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When Did an Easter Egg Hunt Turn into a Parent’s Activity?

When Did an Easter Egg Hunt Turn into a Parents Activity?Many of us have fond memories of Easter egg hunts from our childhood. I remember my parents hiding about two dozen little plastic colored eggs throughout our yard, and the excitement of going out to hunt for them with my two older brothers on a chilly Easter morning. The joy of finding one of those brightly colored eggs against the drab of the a winter-dead yard was one of the highlights of the day.

Because we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, the Easter eggs didn’t always contain a tiny toy or piece of candy. They often contained little slips of paper that you could turn in for something special in the future. An ice cream at Dairy Cream. A week of not having to dry the dishes (one of our chores). Little thoughts that would mean something to us kids (since not all gifts are instant or materialistic).

This holiday tradition remains fresh in my mind as one of those personal, family traditions I grew up with.

But my mom and dad’s role in this activity was limited to the purchase of the plastic eggs, putting things into them, and then hiding them in the yard. They never participated in the egg hunt, because it was a fun activity for the kids.

In Easthampton, Mass., some parents apparently don’t understand this fundamental component of an Easter egg hunt:

The trouble started Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp, when despite the drizzling rain, more than 200 children dashed onto the field at Millside Park to collect some of the 18,000 colored plastic eggs lying there. Bialecki said some parents ran onto the field with their children, helping them to find eggs in the mad dash.

“I understand if people want to take pictures, but some people were yelling at the kids, and it’s not a competition,” she said Monday. “There are 18,000 eggs – that’s more than enough for everyone.”

She said she informed adults they weren’t supposed to be on the field, but about a dozen refused to stop aiding their children in the hunt. She said two people were “especially rude” to her, and other volunteers experienced similar behavior.

“Some were very vocal, very rude and it was not appropriate language,” she said. “I asked one woman, ‘You talk like that in front of children?'”

Our own Dr. Marie explains why this is such a bad behavior for parents:

Kids really do learn from what they see and feel as much as from what we say. In psychology, we call this meta-communication — the message that underlies the verbal message and may even contradict it. It’s like sarcasm. “That’s a really pretty dress,” said with sincere warmth, is a compliment. Said with a sarcastic sneer, the same words mean the opposite — something like, “That dress isn’t pretty at all and you’re a fool for wearing it.” […]

But when parents couple those messages with behaviors that contradict the words, the kids read the actions. The kids who watched the adults snatch up eggs at the Easter Hunt were taking note, especially if the adults were the kids’ own parents.

They got a clear message that getting the most is more important than all the other values adults might talk about. They learned that the rules aren’t really the rules if you’re big. They learned that their parents had little faith in their ability to even pick up a few eggs.

Continue reading Dr. Marie’s full article: Parents Gone Wild at Easter Egg Hunt


Read the news story about the incident: Changes vowed after a few rotten eggs spoil Easter egg hunt in Easthampton

When Did an Easter Egg Hunt Turn into a Parent’s Activity?

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). When Did an Easter Egg Hunt Turn into a Parent’s Activity?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 9 Apr 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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