6 People Who Took Overprotective Parenting Way Too Far
In a world full of broken families and orphans, how can we complain when parents are too protective? The media mocks so-called helicopter parenting, their term for when parents "hover" over their children and try to control every aspect of their lives. But really, is it so wrong to love your child so much? Is there really such a thing as taking parenting too far?
Dad Builds Baseball Team to Destroy Son's Former Coach
Robert Sanfilippo's 10-year-old son was kicked off his youth baseball team for poor performance, an act that Sanfilippo felt demanded retribution. He eschewed the sensible approach of teaching his son better baseball skills or maybe even paying to send him to one of those training camps, as none of that sane bullshit would absolve his son of the indignity of having failed in a competitive atmosphere. Instead, Sanfilippo decided to form his own damn baseball team for the sole purpose of crushing his son's old coach, John Reardon, and making him rue the day he ever considered cutting the boy. Sanfilippo spent $50,000 of his own money to recruit and train his team.
"Find me a pitcher. 12. Male. Lefty. You have 48 hours."
This included $300 each for custom helmets with skull-and-crossbones insignia. Sanfilippo placed ads in local papers looking for angry players who had been kicked off other teams, which presumably read, "Totally non-psychotic baseball coach seeks jilted kids who wish to enjoy the sweet fruit of reprisal from the tree of revenge." In the high-stakes world of youth baseball, anything goes. The name of the team, no joke, was the Long Island Vengeance.
Captain Ahab was their mascot.
Did we mention that all this was done to bring down a team of 10- and 11-year-olds?
While this is certainly a bit of an overreaction to his kid getting cut from the team, it's not like it's illegal. But why should Sanfilippo stop there? So, in addition to creating the Vengeance, Sanfilippo scouted his competition ... although by "scouted," we mean "stalked and harassed." Sanfilippo staked out Reardon's residence and used a telephoto lens to take pictures of his family's activities, like when his wife would walk their son to the bus stop in the morning. Sanfilippo would then text these photos to Reardon, along with threats to kidnap his son. We're not sure what he would have demanded in ransom had he carried out his threat, but it probably involved Reardon's team taking a dive in the ninth inning and an apology letter to Sanfilippo's son for going all "being totally fair" on him.
There has rarely been a more satisfying image than this dumb fuckhole in cuffs.
Unfortunately for Sanfilippo, the supposedly untraceable phone he was using to carry out his insane vendetta was, in fact, quite traceable, and as a result he was arrested and now faces 20 well-deserved counts of aggravated harassment.
Pushy Parents Take Over Easter Egg Hunt
OK, so maybe you've already heard about crazy sports parents like Sanfilippo up there, the ones who treat every Little League game like losing will traumatize their kids forever. And after all, who hasn't gotten carried away at a sporting event once or twice? So let us ask you this: How trivial and ridiculous would a competitive event have to be before it's safe from even the craziest of overprotective parents? An Easter Egg hunt, you say?
"Now remember what Mommy taught you about incompetence."
Well, don't tell that to parents in Colorado Springs. What was supposed to be a friendly neighborhood activity for the local children turned into a melee when parents hijacked the hunt and scooped up the eggs themselves. Yes, the spectating mommies and daddies couldn't bear the thought of their little ones experiencing the soul-crushing setback of coming away without any eggs (despite the fact that there were thousands lying on the ground in plain sight), so they hurdled over the rope marking the boundary to the hunt and grabbed for those eggs. Chaos ensued.
"You can touch the eggs after I've washed them. Bunnies carry salmonella."
As one parent related:
"You have all these eggs just lying around, and parents helping out. You better believe I'm going to help my kid get one of those eggs. I promised my kid an Easter egg hunt and I'd want to give him an even edge."
Damn straight! All children deserve every advantage they can get their little hands on, especially since their parents saw to it that they didn't get their hands on any actual eggs. What point is there in letting their children find eggs on their own when they can do it for them? Besides, their long adult arms are especially effective at shoving tiny competitors out of the way.
"GET that shit outta my house!"
Organizers canceled the event the following year.
Mom Hacks School Computer, Changes Grades
Catherine Venusto, a secretary with the Northwestern Lehigh School District, was like most parents in that she wanted to see her children succeed in the classroom. Sure, she could help them with their homework, or hire a tutor. But why not cut out the middleman? So, using the superintendent's username and password, she sneaked into the school's database to alter her children's grades over 100 times.
Eventually, Venusto left her job at the school to work for QVC. But even there, she continued to log in remotely to fiddle with grades. In one case, she changed her son's grade from a 98 to a 99, because damn it, any asshole can get a 98. She also changed one of her daughter's failing grades to a medical exemption. In this case, the medical hardship was presumably that she has a mother who is out of her mind.
No matter where you move your head, her eyes follow you.
