Trust is essential to raising capable, happy, self-confident children. Belief in our children’s competence is vital to their sense of self-worth and can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yet, trusting kids to handle even the most benign, age-appropriate situations is sometimes difficult for parents.
What are we so afraid of? This is the question that came up for me when Karen shared this discouraging incident:
I had a very unfortunate experience taking my 3-year-old to his first Easter Egg Hunt. The announcers insisted many times that no parents cross the tape with the kids (except for the ‘babies’ age group)… So in the 2&3-year-old group, I waited behind a line of a few kids and parents and got ready to video my son when they said, “Go.” Next thing I know, parents stormed the field, pushing their own kids to go faster and picking up the eggs for their kids. My son didn’t stand a chance. He got zero eggs. He wandered around for a few moments looking but then just stood there confused. Luckily, I was more bothered by the whole thing than he was, but I couldn’t help but think how sad it was and how the scene epitomized a very negative aspect of our parenting culture.
We will have our own Easter egg hunt at home from now on, actually hiding eggs. I thought of you, though, because I don’t blog, and this is worth discussing.
The video ends abruptly because I stopped shooting when I realized what was happening. Now I wish I’d kept the video running longer. A picture’s worth a thousand words. I know I don’t have to explain what is wrong with this scenario — you already know.
Karen and Hughey (3)
Hm. Well, off the top of my head, I would point out that rather than enjoying an age-appropriate adventure, an opportunity to socialize with peers, and possibly finding an egg or two, these children learned:
- You can’t do it yourself, so you need parents to do it for you
- Don’t bother following directions
- Egg hunts are about competing to get the most “stuff”
(I share a somewhat similar experience in my post: Why Not Draw for a Child?)
Photo by Ian Burt on Flickr