Helicopter parents force end to Easter egg hunt

An annual Easter egg hunt in Colorado was canceled this year. Parents jumped in and helped kids gather chocolate eggs last April, said the sponsors.

By , Associated Press

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    This egg hunt wasn't canceled. Hundreds of dogs and dog owners fill the Fort Walton Landing Park in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Sunday, March 25, 2012, during the fourth annual Doggie Easter Egg Hunt.
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Organizers of an annual Easter egg hunt attended by hundreds of children have canceled this year's event, citing aggressive parents who swarmed the tiny park last year, determined that their kids get an egg.

Last year's Colorado hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of both children and parents. Too many parents had jumped a rope set up to allow only children into the park.

Observers say the cancellation is 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.

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"That's the perfect metaphor for millennial children," said Ron Alsop, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of "The Trophy Kids Grow Up," which examines the "millennial children" generation. "They don't give their children enough chances to learn from hard knocks, mistakes."

Last April's egg hunt had 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 for nearby businesses. So thousands of eggs were placed in plain view on the grass. A bullhorn to start the event malfunctioned, so Baalman 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."

Lenny Watkins took his friend's son to the hunt in 2009 and said he can understand why a parent would step in.

"You better believe I'm going to help my kid get one of those eggs," he said. "I promised my kid an Easter egg hunt, and I'd want to give him an even edge."

Other Easter egg hunts are going on as planned elsewhere in the country. On Sunday, the fourth annual Doggie Easter Egg Hunt was held at the Fort Walton Landing Park in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Yes, this is a hunt for dogs and their owners. And in Michigan, an Easter egg hunt is scheduled for children at Maybury State Park in Wayne County on April 7.

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