has taken "protect" to such extremes that we're afraid to allow a 3-year-old to taste even the smallest bit of everyday disappointment. Hence the parents rushing out into the egg hunt, wresting plastic ovals from the hands of 4-year-olds and hoarding them like they'd come from golden geese instead of China.
Let me throw on a pair of "look into the future" glasses over that set of rosy hued goggles you appraise your parenting through. You think you're raising a kid who is shielded from sadness. Now take a peek through those glasses. Behold the spoiled brat who will go to school and throw the daily tantrum in kindergarten because "I wannnnnna be the line leader. It's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair! I'm gonna tell my Mommy on you, and she's gonna tell you that I always get what I want." See him? He's your kid in two years. He has no clue how to make the best of any situation, because you have fixed everything. Have fun fixing this.
Don't be too hard on yourself. You can still fix this. You don't have to be the type of parent whose kid goes to a birthday party and throws a fit because the presents aren't for him (seriously, you think he's cute ... the rest of us think he's a mini-jerkface). I'm not saying it won't suck. The first time my daughter's lower lip started to pooch out at one of these community "get lots of stuff" events, I felt like the crap, crap, crappiest parent ever!
But I send her out there alone -- even when there are other parents acting nuts -- because this hunt's for kids, not me. And if she's going to learn hard lessons, I'd rather it be over something that doesn't mean a hill of beans in the end ... you know, like plastic eggs you can buy at the dollar store.
If my kid comes out of an egg hunt empty-handed or somehow manages to be the one kid on the parade sidelines who doesn't get beaned with 300 lollipops, we've got a standing routine. First we remind her how much fun it was to be out with other people. We talk about the friends she ran into and the super cool sights she saw. Then we talk about the stuff, and why she wants it. Is it because someone else has it? Or is it because she really wanted it? Because we do have something that came out of a chicken's butt at home, and we can hard boil it. And really, who wants a lollipop that's been run over by five firetrucks anyway?
Oh, and if she walks off with a gigundo basket of loot? We look for a kid who doesn't have anything, and we ask our daughter how she would feel if she were in their shoes. We don't force her to give her stuff away, because what's the lesson in that? We ask her if she would, and 9 times out of 10 (because people, she's 6, it doesn't ALWAYS happen), she does.
Check out what's going down with these crazy parents:
What would you do if your kid walked out of the Easter egg hunt with nothing in their basket because some other parent was guarding the eggs? Have you actually let that happen?
Image by Jeanne Sager