Anarchy in the Pre-K

March 13th, 2013 · 101 comments

Our submitter in Washington, D.C. says that a parent recently sent this e-mail to her daughter’s preschool teacher…and cc’d it to the parents of every kid in the class. “Clearly, she thinks her kids are getting screwed out of their God-given right to show-and-tell,” our submitter marvels. “I wouldn’t want to mess with this woman come college application time!”

I have a question about show & tell. How many items are the children supposed to bring? It was always my understanding that each child brought one thing to

related: Pre-K parent public shaming

FILED UNDER: D.C. · Moms & Dads · schools & teachers

101 responses so far ↓

  • #1   shwo! bang

    …and that was the childhood trauma that set Santa on an endless quest to share from a bottomless sack.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Vulpis

      ….That sounds like the tagline for a porn movie.

      Mar 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   Hillary

    Wow, that’s crazy! A helicopter parent for sure.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   Sorcha

      “Helicopter parent” doesn’t refer to parents of little kids. You’re SUPPOSED to be deeply involved in their lives at that age.

      Mar 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   The Elf

      Oh yes it does. I’ve definitely seen some helicopter parents of pre-k kids. I’m not sure if this one quite crosses the line, but that doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 7:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.3   Amber

      Yeah, you’re supposed to be involved in their lives the «whole» time actually- but there is a line where you’ve gone too far, and cc’ing the other parents is where she crossed that line. Passive aggressive as shit. The teacher can handle the other parents – it wasnt this moms place…

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:08 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.4   Captain Hampton

      I don’t know what’s more depressing: Sorcha stating that there’s no such thing as overzealous parenting of preschool-age kids or that the post has nine upvotes from presumably like-minded parents right now.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:23 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.5   KHandcock

      Oh, you can definitely helicopter parent a preschool kid…I’m thinking of a parent I know who won’t let her preschooler try the big-kid swings because “What if she falls off?”

      This would have been a great chance to help the kid practice talking to the teacher, actually…possibly with parent backup present at the beginning of class. But if your kid is shy and still not ready for that (also totally reasonable for a preschooler) how about this note to the TEACHER ONLY:

      “Hi, so-and-so was disappointed at show and tell this week because some kids who brought in more than one item duplicated the X he brought and wanted to talk about. So-and-so hasn’t wanted to bring something this week because he was afraid the same thing would happen again. Is there a way we can balance this out so all the kids get a better chance to show off what they’re proud of?”

      Mar 15, 2013 at 10:35 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.6   t-rex

      It doesn’t matter if kids bring in duplicate things. This is when children should be learning that they aren’t special snowflakes because there are other people like them who share similar interests. This lesson teaches children how to make friends.

      Mar 16, 2013 at 10:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.7   GooseDuckDuck bang

      While I agree with you, the special snowflakes who bring in a bagful of items need to be told they can only speak about one of them.

      I can’t figure out why the teacher would not do that.

      Mar 17, 2013 at 5:13 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.8   Danielle

      I agree with Goose. If I were this mother, I’d be upset too. Pre-school is supposed to teach children fairness, and sharing. Time is something they have to learn to share, just as toys are. If some children are missing out of their time because other children are using more than is fair, someone should say something. Perhaps this mother doesn’t believe that the teachers have the backbone to be firm with those children (and their parents) that they cannot share more than one thing, and felt that a little bit of group shaming was in order.

      Mar 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Confessions from the Hairdresser

    This lady needs a job.

    I’m going to bet that she was a high-powered business woman with subordinates who gave it all up to be a SAHM.

    She probably yells at the girl who makes her coffee at Starbucks.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   The Elf

      Sure, it’s Washington DC! It’s the land of the Type A Personality.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 10:50 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   NonPermissiveParent

    Actually, I have totally been this woman.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Catherine

      That’s kind of awesome.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:02 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Captain Hampton

      If you refer to concern for your kids and addressing the issue directly with the teacher, good on you.

