Monday, October 1, 2007

How To Deal With Rude Parents

In an article titled Totally Rude Parents by Reshma Memon Yaqub, a list of common mommy annoyances are categorized into different types of moms. Do any of these sound familiar?

The Perp: The Hypercompetitive Mom
Warning Signs: constant bragging, loves to hear herself talk, more concerned about telling everyone about child's latest accomplishment than whether or not anyone cares.
How to Deal: Give her a quick compliment, than excuse yourself to talk to someone else. Don't get yourself involved in the conversation, or it will just turn into a contest of one-upmanship. Save your own bragging for the grandparents.

The Perp: The Self-Proclaimed Expert
Warning Signs: Endless opinions about what you should be doing with your child and how you should be doing it. "Someday this woman is going to drive her daughter-in-law into therapy," Yaqub muses.
How to Deal: Don't explain yourself. Just smile politely and thank her for her concern. In the case of a long-term friendship, "you'll have to politely explain that your family has its own way of doing things and that her repeated intrusions are unwelcome."

The Perp: The Selfish Mom
Warning Signs: No child exists but her own, and her child is always in the right. Pushing her own child up front so she can see better (even if it means stepping in front of everyone else) is something the Selfish Mom would do.
How to Deal: Avoid the temptation to be nasty, and ask politely to insure your child gets what she deserves as well. Or just move to another area so you're not disturbed.

The Perp: The Bad Influence
Warning Signs: Your child loves going over to Bad Influence Mom's house because she lets the kids eat candy by the pound and watch PG-13 movies -- even though you've asked her not to.
How to Deal: "Without judging, make one last attempt to explain to this mom why you set your rules and how important they are to you," says Adam Wasson, author of Eats, Poops, and Leaves. If nothing changes after your chat, you have two choices: Make your house the "fun" house (best snacks, coolest G-rated activities) where the kids want to hang out, or relegate this friendship to in-school hours only.

The Perp: The Wimp
Warning Signs: Lets her child get away with everything because she can't or won't stand up to him, ignores rules, pretends not to notice her child's misbehavior to avoid conflict, enjoys being the laid-back mom who is her child's best friend instead of a disciplinarian.
How to Deal: Enlist her child's cooperation, which may mean stepping in and giving your own polite reminders. Ultimately, limit playdates with this mom: it may only frustrate your own child to watch someone else break rules he is required to follow.

The Perp: The Thoughtless Mom
Warning Signs: A lot like Selfish Mom, shows up late for playgroups, changes her daughter on your dining room table, then throws the diaper in your kitchen trash can. "This mom is more oblivious than rude -- she's too overwhelmed or self-involved to realize how her behavior affects others," Yaqub explains.
How to Deal: Coping with this mom requires a combination of backbone and funny bone. You need to set boundaries and protect your turf -- be it your time or furniture. "During a playdate, a parent started changing a dirty diaper on my coffee table next to the food!" recalls Wasson. "I swooped in with a big smile and said, 'Oh, look, we have a changing table right over here!' I almost grabbed the half-naked baby." Keep your tone apologetic and hospitable, like you know she would have done the right thing if she only knew where the changing table was. And you can cure recurring lateness by still ending playdates on time. This will remind Thoughtless Mom that she cuts her own child's play time by showing up late.


jodi c. said...

This is hilarious, because it's so universal. I think I know at least one mom in each category, if not more. Thanks for the advice on how to handle them!

P.S. Glad to see you back! Hope everything's okay.

Dad Stuff said...

Very educational. I hope they don't do an article on Dads. I would be nervous to see where I fit in.

Bananas said...

these are great. another option is to hold up your hand and shout... QUIET! I THINK I HEAR SOMETHING! and then run off.

pixie said...

I like that one!

lee woo said...

Anytime anybody is rude, it makes me double-check my own behavior to make sure I don't do that to other people. See the link below for more info.


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