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3 Annoying Things Other Parents Do

blahblahChances 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?

14 thoughts on “3 Annoying Things Other Parents Do

  1. ..and we come full circle to our shared blogging hatred of parents who do their kid’s homework!
    But oh… those parents who cannot hold a conversation without reference to their offspring (or more usually… who ruby-tackle your entire conversation and race along with reference to little Johnnie’s dental problems when you were actually talking about the European Union to begin with…)

    I mentioned the same issue in a blog before. About how I first noticed this when in my early 20s (and a non parent.) A woman in our office never stopped wittering on about her damned kids! I was rather uncharitable about this and would deliberately start conversations that were as diametrically opposed to child-rearing as possible. It would be ‘ooh – I got so drunk last night in Manchester that I nearly fell under a tram!’ And she would go ‘ooh – My little Johnnie loves it when we go into Manchester and we get to go on a tram!’. Once I even (very naughtily) tried ‘I was sitting outside the STD clinic the other day. it was so busy!’ And she goes ‘what I hate about the doctors is they never have toys for the kids….we always make sure that we bring a thomas the tank engine with us…”

    At that point I decided not to have children. But looked what happened! And I still blog more about them than most other things in life. Not because I particularly like them. But because I have lost all of my own identity these days. As my mother’s neighbour said to me when she heard I was pregnant (with typical northern ‘you’ll get your come-uppance once day… Ms fly-by-night’) “Well Chris, you’re just another woman with a pram now.”

    Anyway. I’d best shut up about the kids now as got to sort a problem out in Ethiopia (and am not joking – for once!) 😉
    Great blog!

    1. Hi Chris, thank you so much for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

      Apologies for not replying earlier, but pre-Christmas weeks were just so hectic, I didn’t even have a chance to visit my own blog!

      Funny what you say about the woman who could turn any topic into a conversation about her children. I remember getting bored out of my mind each time I found myself in a company of parents (and I had no children then) who would not miss any opportunity to discuss their kids’ sleeping, teething, eating and bodily functions – totally gross! Well, it’s amazing how things and points of view change over time, :D!

      What are you doing in Ethiopia? Whatever it is, I hope things are going well…

      I hope you managed to have a nice break over Christmas and I wish you a happy, healthy and successful New Year 2015!

      Beata x

  2. This is the advantage of having teenagers, there are no school gate chats anymore and all the annoying parents have been weeded out. Unfortunately, you’re left with annoying teenagers that know everything and only want to talk about themselves all the time. These things are always a tradeoff…

    1. That is very true, Marie. My teenager is going through a phase of debating everything, just for the sake of it. Apparently practising for his school debating society 😉

  3. I feel your pain, Beata. Like you, I’m guilty of talking about my kid too. Maybe not so much anymore now that he’s 7, but when he was a toddler. And yes, I hate parents who do the artsy homework for their children. It’s crazy and unfair. I guess that one is also related to the last one in the sense that they both reflect hypocrisy. No wonder a lot of the younger generation is messed up and confused, bratty and self-entitled. It’s because of these annoying parents who fail to teach integrity and accountability. Ok I digress, sorry, haha! Great post!

    1. Thank you for a fab comment, Joy. You are absolutely right – how can the kids grow up to be decent if their parents make it acceptable to cheat?

  4. This is a mine field, Beata. I personally believe that a lot of parents see their children as an extension of themselves, and that’s why they can’t stop talking about their offspring. In fact, they like talking about themselves. I have to admit that I hate it. The other thing is that I suck at art, which means that I will never be able to do an art project for my kids. problem solved!

  5. I really hope I won’t be “expected” to finish my son’s future science project until midnight. it’s bad enough when I leave my own to the last minute!

    1. I hope so too, Amy 🙂 Luckily, most parents don’t have a burning ambition to ensure their children’s homework beats everyone else’s!

    1. Hi Laurel, thank you for commenting and even more thank you for reading my post, even though it may not have been immediately relevant to you – much appreciated! 🙂

  6. My son is grown, so I need to say that some things never change. All three of these were pet peeves but I can understand #1. #2 and #3 are so hurtful you want to say “there ought to be a law”. Especially the science project thing – when you see perfect lettering and work that no elementary school child could possibly do unless they were a prodigy (and you’d hope the teacher would know if he/she was teaching a prodigy) and they even let that project into the competition – well, sigh.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Alana. Isn’t this amazing how some of the parenting issues are universal, not just in time, but also across countries and continents? I’m glad you don’t think I am just overly sensitive 🙂

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