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5 Kinds of Parents You Meet in the Playground

July 22, 2015

older man playing with a little girl


Playgrounds bring kids -- and adults together. One would think that an open play space and a couple of children with their guardians needing a bit of fresh air and exercise are the perfect ingredients for a fine day.

Not necessarily. Needless to say, these five kinds of parents you will likely meet in the playground make play time more interesting.

The Distracted

You’ve seen them around: the moms and dads and grannies of kids who always seem to be getting lost, skinning their knees, or bullying other kids. While other adults rush to comfort and aid them, these kids’ own parents are somewhere in the vicinity -- but within their own bubble and completely oblivious to their surroundings. They are either lost in thought or buried in a book, their favorite handheld game, or wallowing in an MP3 playlist, ears blissfully muffled by headphones. Their favorite tool is a smartphone with apps to constantly take their attention away from their kids.

The Gossip

Yup.There are parents who love hanging out at playgrounds not because their kids need to soak up the sun, but to gossip about other guardians. Everyone is fair game for The Gossip; nannies, grannies, single parents, etc. Nobody is too sacred not to have their beans (imagined and otherwise) spilled just for an afternoon of shallow entertainment.

The Gossip could also be related to The Distracted when all that backstabbing results in a neglected kid at the playground. Their favorite tool is the side-eye view to check if the person they’re talking about is within earshot.

The Businessman

Sealing the deal anytime, anywhere, is what The Businessman does. Nothing and no-one can distract him from doing this. If their kid wants to show off on the swing, The Businessman’s auto-response would be: “That’s cute, honey. Now don’t bother mom/dad, I’m Skype-ing with a client.”

Being at the playground also poses an irresistible challenge to The Businessman: networking. Be prepared to have a marketing spiel or a product/service brochure suddenly sprung on you when their kid is around.

Their favorite tool is a laptop to check if that contract has been signed, sealed, and delivered.

The Bodyguard

In stark contrast to The Distracted, The Bodyguard has their eagle eyes trained on their kids all the time. Woe to the child who hesitates for just a fraction of a second at the top of the slide -- the Bodyguard’s kid needs to go down that slide and go down now. With military precision, other kids are hustled, told to keep their distance, and generally harassed for being around their a public playground, no less. Their favorite tool is a pair of binoculars to scrutinize from any distance if their precious child’s personal space is being invaded by another child.

The Coach

A playground parent falling under The Coach category generally regards any space as a venue for circuit training...for their kids. Their lifelong ambition is to have athletic offspring, and any chance they can get their kids to showcase their monkey bars skills just in case a talent scout is around, they will constantly grab. The Coach will not hesitate to use lung power to goad their kids on to more strenuous exercise, even if they’re supposed to be in a place where kids can have fun and be themselves.

Their favorite tool is a megaphone. ‘nuff said.