      If you mean going out of your way to let other parents know what you think their kids should or should not do, you kind of suck.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 10:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   redheadwglasses

      So what if NPP was the latter, captain hampton? Maybe now she realizes it was a mistake (that’s my take on her post) and she’s simply *owning* it. I imagine most of our parents look back on something they did or said and ask themselves, “What the effing hell was I thinking?”

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   pooham

      Me too. I didn’t see it then. When my kids were little issues like this just seemed so much bigger than what they were.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   Guest

      Sometimes, you have to be.

      Preschool mom cliques exist. They are the ones who make full sized Easter baskets for every student with tags signed “from your friend Susie” to bribe kds to play with their kid. It is pathetic, and sometimes you have to speak up to be heard over the constant, chirping praise they give each other.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   Captain Hampton


      If that is the case, feel free to add “ed” to the end of the last word I used.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   Macca

      I was never sent to pre-school as a child. I end up on the outside looking in on everyone with experience with pre-school, wondering why everyone’s so crazy about it. Cliques? Wow… if they have enough time for things like that, it sounds like they have enough time to play and teach with their kids all day at home.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.8   JamiSings bang

      I never went to preschool either, Macca, but I worked at one when I was a teenager. Those parents could be crazy.

      But truth be told, the teachers could be lazy do-nothings. Because I wasn’t a teacher, I wasn’t suppose to touch a child who was injured and bleeding. No, not even scraped knees. Yet many was the time I ended up giving an injured child first aid because the teacher was too busy drinking coffee to even look at the kid. They’d just tell me that the child was a cry baby and to ignore them.

      Now that I’m older I realize I could’ve reported them for so many little violations and possibly even animal cruelty. They had a goat, a pig, and a pony all living together in a little enclosure. They had a chicken at one point too, but the pig killed the chicken. Sure, they let them out to wander amongst the kids every day, but I realize now that area was too small.

      Course the preschool went out of business a couple years after I quit but that’s another story.

      The point was, the teachers were lazy and didn’t really care about the rules.

      I had teachers like that in regular school as well though. And even when my parents would bring up issues to them, they’d ignore them unless publicly embarrassed.

      Which makes me wonder more about the back story of this e-mail. Do we know for sure that this is the only/first time the parent in question brought it up? Perhaps they have said something to the teacher repeatedly privately and finally decided enough was enough. There does come a point where when the teacher repeatedly ignores an issue you just have to go ahead and seem like a brat by bringing it up in front of all the parents.

      I’m not on anyone’s side until I hear more of the story.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   HaydenT

    Kids will definitely hog show-and-tell if you let them. I do get where mom is coming from. Depending on how old her kids are, they could be upset about this. I would, personally, encourage them to talk to the teacher first.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Fireseeker

      That’s what the mother should have done, instead of cc’ing all of the other parents on an email.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:29 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Pope Sextus

      As previously mentioned, we aren’t told the full story. The parent recipient does not know whether the mother talked to the teacher in private.

      Dear child, judge not lest ye be judged.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 8:33 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   TriannaLi

      I think we maybe do kind of know there wasn’t a private conversation- this is a yes or no question, and I don’t see how it would need to be asked again in letter form if it had been brought up in private.

      It may be bad to judge and all that, and I wouldn’t pretend to know if this note writer was Joan Crawford or Mom of the Year the rest of the time, but surely it’s okay to acknowledge that cc’ing the other parents was a little bit of a dick move?

      Mar 16, 2013 at 1:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   Pope Sextus

      If you paid any attention at all to D.C. you would notice that everyone talks and no one listens. This may be an example of the letter writer trying to be heard when she wasn’t in private conversation. How would this third party recipient know what has gone on between the parent and the teacher unless she too was there?

      Mar 16, 2013 at 11:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   Sarah TX

    When I was in kindergarten, this one kid showed his lunchbox (not a different lunchbox, the same lunchbox) every month when it was his turn.

    So no, duplication is not a big deal in pre-K show and tell. It sounds to me like some kids need to learn how to share.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   The Elf

      Exactly. What’s the big deal if two kids show off the same hot toy? The idea isn’t to be unique, it’s to develop skills.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 7:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   JK

    This lady may be obnoxious, but also obnoxious are the people letting their kids bring in a ton of stuff. Some kids are poor or don’t have a lot going on for them that they can show something cool every week. What’s with this making show and tell a competition?

