The guide to navigating parents at school
Seeing your little one start high school is certainly a milestone, what you didn't count on was feeling like you were back at school yourself, says Kim Norton.
Your little munchkin is starting big school.  A special milestone, a day for photos of that gap toothed smile and laughing at the school bag that is twice the size of your child.  What you hadn’t counted on was feeling like you were back at school yourself.

As you walk down the passages and greet the teachers, you get that school pupil feeling back.  You’ll meet so many parents you’ll make good friends with, just in time for your children to argue and refuse to play with each other when you get together.  Know this, your child will probably be sworn enemies with whoever you make friends with and you might not be able to stand the parents of the children your child makes friends with.   You’ll also notice that there are several cliques of parents. 

Cheerleaders & Yummy Mummies

You remember them?  They swanned about looking down their noses at everyone, mocking this one’s hockey stick, that one’s hair accessories, the other one’s lame party?  Your parents told you that once they were earning their own money they would get a bit of a wake up and stop being so snobby.  Sadly, these girls left school, married men who support them and now they point and laugh at your car (you drive only drive an X3? Snigger) or that your child’s lunch box doesn’t contain organic food fertilised with the droppings of Himalayan mountain goats.  They’re still there and they’re still mean.


She organised everything.  A model of efficiency and cheerfulness.  Everyone loved her including you.  But sometimes, just sometimes you wished she would have an off day or forget some minor thing off her to do list.  She’s still just as loved, just as much fun, takes the pressure of everyone else for organising…and just as irritating, but at least your sports teams are always neatly attired, on time and there are oranges at half time.

Come on, thank her for her hard work, give her a voucher for a facial and offer to help her out with the organising.  She does have off days; she just doesn’t want to burden anyone into dealing with her problems.  Just resist the urge to glare at her when you’re having an off day.

The Moaner

There is too little homework; the teacher should be getting the children reading sooner, outings should be to better venues…

Just as when you were at school and she moaned about the tuck shop menu and the matric privileges but never stood for election as a prefect or volunteered for any house committees, she still isn’t on the parent committee offering to fix anything. 

Give her a wide berth; don’t get sucked down the plug hole of negativity.  She’ll never grasp constructive criticism; she’ll never start using the right channels to complain.  Don’t sit nearby, your ear will burn and very little of what she says is justified – if it was, she’d go to the right people to complain respectfully and fix the problem.

Miss and Mrs Disorganised

She forgot to wear civvies for outings, never had her jersey on a cold day and borrowed yours, always left her one takkie or shin pad at home on sports match days and always wanted your biology notes to copy and returned them dog eared and out of sequence.  She was the one you got lumped with for projects where you did all the work and she stuck on one picture and still shared your “A”. 

No, living on her own taught her nothing.   She’ll sms the morning of an outing and ask if you got the notice, will forget her time slot for the tombola stall on the fete day but still carry on volunteering for every committee and tuck shop duty and library duty – all of which she’ll arrive late for, or forget completely.  She’s lovely and fun and even if you are firm friends with her – don’t be on the same committee or volunteer team as her unless you want your hair grey over night.

For the over sensitive among us (no, they get no less brittle as time goes on), these are composites of types of people you might encounter, none of them are based on actual people, though, you know, if the shoe fits… 

What type of school pupil were you and are you still like that?

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