We Are [Not] Scientists
I worked at a science museum that had hands on for kids.
The aim of the game was for the child to solve a problem by themselves. Like “can you get x to do y”, they make something, test it, and figure out how to make it better.
One day a woman comes in, practically dragging her five year old son. She sits him down beside me and starts poking me on the shoulder and I’m talking to another family.
“Tell my son what to do,” she says, standing over him. I tell the family to hold on a sec, as I explain the challenge to the newcomer. The whole point is to work autonomously, so it was alright, and I was used to working with a few rude/pushy parents so I wasn’t surprised. I tell the kid the prompt, tell him he had a wide range of materials…
But no. The woman wants me to tell him every step of the process. “Tell him the answer! Tell him the answer!” she says repeatedly, grabbing his hands to make him fold paper, or reaching for my own.
I start getting mad. “Ma’am, the goal here is to learn the scientific method. Make a hypothesis, test it, make conclusions and try again.”
“But you already KNOW the answer,” she says, “tell my son! Or I’m calling your manager!”
I don’t even have a manager. In the mean time, the poor kid is looking so embarrassed. Ever time he tries to start something for himself, his mom reaches for his hands and tells him to wait for me to tell him what to do. The woman was so afraid of him failing when the whole point was to learn from one’s mistakes. I’m so worried about how he’ll deal with mistakes growing up, with her around. (Nosynonymforsynonym)
A guy at my high school last year wrote some college application essays, and after his parents read them they kicked him out of his own account, changed the password, and rewrote them entirely. (ZacheyBYT)
I used to teach/lecture at a university. I had one poor homeschooled student who’s mother insisted on attending the university with him. She enrolled in the same course and used to follow him around to observe his social interactions, and dictate to him who he should be friends with etc. He had limited social skills as it was, and this made it much much worse. In the end I put them in different lecture streams so that they had to attend separate lectures and labs. She spat the dummy and took me before the Dean to change them into the lecture streams, but the Dean was pretty happy with what I had done. A few weeks later the student came and thanked me personally. (Hypogriff)