Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Parent Bully, A "Volatile" Mom and An Email

When you send your child to preschool, you think you are sending him or her to a warm fuzzy place where body, mind and soul will be nourished.  You think you'll meet other nice parents, and expand your family's circle of friends.

And for the most part this will be true. Most adults have matured.  They've shed the angst that makes them need to act like mean girls or rich prep school douchebags.  Even parents who aren't friends smile, say a civil hello and walk on.

Except for those who decide that the parent body is the new old high school cafeteria.  An environment where they can continue to role play middle-age, or approaching middle age angst.  They can be the queen bees of a committee or they take on self-appointed roles.

And while they are few, these bullies are still out there. 

I had the misfortune to interact with a parent who had his feet firmly planted in the bully/jerk continuum.  I first met him when my father was near death, and being beside myself, parked my car in a less that efficient manner.  This parent came to my car to explain to me about my thoughtlessness, not parallel parking tight enough.  Like a schoolgirl, I tried to explain that I had forgotten, that other people had done it and you just deal with it, wait and move on.  He continued scolding me.

Finally, I snapped. "Are you really going to stand here and lecture me?" I said.

He shut up and walked away.

I ran into him at our kids' swimming lessons, and we appeared to make peace. I began to see him everywhere. It was my intention to say hello and move on, but he always seemed to want to engage me in some kind of conversation.  One where he usually managed to pontificate and put himself on a pedestal.  

Everytime I talked with him,  after it was over, I wanted to take an elephant's dose of Prozac and a Silkwood shower.  

He became unavoidable.  At a neighborhood function, he called me over to talk to me about what I should do as a member of the Social Committee.  Upon meeting my husband he said in an accusing tone, "Oh, I never see you."

While I'm not drawn to men all jacked up on machismo, right then I wished my husband were the type of dude who would have punched his face.

Not making eye contact made no difference.  And maybe I was too nice.  I longed to tell him not to ever blanking speak to me again.  

Finally I would get my wish.

My 70+ year old mother took my kid to school a bit ago.  Feeling that she too had parked less than efficiently, he similarly approached her car and told her, "Move up."  No introduction.  No, "Would you mind."  Just a man with a Napoleonic complex and a likely desire to compensate for a small pecker.  

When my mother got out of the car with my son, whom he doubtlessly recognized, he still didn't apologize.  Just said, "Oh, I didn't know you had a child here at the school."

My mom was irritated, and called me.  As soon as she said, "Who is the man with ----?" I knew.  

And I wanted to get all Benihana on his ass.  Who is rude to a grandmother?  What man?  

Not taking my own advice from the prior post, I banged out an email sans exclamation points and emoticons.  I told him I was angry.  I told him that when he did the same to me, my dad was literally on his deathbed. I reminded him that he was not the parking czar.  I asked him never to speak to me or any member of my family again in condescending tones. 

Minutes later I received a reply denying everything.  He had spoken to both me and my mother in only the most caring, understanding and respectful tone.  


And here is the kicker.  He always knew I was volatile, since I yelled at him that first day. He claimed I yelled at him yet again in my email (with no capital letters or exclamation points?).  He had never accosted anyone. He said he was now fearful of me (Wow! Little 112-pound me!).  He would not speak, walk next to (Gosh I hope not!) or look at me ever again (Salem Witch Trials).  

Praise Jesus, Hallelujah and Amen!  Pump the ceiling, I'd gotten what I'd wanted all along!

I was shaking with fury, even though I was elated that I would never have to talk to this troll again.  And I had to have a drink before 5 o'clock so I could see straight.  

Ah, parents at school...

Anyone else out there been in a Parent War or dealt with a bully parent at school?  How did it resolve itself? While I hope not to have more interactions like this, I have a lot more years of school left.  Those of us with small children could use the advice of you seasoned moms.  


  1. I'm dealing with not so much an outright bully mom, but more of a passive aggressive mom. She keeps giving me parenting "tips," and sent me a long email full of analysis of our preschool boys' friendship (which she has decided is not good for her son. Sigh.). I'm so sorry you had to deal with such a jerk, but good for you for standing up for yourself and your family!

    1. Ugh. What a nutjob! Sorry you had to deal with that! Why are we parents, well some of us, so horrible to one another? Thanks for the pat on the back. When someone sends you notes like that a part of you begins to wonder if you were in the wrong after all.

  2. It stinks! Though I've never been in a real confrontation with another parent, I have been in a confrontation with one of my son's teachers. We were in the home stretch of potty training Ben. He was accident free at home, yet every day when I picked him up, he had a stinky underoo full of poo. I calmly spoke to his teacher numerous times, to no avail. Even though I was furious that I had to take him into my younger son's class to clean and change him, while my younger son's teachers waited and all other children were long gone. It's not easy, and I took it to the top until I got resolution. I had to go to the head of the school before they finally decided to sit him on the potty & wait before ending their day.
    Needless to say, I didn't want the confrontation so I tried to keep the temper in check. If the parking Nazi continues, perhaps best that administrators at the school know about him so they may speak with him, or enlist a traffic director.
    Don't let the man get you down Keesha. He's obviously got some issues!

    1. Any confrontation is icky, but especially at school where children get to see adults behaving badly - obviously a horrible model. The administrators are completely aware (they have copies of both emails), but there's not much they can really do, save send a letter about parking and maintaining civil discourse. Unfortunately and obviously given the response I got, this guy thinks he's as loving and blameless as Bishop Tutu. A paper trail has begun - because someone who sends an email like that is obviously engaged in deluded thinking.

    2. You're right. And if parking were such a huge issue and it had him hot under the collar, he should've taken it up with the school! Not other parents (or worse yet - grandparents).

  3. It is my theory that in general, people don't evolve past Junior High / High School. This dude proves it.

    1. That is the sad and scary truth. And looking at the world that way explains A LOT.

  4. I don't know if I've ever had a run-in with a parent (that's a good thing about suffering a severe head injury, I don't remember the unpleasant stuff...or the pleasant stuff). But I'm studying to be a special education teacher, so I know the time is coming when I will have to deal with an irrational parent. But at least you won't have to see him anymore...hopefully.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. I've never encountered parent bullies before, and I hope I'll never have to! Some people just never grow up, I guess.

    I like how you write :). So funny!

    1. Thanks, so much! I think parents at school need lessons in how to behave in a community as much as the kids. Sorry this reply took forever!

  6. When I first started teaching, I used to exchange words often with a parent of one of my students. She mistreated her kids and I wouldn't allow her to disrespect them in my classroom. I do not understand some people!

    1. I think parents need to sign some kind of contract related to their own behavior, in addition to the kind of behavior they will promote/tolerate/or immediately put the kibosh on in their kids.


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