Red flags finally went up when teachers noticed the grades changing themselves, meaning either somebody was up to no good or their computers were possessed. It probably didn't take long to figure out who was behind the hack. (Hint: It's someone connected to the children whose grades are being changed -- oh, look at this, one of their parents used to work for the school.)
We should note that when investigators asked her why she did it, Venusto said it wasn't out of a desire to rig the game on behalf of her children, but out of boredom (apparently, selling kitsch items to OCD suffers wasn't stimulating enough for her). Her defense was that she didn't know that breaking into a computer system and changing grades was against the law. Hey, Ferris Bueller got away with it!
"I just ordered $20,000 worth of beans on a fake credit card. That's fine, right?"
Parents Are Babying Their Kids Through College, Job Interviews
There is apparently a new wave of parents who see no reason why their practice of hovering over their offspring should end when they move away to college. One parent, despite having a full-time job, schedules every hour of her college-age sons' lives, in addition to monitoring their personal email accounts and bank account balances. She obtains copies of every syllabus and emails them their homework assignments for every class, which they never miss because she gives them wake-up calls every morning. So we suppose it would be kind of like having a fancy personal assistant, only one that guarantees you will never have sex.
"Don't give me that look. You'll be asking me to do this when you're 25."
And it's unfair to write this off as the obsession of one overzealous parent -- hiring managers say they're running into applicants whose parents conducted the job search, as well as wrote and submitted the resume on their kid's behalf. Some of them then sit in on the interview itself and will actually attempt to negotiate salary and benefits on behalf of their children. For example, an HR manager received a call from the mother of an intern they had hired, informing her that her son deserved to be paid more because he was so talented. Not talented enough to negotiate his own salary, though, apparently.
"Blew interviewer for job: 98.7 percent."
The situation has gotten so bad that some companies now expect and make provisions for parental meddling (they find themselves having to recruit the parents of prospective employees as much as the employees themselves). A few at least draw the line at not allowing parents to sit in on job interviews, and presumably you find similar restrictions at, say, strip clubs.
New York Parents Hire Tutors to Help Kids Cheat
Professional tutors have always walked a fine line between empowering students to do better in school and actually doing the work for them. Wealthy parents in New York City have been caught hiring "tutors" to do just that -- complete their children's work for them. So concerned are they with being able to brag to their friends that Junior is attending Harvard that they couldn't care less if they literally buy his way in. Hey, the sooner the kids figure out how the real world works, the better.
One medical student tutored students from wealthy families and made over $150,000, which he used to put himself through school. He started off working for a standard tutoring agency, but the prospect of making tons of cash by doing unethical things like writing college entrance essays for students was too enticing to pass up. After all, if he didn't do it, someone else would. One mother, a college professor, hired him to "tutor" her son through high school. But once her son graduated and moved off to college, he promptly flunked out without his tutor's assistance.
"OK, honey, you're only 10 years behind everyone else. Let's get started."
This type of cheating isn't limited to the United States, either. The problem seems to be especially prevalent in China, where parents are so desperate for their children to succeed that they practically buy achievements for them. This presents a major problem for U.S. students who must compete with Chinese students for college admissions -- one research study shows that 50 percent of high school transcripts in China are falsified.
Don't they know you can just buy a fake diploma off the Internet?
Parents Spend Thousands on Popularity Classes
As crushing as it is for your kids to fail in the classroom or on the sports field, maybe nothing is worse than the sting of social rejection. But once again, there is no problem beyond the reach of intrusive parents willing to go the extra mile, which is why some of them are sending their little girls to coaches who will train them on how to be popular.
For the record, these are the coaches.
Sunday Tollefson, author and sorority rush expert, says, "It's like speed dating meets interviewing meets beauty pageant meets upscale academic summer camp, complete with a counselor." Note the "beauty pageant" part of this equation. We suppose we should give her credit for being honest about the importance of looking good -- one study showed that sororities are much more likely to accept thin women as members than those who were less thin (note: not necessarily overweight).
Some parents will spend upwards of $8,000 to send their daughters to a two-week sorority prep school. There they will learn to minimize the chance that they will ever embarrass themselves socially or come to believe that getting an education is somehow more important than being pretty and liked.
"I'm sorry, I've been instructed not to speak."
Don't get us wrong -- being in a popular sorority is the ultimate in social networking, as sororities have their tentacles buried deep in the business world. While most sororities have GPA requirements, grades are hardly the most important thing on your resume when you have Kappa Kappa Gamma next to your name. Thanks, Mom!
For more ways parents can be really horrible, check out 8 Psychotic Overreactions by Adults at Youth Sporting Events and 5 Horrific Ways Bad Parents Turn Their Kids Into Good Money.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 3 Manliest Things Ever Done by Werner Herzog (Or Anyone).