Park Life

The world is a playground.....

You know, as a kraken I don’t weep tears of joy often but I am awash with the drippy little fuckers thanks to the start of the new school term. As much as I delight in the ample madness of Kraken Junior I can’t wait to hand her over to her Year One teacher with the words, “Go on. You deal with the ever-prancing snot-bangle,” before lurching back to the bountiful silence of my writing shed. And that’s mainly because during the summer holidays not only have I visited dozens of playgrounds but I’ve had to deal with the parenting equivalents of the Harry Potter Dementors in every bloody one of them.

Tell me, kraken-lovers, why in the lurching fibroid of fuck are so many parents so incapable of controlling their kids in playgrounds? Yes, I know that these are havens of childish delight where tiny humans can indulge in their every whim to swing, spin, climb and break limbs but this summer I have witnessed such a staggering lack of playground etiquette on behalf of the inhabiting adults that the next time I venture into a park I’m doing it with a nail gun.

Let me explain. As much as Kraken Junior likes to run amok in a park – like a dog with burning paws – I still make a monumental effort to teach her to share and respect. No, don’t thank me. It’s my job. I tell her to wait her turn on the roundabout, not climb up the slidey bit of the slide and never to run directly in front of the swings. Fuck knows, even as a woman who has all the maternal instinct of a half-empty bottle of soy sauce I understand that my parental ‘on’ switch doesn’t get turned ‘off’ at the park gates. Yet this summer Kraken Junior has been shoved out of the queue for a climbing frame, galloped over by a marauding band of seven year olds and had to wait for the slide because some little shit was climbing up the chute and all while being watched by their mums and dads. Worse, at no fucking point did any parent ever upbraid their progeny for the fact that they were taking a massive social dump on the other children.

Seriously, I am at a loss. If Kraken Junior pushed a child out of the way so she could get to a swing first she’d be treated to seven shades of my particular brand of apeshit. And no, it’s not because I have a broom-sized stick up my arse but it’s because if Conjugal Kraken and I don’t teach her manners no other fucker will which means that by the age of fifteen she’ll be snorting meth off the arse of a feverish lollipop man. Problem is that if other parents don’t do the same then my goodly work gets undone not least because Kraken Junior then thinks it’s OK to curl a lengthy and foetid turd in the sand pit because every other wild-faced nipper is doing it.

Worse is that, in my experience, the guilty parents really do look like they should know one bollock of a lot better. See, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen well spoken, smartly dressed, fruit-touting parents ignore the idiocies of their kids. Believe it or not, in one park this summer a band of such parents, with cars bigger than my caravan, actually stood around a climbing frame discussing the importance of giving their kids soya milk and private tuition while said kids displayed all of the social capabilities of rabid mongels.

So why is it, then, that when the so-called Jeremy Kyle classes fail to control their kids in the same way they get pulled apart for raising an entire generation of lawless teenagers who display the sort of respect found under the wheels of a steam roller? Look, I don’t want to turn this into a class thing but, fuck it, I will: when the poor let their kids run amok they’re feral but when the wealthier classes let their kids run amok they’re just expressing themselves. There. I said it. Feel free to unfollow me.

And no, this doesn’t mean I’m the perfect mother. Christ, have you read my other blog posts? I am to mothering what Dr Harold Shipman was to the care of the elderly. But for all of my imperfections at least I give a shit not just about my own kid but about how she treats others. Which means that the next time I venture into a park it’ll be the parents who send me over the edge, not the five year olds who are packing the zip-wire like Ebola-infected monkeys. And watch out for that nail gun. I won’t be taking it to fix the swings.

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19 Responses to Park Life

  1. Mat says:

    Oscar, Quentin, Julian – Get here and eat your soy-burger on rye!

    Love this!

  2. Crystal Jigsaw says:

    Finally found a blog I can laugh out loud at!

  3. Can'tThinkofanAvatar says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, both that it’s the job of the parents (not teachers or after school clubs or society or anyone else – the parents) to raise their children to be decent human beings, and also that the perception of bad behaviour is a class thing.