    I’m not team anybody here. They’re both awful.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   The Elf

      To be honest, most of childhood is a competition with other children even if no one is actually keeping score. The winners and the losers know exactly who they are.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 10:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   AP

      You’re right, and it’s the teacher’s job to mitigate that nonsense. The teacher can say, “No, we are taking turns. You already showed one thing, now it it someone else’s turn.”

      Or if kids are bringing in expensive items, the teacher can set a policy on what items are allowed. Even well-off families disagree about the value of allowing small children to tote around pricey objects, and would appreciate that policy.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   Brian

      Policy on bringing in expensive items? Really, that’s what we’ve come to? Let’s tell the wealthier kids to act poor.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   KHandcock

      @Brian, kids do need to learn that showing off wealth in a way that’s hurtful to those who are less fortunate isn’t appropriate. As adult, we don’t appreciate people who say things like, “You drive WHAT? Oh, I would never drive an economical compact, it would just be EMBARRASSING!” School is one of the places where kids learn and practice those social skills. No one’s telling wealth kids to act poor; we are telling them to understand that they are lucky, that not everyone is so lucky, and that it’s rude and mean to rub that in people’s faces.

      I think the better reason for the “no expensive items” policy is what AP referred to: schools can’t insure expensive items brought to school, and no school needs to deal with a battle with a parent who let a kid young enough for Show and Tell bring in something expensive and then lost/broke it.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   EW

    Don’t like how she went about this (CC’ing everyone in the classroom), but yeah, people pay good money for preschool and have every right to want their kids to get a fair shake in the classroom.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   Trish




    There, I think I covered everything.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Sorcha

      How do you know she’s white?

      Mar 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   Laura


      Mar 13, 2013 at 11:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   kermit

      Are there any non-poor black people in Washington who happen to have pre-school aged children? Colin Powell’s old, Susan Rice is old, Condoleeza Rice doens’t have any children,…so who’s left?

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:43 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   Guest

      What, you think only white kids attend preschool? Your ignorance is showing.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.5   Ann

      I was waiting for the day that #whitepeopleproblems would be called racist. You can debate until you’re blue in the face whether other races are capable of some of the same dumbf*ckery, but why call out Trish for using the tag when it’s an absurdly common and popular tag? There’s also a very popular website,, that you could target.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 1:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.6   Rattus

      Exactly, Ann. whitepeopleproblems is a state of mind, not a state of skin colour.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 7:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.7   Pope Sextus

      Then call it “people problems” and be done with it. If it were called blackpeopleproblems, then everyone would be upset. Or asianpeopleproblems, or singlewomanproblems, etc.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 8:37 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   kermit

    On second thought, I don’t think this woman is going far enough.

    When the other kids are bringing in multiple items, you don’t counter by brining in everything but the kitchen sink.

    What you do is you crank it up a notch , teach your kid about nihilism and the number zero, and have them bring in nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   redheadwglasses

      HA!! This made me choke on my lemon chicken!

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   SeeYouInTea

    While we never did show & tell at my school, I can see why a parent would be upset that kids are bringing several items to present, while others are never getting their chance.
    Is show & tell all it’s cracked up to be anyway?

    Mar 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Sorcha

      Only if you actually want to put yourself up in front of the whole class with something of yours, hoping they don’t make fun of you later, assuming you manage to say anything anyway.

      So, um. Yeah. Take that for what it’s worth.

      (When I was in kindergarten, I brought doughnut holes in my lunch. They were a huge treat for me because I lived with my grandparents and several other relatives and money was tight. The other kids made fun of them. I still have no idea what triggered that. Who makes fun of doughnut holes?)

      Mar 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   H for Toy

      Jealousy, Sorcha. It was all jealousy, cuz you know what? Now I want donut holes!

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   redheadwglasses

      It totally was jealousy!

