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Monday, February 21, 2011

Having a Rant: The Self-Absorbed Parent

You’ve met them. Right?

They’re the ones who put themselves and/or their kids first, with complete disregard for others. They are the parents who, for example:

- Enter an enclosed play area/playground to attend to their child, during which they leave the gate WIDE open so that all the other kids can escape should they choose to (and usually do). Repeatedly.

- On arriving at your child’s sports class, they can’t be bothered parking their car out on the street when they discover the car park is full, so they park their car in front of all the other cars, ensuring no one can get in or out. Because, you know, they’ll ‘only be a minute’. (Sure, you will.)

- At a child’s party, have a ‘word’ to the judges of the dance competition because their child really, really wants to win. (Good luck when your child gets older. It's a big, bad world out there.)

- Wouldn’t hesitate to discipline anyone elses child, but conveniently turns a blind eye when their own is misbehaving (and doing far worse than your child could ever do).

Oh, I could go on. 

Actually, I think I will.

I was at a local toy store once that had a very small, enclosed play area built for the purpose of keeping kids amused whilst their parent/carer perused the store in peace. On this particular day, there were two mothers who had decided to sit in the play area on the floor, not leaving much room for any of the kids who wanted to play in there.

If that wasn’t bad enough, my 7yr old, who was about 14 months old at the time, was playing in there - bashing away at the toy stove - when he spotted something he wanted. He leaned to his right to retrieve the toy, and in the process, accidentally knocked over a little girl who fell backwards on to her bottom.

The mother of the child was one of the mums sitting in the play area. She grabbed my son’s arm and said to him, rather harshly I might add, “Hey, you have to be careful!”

Now, I’m all for others having a word to my child if: a) I’m not around to discipline them; b) my child has actually done something on purpose that needs to be addressed; and c) my child is, like, at a reasonable age to understand the point that parent is trying to make. But this was nothing short of ridiculous. My son was 14 months old, for goodness sake. And grabbing his arm? Not on, lady.

Rest assured, not being particularly shy during such situations, I had a little word to her. ;)

Unfortunately, you come across these parents almost on a daily basis. 

The mother who gets out of her car in the kiss and ride lane at school because she needs to talk to someone – holding up all the other cars in the process? She’s one.

The father who takes his kids to visit his mate and lets them run riot, leaving it up to the wife of his mate to watch them and discipline them? He’s one too.

The mother, for whom you open up the door for at swimming lessons almost every week so that she can get her child's stroller through, who never thanks you. She's one as well. 

The parents who arrive late to the school concert and try to squeeze their way in to a pew as close to the front as possible, then get upset and make a fuss when there’s no room for them – and their party of five? Yup. Bingo.

Unfortunately, self-absorbed parents are everywhere. All we can hope is that they all get a taste of their own medicine at some point, and the penny drops. Agree?

How about you? Have you experienced a self-absorbed parent?

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