    It’s like the current fashion for the middle-classes to find a learning difficulty in their child, rather than simply admit that their kid is a lazy thicko (and as I am middle class, I do feel I have the right to make that judgement – I have seen it in action both as a kid at school and now as my friends and colleagues are sprogging). It damages children who genuinely do have a learning difficulty. It is pathetic scapegoating. I knew a girl who was completely and utterly ignored by her parents in favour of her younger brother to the point where she resorted to terrible behaviour to get any kind of attention, and her parents labelled her with bi-polar disorder. They had absolutely no medical backing for this – it’s just what they told teachers whenever they were hauled up to the school, and this scared the teachers into not taking it further for fear of being lynched in the local press for victimising a mentally unwell child. What pissed me off the most is that these parents chose to assign their kid this horrific condition rather than actually spend any time with her. It’s pathetic. Why did they chose to become parents if this is what they were going to do?

    • The Kraken says:

      Indeed. As far as parenting goes I tend to think that every family does what it can to get through the day and that’s just fine. But I hate how much kids are just ignored because parents can’t be arsed to spend the time with them. Yes it can be dull and boring and infuriating and I freely admit that if I never play tea-parties again it won’t be a moment too bloody soon but that’s just what you have to do isn’t it?

  4. Can'tThinkofanAvatar says:

    Also, there were quite a few kids at my school who were thoroughly unpleasant individuals – they didn’t have any friends, weren’t invited to parties or days out to the cinema or whatever. My mum told me recently that she’d been approached several times by the parents of these kids who asked her to make me be friends with them (can you believe it!). Thankfully, my mum explained in no uncertain terms that I’d already tried to be friends with them (being the pathetically soft touch that I was), but they had been so awful to me that she’d had to step in and advise me to call it quits (they stole my stuff, including lunch, would punch or pinch me, would cheat at games and then throw a temper tantrum, one once threw her food all over our dining room when I invited her over for tea – I was utterly mortified and ignored her for the rest of the evening to help my mum clear it up, to then find out she’d amused herself by cutting all the hair off my Barbies. When my mum told her mum what she’d done, her mum laughed it off as ‘high spirits’ and suggested that my mum should have ordered in takeaway rather than cooked).

    It amazes me to this day that these parents blamed everyone and everything for their little darlings’ bad behaviour and resulting loneliness rather than admit that they were little shites as a result of bad parenting.

  5. Alison Cross says:

    Kraken (so glad to see you back on top splenetic form). These parents will say that you clearly don’t understand that their litlte darlings must be FREE to develop their psychopathic tendencies so that they become effective leaders and decision-makers. OUR children, on the other hand, must learn to wait in line and to meekly re-queue when they get shoved out.

    Beware – these are the Bankers and Captains of Industry of tomorrow!


    • The Kraken says:

      You are so right! If my kid pushed one of these little shits out of the way there’d be murder. But then they do it they are just discovering themselves. Bastards.

  6. Michelle Ksher says:

    Love this. My eldest is 15 and my youngest is 2. I’ve seen every kind of bad behaviour imaginable in the playground and playgroup, I’m now at an age myself where I will tell other peoples children’s off and I now pity the parent who tries to challenge me.

    • The Kraken says:

      Me too. I used to fret about telling off other kids but once I thought of the message that gives my own child – that other kids’ bad manners are more important than her self-respect and confidence – that changed. Now, all bets are off.

      • Michelle Ksher says:

        I’ve had friends ask if I’m worried about what the parents will say? I say they should be worried about what I’ll say to them. If they can’t be bothered to do there job as parents then they can go do one.

  7. Victoria says:

    Could not agree more. Glad it’s not just me that is driven crazy by incompetent parents. Soft play areas are even worse!

    • The Kraken says:

      Soft play! That reminds me… we once went to a soft play party where a much older boy walked up to my three year old and punched her square in the face. I went fucking bananas at him. Then his mother came over and upbraided me because he had learning difficulties. I pointed out that if that was the case he shouldn’t have been left unattended to punch random toddlers then. What in the fuck?

      • Can'tThinkofanAvatar says:

        Yes! Exactly! If a parent *knows* that their kid struggles in social situations, why do they leave them completely unattended and adrift in such situations then?! That’s really cruel!

  8. Julie Powell says:

    Thank you! As a teacher I have to deal with these lawless little fuckers every day. So thank you.

    Ps can I borrow your nail gun?

  9. Jem says:

    Climbing up the slide is nothing, a few months back I observed some dirty little shit pull down his pants and piss up the slide at our local park – only for his mum to stand there laughing.

    Outside wees don’t bother me, but outside on a piece of equipment that children play on? WHAT THE FUCK?!

    • The Kraken says:

      Nooooo! Really? That is astounding! You have trumped every one of my experiences right there. Bloody hell, Jem, you can borrow my nail gun too if you like.

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