What would you think about this person?

@writersedge (22579)
United States
January 6, 2012 7:00am CST
A parent comes to see his child perform on stage. He turns his back on the entire auditorium and stands in the doorway. He keeps trying to talk to you. I looked at him, answered succinctly and went back to looking around him at the stage. I watched his child and all the other children perform. He seemed taken aback that I didn't ignore the children, engage in some long discourse with him, and look at him. To me, that was rude and disrespectful to all the children who saw his back throughout the performance. Granted, there were no more seats. But he could have turned around and watched them or at least his child. I felt badly for his child. When his child asks him,"Did you see me? What did you like the best about what I did?" What will the parent say? What do you think? What message do you think that sent to his child and the other children? It's not my place to tell him to turn around, be quiet, and watch your child. I'm waiting for him to complain to the Principal about me. Maybe he'll be smart enough not do that. But I tried to model the proper way to act at a performance. I also had to take my students back to the classroom after they performed so the next performers (class) could go on stage. So it was important that I pay attention. To me, it looked like it wasn't very important to the parent to pay attention at all. What would you think?
4 people like this
13 responses
@francesca5 (1344)
6 Jan 12
you were absolutely right, writersedge, to want to watch the children, rather than talk to the parent. its difficult to know why the parent did what he did, to me it seems dismissive of the poor child, as if he wasn't important enough to watch. though its upsetting to see a parent behaving like that, its a very revealing thing for you as a teacher though, as you can see whether there is a pattern in the father's behaviour, as if the father regularly ignores him he might be withdrawn and shy, or may be attention seeking, so it gives you the opportunity to respond to whatever behaviour the child has developed in response to his father in a different way. though it is only one incident and too much shouldn't be read into it, it gives you the opportunity to understand that child a bit better, which is a present for you, i think. but thats only what i think.
2 people like this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
You are exactly right. I found his child's attention-getting behavior while I was teaching that day quite irritating. But after that, I understood completely. He can't get the attention of the adult in his life. I don't think it's reading too much into it.If he didn't pay attention during the performance, exactly what does it take to get his attention? Poor child. Thirsting for attention and getting ignored. As for the single parent, he needs to join a single's club that has a babysitter and learn to attend to his child. Geesh! I don't know why you have a 7 near your name, I find you quite able to "cut to the chase" and "tell it like it is," but tactfully. I think you're underscored here.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jan 12
Some parents are painfully unaware that they have children, and an obligation to make sure that child is loved. I feel sorry for the child for he will most assuredly grow up craving his fathers attention.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
Oh he craves the attention of all adults now. You should try to teach around this child. But at least now I understand. You're correct. Sad, but true.
1 person likes this
@MaryLynn321 (2680)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I would have said "Shhhh" and pointed to the stage where the children were performing. He could have arrived earlier to get a seat so he could watch, evidently he did not want to see the performance. How rude. If his child asks did you see me and what did you like, he will say, I liked the whole thing, and you were the best. So sad for the child and for what the dad missed out on. No it is not your place to tell him to be quiet or turn around. But, if I was a teacher or someone helping out, that is what I would have done. His chatting only disturbed others from hearing fully what was going on in the performance.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I pretty much 'cut it to the quick,' "Are you my son's aide?" "No,sub." Looked around him at the performance. "Is that his jacket and can I have it?" "Yes, yes." Handed him the jacket without looking at him. In my periferal vision, he looked like he was trying to come up with something else. He starting to speak again and ask something, but the children were getting off the stage and I had to meet them."Got to go." You are correct. He missed a lot. I now understand why this poor child tries to get my attention so hard when I'm teaching. Can you imagine what he must go through with such a parent? I tried not to think for the rest of my day because it just put tears in my eyes. Naybe I'm overjudging him. As a single parent, maybe he feels like he's with kids all day and wants to talk to adults. He should join a single parent group, they have babysitters for children while the adults talk. But still a performance. A chance he'll never get again. Yes, it was all great probably is what he'll say. But if the child panned the audience and was able to see over the footlights, he may come right out and ask why he turned his back on the performance. I got the feeling that this is a pattern of behavior of the parent. Then again I may be overreading into the situation.
