Aggressive parents force egg hunt cancellation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — An annual Easter egg hunt attended by hundreds of children has been canceled because of misbehavior last year. Not by the kids, but by the grown-ups.

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Children dash to collect as many eggs as possible in April 2011 at the Old Colorado City Easter Egg Hunt on in Colorado Springs Colo. Organizers have canceled this year’s event, complaining of parental behavior.

Too many parents determined to see their children get an egg jumped a rope marking the boundaries of the children-only hunt at Bancroft Park last year. The hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of eggless tots and the rules-abiding parents.

Organizers say the hunt in Old Colorado City has gotten too big for the hundreds of children and parents now attending. They canceled this year.

Last April’s egg hunt, sponsored by the Old Colorado City Association, 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 put 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.”

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 — to ensure 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.”

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