Once again we delve into our guide to the world of The School Run to see what grotesque has escaped. Look ye now on the words below and take heed of the terrible creature we describe. Run aghast from the horrors described within, but ensure ye all that thou put a link to This Blog on your Facebook Page.
If you’re new here, you’re probably going to think “the fuck is this??”. That’s fair enough. We’re looking at the various Parent Species on The School Run, taking note of the various characters we are likely to encounter. If you wish to get the full backstory on all of this, please read in order from Part One to Part Two to Part Three to Part Four to Part Five to Part Six first. Or start reading here. Meh. I don’t care what you do.
DISCLAIMER: None of the examples in this series are people I know in real life. Or, to put it another way, I have met examples of these people, but they’re not the people on MY school run.
(Please Note: This is a guide to UK Parents and their stereotypes. Unless you wish to write your own guide, please read the guide in your local accent and see if the same can be said for your locality).
Often hiding in plain sight, mixing with The Gang, lurking on the fringes, joining in the discussion. Up to that point, they could be anyone. Just don’t let them say anything about their life or their kids, because you will want to strangle them after just two minutes.
Their kid can do no wrong. The kid’s achievements are peerless. Their kid does sport, musical instruments, school plays, and is believed (by the braggee) to be academically gifted. But watch out if the kid gets told off, or doesn’t get a good write up in the end of term report, or doesn’t get a main part in the play. Watch The Bragger go seriously Belligerent, and try to change the teacher’s mind (“It’s clearly an A+, why would you claim otherwise??/They’re so obviously MADE to play the role of the Virgin Mary!”). It’s a complete hoot!
They are the parent who will write in the soft-toy diary about how they went to St Moritz for a sudden skiing trip; or who will bring in bottles of homemade truffle-infused oil to sell at the School Fete. They are the ones who will make you feel like a shit parent, in spite of all the things you do for your own kid, because you haven’t taken your children on a backroom tour of DisneyWorld yet, or that your child is not playing first violin in the county orchestra at the age of 8. They’re the ones clogging up the School Run with their Range Rover Evoque, or who are keeping an accurate tally of their exceptional little Hugo and his Star Of The Day awards for each year. They’re the type of people who make their own bread, but who will go out of their way to ensure you know that they make their own bread. Bleurgh!
The Bragger has to tell you how brilliant their child is. It’s a psychological compulsion, and one that never fails to annoy. The Bragger does not do self-deprecating. You hope for a glimpse of humility, but you’re not likely to get it. Instead, you will hear how their child has got perfect handwriting, got a Gold Star in something-or-other, is already Grade Five on piano, or is the principal dancer in the local ballet school. In the back of your mind, you’re inclined to go “big fucking deal” to all this, but because you’re polite (and because The Bragger might turn into The Fighty One), you wimp out. It’s a shame, because with a little bravery, you might discover that The Bragger is, at all times, two harsh words away from a complete confidence meltdown.
Inevitably, the child is average. Perfectly ordinary and bright in their own way; might be somewhere near the top of the class, but also might well be mucking in with the middles. There is fun to be had if said child is a sulky proto-goth, terminally depressed by their parents’ braggadocio. However, the child may pile on the agony by becoming a smug bully under the tutelage of their exacting parent, keen to point out the deficiencies in every other child, including clothing faux-pas (how can they berate other kids for wearing exactly the same school uniform? Well, they manage it somehow), lack of technology (console, tablet, etc), interest in ‘abnormal’ music, or generally not being perfect enough.
But it’s not fair to pick on the kid. They can’t help having those parents. And to be honest, we’re all a little bit Bragger about our children sometimes. We’re all convinced our child is the Chosen One who will lead humanity into a Golden Age at some time or other. However, it’s like all inhibitions. Some people will be less inhibited about talking up their child’s potential than others.
You hope that by the end of Primary School, The Bragger – convinced of their child’s excellence and distinction – enrolls the child into the nearby third-rate private school. You hope that the parent eventually reaches some sort of crisis, and that the reality of who they are and what they do will come home to them, and life deals them a cruel but fair blow to their superiority. You hope that the child, if the child is a prick, would gain a spoonful of cynicism and embarrassment, and would become a decent adult. In a perfect world, this would happen. But sadly, this is not a perfect world, and people like this don’t get their just desserts, never change, and usually end up being successful and powerful. Fuck this horrid, bitter, unfair world.
Plus Side: Well, at least they’re pleased with themselves.
Minus Side: If you’re stuck talking to them at a child’s birthday party, and talk inevitably turns to them telling you about their child and family, you will want to shove their heads in the trifle. But you won’t. Coward.
APPEARANCE: Difficult to tell until they open their mouths. It could be you… or you… or… YOU. It’s not me. Oh no.
CALL: “Did you hear that Jocasta has moved up a swimming class?? Oh you didn’t? Well let me tell you: Jocasta has moved up a swimming class! Isn’t that brilliant??! She’s clearly so talented!”
HABITAT: Rushing up to you with a breathless smile to tell you about something awesome their kid has done for fuck’s sake.