2 people like this
• United States
6 Jan 12
Maybe he feels uncomfortable, not sure of what he should do. At least he noticed the jacket. Maybe he was starved for adult conversation or possibly hitting on you. After all he is single right. It is such a shame that he missed everything. Since you help teach the child and see the child is starved for attention what about talking to the head teacher or can you make an appointment to talk to the father about the child and the situation. I don't think you are judging him to harshly, what he did was not acceptable, he basically ignored his child. Hopefully the child could not see past the flood lights. Sounds like you handled it just right.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jan 12
Maybe he was trying to find away to ask how is child was doing in school. Then again if he had paid attention to the performance he would have seen how the child was at least doing in that area.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (117158)
• Boise, Idaho
6 Jan 12
At the first opportunity I would have made comment to the fact that YOU were trying to hear your child preform. I would continue to make it apparent that you were there to see your child, not talk to him. I wonder if he was flirting and more interested in a conquest than his own child. I think he will probably lie to his child and say he did hear them. I think he will not have a very good relationship with his child and pay for it in the future. It is his choice. I doubt other children even noticed. Sad.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Jan 12
I was substitute teaching. I should have made him realize I was there to watch all the children. His child already is attention-getting with adults all the time. But I can understand why now. Sad, very sad.
2 people like this
@celticeagle (117158)
• Boise, Idaho
7 Jan 12
Yes, it is.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
6 Jan 12
Bravo for showing him how he should be acting at a performance...especially that of his child. I have been to a lot of performances that my children have done throughout the years and I have seen alot of parents that have, in my opinion, made their children feel as though what they were doing was unimportant. They demand their child's attention and respect but can't show it long enough to teach it. It really burns me up because I know how important it was for my children that I was proud of them and that I was there for them. I enjoyed their programs and it made them feel good. I think that taking that away from a child is devastating.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Jan 12
Really? You have seen lots of parents like this? Wow! I thought that jerk was from some other planet. How sad that people are getting so self-centered. Like you said, very well, so hyprocitical. Demand attention from their child and not get it. I hope this is not a trend because it's disrespectful and horrible. Disrespectful, not just to the child, but to the other people who are there for their children. Even for me as a sub. I wanted to see the performance.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
7 Jan 12
I have and it's sad. Most of the parents I have seen like that have treated their children's programs as personal social events...talking and wandering around. I tell you what bugs me even more than that was when my children were in sports and there were those parents that screamed at their children and blasted them out because they didn't "play" up to their standards. I hated that and often wanted to pop people in the nose. It wasn't a healthy place for me but if my children were there...I was there.
@Bamboee (645)
• United Arab Emirates
6 Jan 12
hmm.. what if he is a stepfather? What if he is trying to showing the child some kind of negative emotion.. because of certain family problems they are going through at home.. Could be million reasons.. but its not responsible for a parent to do so. it could give out very negative vibes to the child and even affect his personality. i hope the parent is reading this and CHANGES his way!
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I think he's a single parent who is sick of having the children. He probably has to work at home and is a work-a-holic. He needs to join a single parents group that has babysitters. I wish he was reading this, with all my heart. That poor child craves the attention of adults so badly, and from the parents' behavior, I understand why. Poor child.
1 person likes this
@Bamboee (645)
• United Arab Emirates
7 Jan 12
Yes ur right... No child deserves to feel that way.. I hope if there are more parents like that they learn a lesson..
@Cutie18f (9564)
• Philippines
7 Jan 12
Why was he there in the first place? Was he too early in picking up his child? Obviously he wasn't there to watch the performance or presentation of the kids, so he could have gone to another place to wait until the program was over. It seems to me that he is trying to give a message that he didn't care about the program nor the presentation of the kids and that it was not important to him.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Jan 12
Perhaps he was only early to pick up his child. You are correct, he could have waited in the office. Sad that it wasn't important to him. More so that he thought it wouldn't be important to me.