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Sorcha

    The school that my son went to for pre-K through 8 had a rule about not bringing toys from home because some of the kids were hugely wealthy and loved to show off. (Of course, even the “not wealthy” parents were at least upper-middle-class; I think we were on the bottom of the class heap there and we’re definitely comfortable.) Maybe something like that is at the heart of this? If there are kids who are bragging about their stuff – and yes, it does happen even at that age – that might be what her kids are really upset about. Regardless, this was the wrong way to handle the issue. She should have asked to speak with the teacher privately, not thrown an epic hissy fit, hoping the lurkers would support her in email.

    Mar 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   kermit

      Isn’t that the whole point of show-and-tell, though? To show off some the amazing stuff you have to your fellow classmates?

      I never went to preschool and we didn’t do this at my elementary school. But if I was paying good money to send a kid to some fancy pants pre-school and found out about this sh0w-and-tell stuff, I’d be raising hell, too.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   JamiSings bang

      I don’t know about the others, but we were encouraged to only bring “educational” stuff for show and tell. So I brought things like petrified wood, pumice stones, etc. Kids who brought toys were kind of made to feel bad by the teacher because “It didn’t teach us anything to see your stuffed bunny.”

      Ah, the 80s, where teachers could put their students down, destroy fragile self esteem, and get away with it.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 10:23 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   merkin4

      It’s not just about “presentation in front of a group” skills at that age. I know a pre-schooler, and he gets assignments to bring something in the Show-And-Tell Bag that begins with the letter of the week. So yes, you can bring your Car if the letter of the week is C, but if the letter is G, then it had better be a Ginormous Car. But, it has to fit in the bag, so sometimes there’s a struggle at Toddler House trying to come up with something cool that starts with the right letter. Mom says the letter is E, so we could send Eggplant, and Toddler tells his mom in furious tones that Vegetable starts with a V, and Purple starts with P, and Eggplant is lame ’cause it don’t look nothing like scrambled eggs anyway.

      So, when the e-mail writer says “Hey, there’s an S-word”, I’m guessing that’s what’s going on.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 10:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.4   juju-skittles

      We totally live in different neighbourhoods. I wouldn’t let my kids take stuff for show & tell that they really treasured because I was worried it’d get stolen.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 12:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   blue

    I thought she was going to complain about show and tell now being two hours long because of bags of toys and 4 year olds only having the ability to listen to others for about 5 seconds, but no, she’s complaining about ‘duplicate’ toys being shared. Four year olds don’t care about that, they’re still happy to blather on about their toy. She needs to get over herself.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 5:58 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   The Elf

    Hmmm…. The stacking reply isn’t working. Well, you all can guess what I was replying to.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 7:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   The Elf

      Never mind.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Lil'

    I get this mom’s frustration, but she really should have talked to the teacher privately. I like the way my son’s preschool does show-n-tell. Each month there is a theme for the curriculum and the items must match the theme. For example, health and nutrition, the arctic, nature…the playing field is pretty level and it’s hard for things to get showy.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 8:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   redheadwglasses

      I like that idea. And it forces the kids to be creative.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   sushimama

    When my son was in PreK, the parent had to be the “parent of the day” AND bring the snack when it was his turn for show & tell. We were allowed to bring younger siblings, but in the rush to get everything together, we forgot show & tell. So we improvised and his show & tell was his little sister, who obligingly did somersaults.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 8:25 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   Christine

    Not to defend the mom, but her “There’s an S word” comment about the kitchen sink makes me think that maybe the kids are told to bring in items that start with that week’s letter of the week. So yes, if somebody brings in a big bag of B words, there might be some overlap with those who only brought a banana.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 9:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Macca

      It’s either that or someone there said “shit” one day and everyone got all ruffled.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 9:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   Wait..what?

      They could just bring shit in a sack. But guess that would be more than one item .

