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The 5 Types of School Parents You Want to Avoid

If you’re the parent of school-age children, there’s something you’ll have to deal with almost every day: other parents. And while some will become your best friends and coffee companions, there are a few you’ll want to avoid like the mystery dip at the PTA fundraiser. Here are the five I consider the most dangerous:

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1. The Snack Shamer

I’m not hating on the mom that shows up at the bake sale with the five-dozen homemade cupcakes. In fact, I’m liable to grab a few of those tasty delicacies to have with my afternoon cappuccino and pretend they’re for my ‘other children.’ What gets my leggings in a bunch is the parent that looks over at your box of store-bought snickerdoodles and says, “You know those are so easy to make yourself, right?” or helps you carry in your platter of cut-up veggies — the one that took you five-hours and one trip the ER to make — and asks, “So you couldn’t find any jicama or kale chips?”

2. The Ride Moocher

We’re all happy to give a ride to our kids’ classmates now and then. But when it turns into a regular thing, without any reciprocating rides, that’s when you feel like installing a meter in your minivan. (This doesn’t include those parents who are in situations that make it difficult for them to get their kids around — rides are offered up gladly for them.) I’m talking about the mom that asked me if I would pick up her kid from school every day, so that she could fit in her three-hour workout. She seemed surprised when I told her I couldn’t because I was busy working on a really big jigsaw puzzle.

3. The Habitual Dropper-Offer

You know these parents. Masters of the famous "Drop 'n Go" maneuver, their kids seem to mysteriously appear on your doorstep and end up staying for hours at a time without so much as an inquiry into what you could possibly be doing with your time instead of watching their kids and feeding them dinner. (Meanwhile, your kid has never even seen the inside of the other family’s home.) This will probably happen over and over again until you wise up and realize it coincides with the other parent’s three-hour workout.

4. The Slacker Enabler

Look, it’s none of my business if you let your kid slack off in school, but when it starts to affect my kid, that’s when I want to give you a wedgie and scrawl rumors about you on the bathroom wall. Parents whose kids are assigned those hideous "group projects" that teachers are so fond of will know what I’m talking about. True story: My daughter was working on a final 8th grade project with another girl, who decided she couldn’t miss a slumber party on the last weekend they had to finish the assignment. I called the mom, who agreed that the slumber party was more important than her daughter contributing her fair share. (She must have heard me cussing when I hung up the phone because she — yes the mom, not the daughter — showed up at our house at 11 p.m. offering to work on the project. What?)

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5. The Allegiance Forcer

I’m thankful for parents who put up the good fight, because we all know it’s the only way change comes about in our schools. Who do you think made it possible for hot sauce to be served with the cafeteria burritos? (*POINTS TO SELF.*) But beware the parent who has an axe (or several) to grind and tries to pull you and other parents in on every gripe they have, usually without your consent. One week they’re telling the principal that “[Your name] and I strongly feel that beige should from now on be referred to as taupe,” and the next week you’re shocked to find that you were named as spearheading the movement to ensure all theater productions contain hand puppets. Moral of the story: Be careful of what you’re nodding your head to during those casual schoolyard conversations.

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