Chances are, those of my readers who are not parents themselves can find many more than just three annoying things about parents in general – and at the top of the list would probably be people talking about their children.
Parents have an amazing ability to steer ANY conversation onto their offspring.
Say, you start talking politics in general and very quickly the topic changes into finding a decent school for your friend’s child. Try to talk about lovely weather and a few minutes later you will be amazed how you’ve managed to slide into discussing the best outdoor attractions for children. I could go on with examples for ever, but I’m pretty sure you’ve got the point. Yes, if you are not a parent, all those children-centered discussions can be not only boring but also downright annoying. Can’t people talk about anything else other than their offspring? Apparently not… So, I feel I should forewarn you: the remainder of this post is going to be about children – and some of their annoying parents.
So what annoys me about other parents?
Being a parent myself, I am as guilty as the next mum or dad of talking way too much about my children, I admit that. But then, there is talking about one’s children and there is TALKING about one’s children – incessantly…
One of the things that get on my nerves is when someone strikes a conversation, usually asking about another person’s child, with a SOLE purpose of launching into a 20-minute monologue about their own child. This usually starts with an innocent ‘So how is Johnny settling in at school?’ or something similar and the moment you manage to say something like, ‘He seems to be doing ok, thanks’ , you are a captive audience who has to be told in detail how wonderful/talented/clever the other person’s children are.
Thankfully, it tends to be the same mothers at the school gate who are guilty of this ‘conversational sin’, so with a little bit of care and planning of your exit route after the school drop-off, you can avoid the most notorious offenders.
The second thing that really annoys me is when parents do their children’s homework for them, especially the more ‘arty’ type of tasks.
Some parents just do their children’s homework and keep quiet about it, hoping that no-one will notice. Come on – are you really telling me that it is impossible to tell the difference between a piece of work done by a 9-year-old and a grown-up?
There are also parents who will happily tell you that they spent the whole weekend working on their child’s project. A few weeks ago, one of the mums was telling everyone who cared to listen how she was exhausted because she had been finishing off her son’s science project until well past midnight. Next thing we knew – the boy was mentioned in a school’s newsletter’s ‘Roll of Honour’ for the best science project. To my mind, that’s simply wrong. Are the teachers blind?
Finally, I can’t stand
the parents who argue for one thing and do another.
Just before the summer holidays, there was a bit of a heated discussion at the school gate about selective schools vs. comprehensives, with some mothers getting rather militant in their views about how the only important thing was that their children were simply happy in their secondary school, went where their friends were and that all the stress of the 11+ exams was just too much and not worth it.
According to them, it was the ‘pushy-posh’ parents who ignored their children’s emotional well-being for the sake of being able to show off how talented their children were. Now, guess what – without exception, every single of those anti-selective school mums is having their child privately tutored for the previously despised 11+ exams. What a difference can one summer holiday make in some people’s views…
These are my three most annoying things about other parents – what are your school-gate pet hates?