      Mar 14, 2013 at 10:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Steve

    “Helicopter Parent” is a term created by people who ignore their kids and who don’t want to feel guilty about it. Sure, some people push it too far, but nobody should ever feel bad that they’re actually paying attention to their kids at a young age, just to avoid some idiots’ kneejerky term.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   The Elf

      You can ask people who work in universities (remember, the students there are adults) or that hire or supervise young adults and ask them if helicopter parenting is problem. I’ve heard some mind-blowing tales.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.2   Captain Hampton

      Not sure if serious, Steve. If it offends you less, let’s refer to it as “overparenting” from now on.

      Are you putting yourself in a position to claim that there is no line that cannot be crossed in the name of concern for your child? No one wants people to feel bad about paying attention to their kids, but the same people that “push it too far” are the ones these terms are intended for.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.3   redheadwglasses

      Elf nailed it. My ex is in the PhD program, and he’s told me about students (age 22 or so, even older) coming in to interview for grad school, PhD candidacy, or to get grants, and sometimes, their MOMMY shows up with them and sits in on the interview (or tries to).

      He said every student who comes in with a parent for those interviews is blacklisted permanently.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.4   Ann

      Some people remarked above that it’s not possible to overparent a preschooler, and I’m going to disagree with that, too, although it’s certainly a lot harder to achieve. Even small children need some degree of independence and should be allowed to make some of their own choices. That’s how they develop. If a parent is doing everything for them, all the time, and not even getting their input on anything, I think they’re doing the kid a disservice.

      And overparenting older kids is beyond real and beyond a problem–see the case of the college student who had to take out a restraining order against her parents for basically stalking her and spying on her–as a grown adult!

      Some parents are cray-cray.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 1:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.5   AnotherRedHeadWithGlasses

      @Redhead – Well, I certainly hope they tell those kids/parents that they’re blacklisted and why. Because: 1) I’ll bet none of those parents has a clue what the problem is, and so when their kid doesn’t get into grad school, they double down on their efforts. And 2) I’d imagine the looks on their faces upon finding out are priceless.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.6   Spooky

      My 19-year old nephew became a vegetarian two years ago. When we go out for dinner, his mom *still* asks questions for him, tells the waiter his taste preferences, and orders for him. My autistic daughter, who is gluten and casein-free, is 14, and has been ordering for herself for at least three years.

      Best, though, is when I ask Nephew questions about himself, college, etc, Mom answers, and I just stare at his mouth and ask, “How do you DO that without moving your lips?” They’ve never shown any signs of getting it.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.7   Steve

      Sure, people go too far. But that term was invented as a guilt-alleviator for the lazy and stupid.

      Go to a public place that caters to young kids. Watch your own kid. While you’re doing that, check out all the undisciplined kids causing problems for your kid because their parents are sitting back “not overparenting”. They’re the ones using lazy terms like “helicopter parent” or “hover parent” or “overparent”. And if that sounds foreign to you, what do you think it means?

      Mar 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.8   Tom

      Steve, here’s your milk and cookie.
      Now run along inside and let the rest of the kids play.

      (helicopter parenting and overparenting are undeniably the same thing, and are a problem – while bad/underparenting cause behavioral problems everyone can see, overparenting causes the problems you usually can’t see right away)

      Mar 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.9   The Elf

      Actually the term was invented by a teenager, who told a researcher that his parent was always hovering over him like a helicopter. Or so says The Mighty Wiki, anyway.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.10   Rattus

      Steve, you are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Making sure that your kid isn’t an asshole isn’t considered to be helicopter parenting by anyone, it’s just parenting, full stop.

      I work with (for) a number of people who helicopter like you wouldn’t believe. Their now-grown children are, for the most part, unable to function in the real world because their parents didn’t allow them room to grow and learn to fend for themselves. Not to mention, their therapy bills are outrageous.

      There is another term used in child-rearing – benign neglect. That is nudging the child in the right direction when necessary, correcting their behaviour, and allowing them all sorts of freedom to work things out for themselves, while at the same time being available for support as needed. The kids I’ve known who grew up under the benign neglect banner have become truly awesome, kind, and independent adults. The overparented, however, tend to neurotic, self-involved misery and I don’t enjoy their company at all.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 7:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.11   Steve

      I’ll make it more clear: to the dim amongst us, of which there are many, the terms I mentioned above are used to describe what is normal parenting.

      Yes, people do go to either extreme, and that’s bad. Proving that too much or too little guidance has negative results is easy to do, but not necessary.

      But my point is, there is a huge percent of people who use those terms as a blanket method of avoiding their own shortcomings. That’s who I’m discussing here.

      Extremely lazy people call moderately active people overachievers, or control freaks.

      Bitter, angry people with unfulfilled lives find ways to mock people who are generally happy.

      People who take in a lower income call people who are living a straight middle class existence yuppies.

      And lazy, neglectful parents call people who actually watch their kids and pay attention them helicopter parents.

      My point is that term has been dragged from the extreme to the middle ground. Normal parenting is cast as extreme by weak parents as a method of self-comfort.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 9:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.12   Rattus

      Am I the only one who finds Steve to be, ir0nically, bitter and angry. Hands up anyone who believes that he is the product of helicopter parenting.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 9:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.13   Captain Hampton

      Oh, Steve… do you really describe those that use a term you find unfavorable with words like “idiots,” “lazy,” and “neglectful” without detecting even a smidgen of irony?

      Mar 15, 2013 at 11:16 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.14   Brian

      Steve, I have never called a parent a “helecopter” parent for good parenting. I call them that when they strip all independence away from their child.

      You are harming your child when you don’t force them to try to resolve their own problems (within reason) first.

      I used to run a call center and had many 18-21 year olds work for me through the years.

      On no less than 5 occassions, the parent of one of my employees would call me to complain about how I was treating their precious child. (Including one who came in to tell me how unfair it was that I fired their son when he went on vacation without bothering to tell us and just didn’t show up for a week. Her response “How’s he supposed to know how to do that?”

      So don’t tell me only unmotivated parents use the term.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.15   kermit

      Maybe Steve is just mad because he found out that he has to move all his stuff out in one day. Or maybe somebody at work threw out his NastyCrapContainer(TM).

      Mar 16, 2013 at 9:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   Captain Hampton

    Forget sex and drugs; show and tell duplication is the scourge of our youth.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:34 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   Happy Pi Day

    Oh God, the flashbacks to being a preschool mom. I, unfortunately, know exactly where this mom is coming from. Instructions come home at the beginning of the school year, letting you know that on your child’s share day they can bring in ONE thing to show to the class. Then a few months in it’s your child’s share day again and they want to bring four things. You remind them that the rule is to bring it one thing, to which they respond “No, it’s okay to bring in more, Johnny brought five things yesterday.” Then there are tears because you’re trying to be the mom that follows the rules. To be fair, if everyone just followed the rules set at the beginning of the year, there would be no need for this type of clarification.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 11:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   misspiggy

      Setting little kids up to show off material possessions to each other seems like the direct opposite of what preschool should be about. There must be other ways to boost children’s skills without raising everybody’s worst instincts. Team Boycott Show & Tell Preschools?

      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:36 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #20.2   redheadwglasses

      I think it’s a good time to teach a young kid a lesson that life isn’t always fair and that you should follow the rules even when others aren’t following them.

      (Depending on what those rules are, but let’s not muddy the waters for four-year-olds, mkay?)

      Mar 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #20.3   kermit

      Follow the rules when others aren’t following them? Pshaw!

      That’s when you teach a kid that they should follow the rules AND sabotage the efforts of the rule breakers.

      Or take the game to a completely different level. As you well know, I’m highly in favor of including nihilistic angst into show and tell. If nothing else, it’s a good way for kids to learn to give speeches and b.s. their way into a good grade.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   Eepster

    Waaay more concerned for the kids and parents of the kids bringing multiple bags of things to show off. That’s icky.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   kazari

    I’m kind of Team Mom, because your own kid being intimidated out of doing his own Show and Tell because other kids want to hog the time, is not okay.

    Bringing up this issue with the teacher is fine and not what I would consider “helicopter parenting”. But cc-ing all the other parents on the email? Definitely passive-aggressive territory.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   mutzali

    My dad was a hunter. In kindergarten, I once took a severed pheasant head for show and tell, along with the feet. I remember pulling on the tendons to show how the foot would curl up. Back then, it was no big deal. Today, my parents would have been sued for traumatizing the little snowflakes.

    And my son once took in his cat. (I’m not sure how he kept it quiet in the car so that I wouldn’t find out…) I had to leave work to go get it and take it home.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #23.1   kermit

      I brought a squirrel to school once. Mind you, I was in grade 10 at the time.

      In my defence, it was a baby squirrel that had fallen out of its nest on a wintry day. It needed to recover some place warm and fuzzy, and my coat pocket was just the place. And even now, years later, if I ever tell people to hold on a second because I have a squirrel in my pocket, they know it’s not a euphemism.

      Mar 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #23.2   L

      I took a frog to school once. I found it in our front yard on the way to school and we brought it in to explain why I was a tiny bit late. (I lived across the street from the school.) We only kept it for a day, though.

      Mar 17, 2013 at 12:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   Erica

    I don’t see this as too bad. I’d probably just write a quick note on behalf of my kid “Could Wally please go first for show and tell because he only has 1 item? Thank you.

    Mar 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   Raichu

    Actually I don’t think the note was at all unreasonable – but copying it to the other parents was waaay out of line.

    Mar 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   Vulpis

    Of course, then there’s the ultimate and tragic culmination of this whole sort of thing:

    Kid: “Oh no, I’m just showing one item, teacher–the rest I’m going to share with the class.”
    Later: “This is my daddy’s AK-47! And I brought enough ammo for everyone!” Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat..”BWAHAHAHA!”

    Mar 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   LakeLover

    Honestly, I bet this has a lot more to do with clarification than anything else.

    We have those frustrating last few moments before going out the door when a child suddenly says, “No! I can bring 3, ’cause Tyler did it!”

    You can only hear this so many times before you need to recruit the teacher’s response as back up!

    As is, “Well, Mrs. Simmons said it should just be one and other children bringing in too many is a problem that she is trying to fix.”

    Mar 19, 2013 at 8:52 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #28   Waterloo

    So if this mother is passive aggressive, what does this say about the mother who posted her email on this public website?

    Mar 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #29   TrudyML

    I am confused. Do you bring in a deck of cards or just one?

    PS, I know the original poster. That is how the classroom talks on everything. Teacher and all parents CC’ed. So it wasn’t some grabby thing to do.

    Mar 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #30   TrudyML

    Her kid brings in the bag full of items and is pissed because little Johnny now has to be told no, Waterloo?

    Mar 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #31   Waterloo

    It does sound like she’s guilty of overdoing it at the show & tell table, and rather than tone it down, chooses to attempt to publicly humiliate.

    Mar 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #32   TrudyML

    Poor little Johnny snowflake. Guess she needs to be backed up.

    Mar 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #33   TrudyML

    Oops, Janie snowflake!

    Mar 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #34   Newbie

    You show me yours, I’ll show you mine. ;)

    Mar 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #35   mh78

    As a teacher and mother of a preschooler, I have to go Team Email Mom on this one, even if her CC-ing everyone was overkill. I spent one year as a SAHM last year when my second child was born so my daughter was at a part-time preschool and the “mompetition” was ridiculous. Valentine’s Day, we were supposed to send in a Valentine for every kid in the class, which is pretty much standard…so I sent in a Valentine for everyone, as instructed…even stuck a damn lollipop on each one. Some moms sent in a BAG of treats for each kid. In my friend’s kid’s class, one child’s Valentine was an actual card with his picture on it, like people send out at Christmas.
    Another friend has a kid whose class has a stuffed animal mascot that goes home with a different kid each weekend, and they’re supposed to put a picture of the animal and a little blurb about what he did at that kid’s house that weekend in the accompanying scrapbook. Some moms did page after decorated page of photos, paragraphs, etc. SERIOUSLY?! Right or wrong, that is how I’m picturing the moms of the children bringing in bags of show and tell crap. UGH. These are the same parents who are going to do their kid’s projects for them when they’re in middle school.

    Mar 23, 2013 at 9:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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