@Aja103654 (5658)
• Philippines
6 Jan 12
argh, maybe he didn't do it on purpose? Maybe he did not realize how important his attention is for the child who is performing onstage? I think you could tell him to look at his child, direct his attention to his child onstage. Hehe, we have to be subtle about the fact that we think he is neglecting his child.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I think he's a single parent who feels stuck with children all day. Then he gets with adults and wants to pay attention to them. But if he ignored the child in a performance, I wonder if he pays attention to the child at all. Yes, tactfully, but I didn't want to say anything that could be held against me later.
1 person likes this
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I think that parent was extremely rude and what you did was the only thing you could do. Of course I wonder if the child would ask those questions, because mine never did. Then again, that is because I am the first to speak up and say what I thought and of course go on and on about how much I like their performance or ask "why didn't you tell me?" That happened my son's last year to do a Christmas program and he did a circle dance. You know me, that is what I did for years, and yet I could never get him to dance with me, yet in that program, imagine my surprise when I saw how well he can dance..
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
How wonderful to see your child do a circle dance and to be so surprised! You're a real parent. Some people said that I should have said, "Oh look, your child is performing." In a nice way. I don't know if that would have worked, but he couldn't say much against me to the principal. What I wanted to do was give him a kick in the shins and say, "Your child is performing, you jerk. What does it take for your child to get your attention?" Explains why this child kept trying to get my attention while I taught and runs over to any adult who enters the classroom. Poor child is trying to get adult attention. If he can't get that parent's attention for a performance, can you imagine the rest of the time? Explains a lot.
2 people like this
• United States
7 Jan 12
Yes, that is sad when a child is ignored like that. I am afraid perhaps I go overboard the other way and give my children too much attention..lol
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Jan 12
You only have them for so many years. Except with this economy, maybe more years.
2 people like this
@louievill (18104)
• Philippines
6 Jan 12
Maybe he should not had been there at all, I think it's basic at least for most people to face somebody who is performing or showing off talents, whether the performers are adults or children and it does not even matter if your own child is there or not, I think this person is exhibiting some kind of abnormal deviant behavior, most of us just don't do that
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
6 Jan 12
I think as a single parent, he just really longs for adults to speak to, but this was not the time or place. Yes, basic respect for performers and audience, no matter what the age, performance, etc is important. He came to pick his child up, but he could have waited in the office for that. If he had no intention of watching, he should have.
1 person likes this
@louievill (18104)
• Philippines
8 Jan 12
yeah I think whatever problems all of us are undergoing ( which is part of life), bringing out what ever the issue is on or when people are performing is not really wise, not unless they are doing a flower power protest song
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
8 Jan 12
Hello writer. I have found over the years that a number of parents only attend these function in order to say they were there. I have been to some where most of the parents are talking not only to their neighbors but to every one around them making it impossible for the parents that actually came to see and hear their kids preform. At one school the superintendent actually ask the parents to not talk during the performance and it worked.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
8 Jan 12
Sad that people were so rude and ignorant that a principal had to talk to them about it. This society is really going downhill. Thanks for your response, I think it's awful that parents go just to say they went. It makes them look like they don't care and you should try to teach the children of parents who the kids think don't care.
@savypat (20247)
• United States
7 Jan 12
On the face of this it doesn't sound very good. But we never know all the things that influence others to do what they do. At lease he could say he was there that is more then many parents can do in these days of heavy demands.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Jan 12
Maybe I'm judging him too harshly, but most people here don't think so. He could have just waited in the office with the other parents who were only there to pick up their children. At over 6 feet tall and with broad shoulders, he certainly, "made a better door than he did a window." Plus why didn't he just turn around and watch? Was he ADHD or ADD or something?
@Hatley (164755)
• Garden Grove, California
7 Jan 12
hi writersedge I get the impression that it is his child but that he thinks of the child as an expense and that he just got divorced from the childs mom and is mad as hell as he has beend made to pay child support and that judging from what you have told us,heis a first class jerk too.I think that his ex wife wou ld say hes paid more attention to his child now than he did all the time we were married and that is just a teeny bit at that, the jerk.See I have made myself a story out of what you saw and wonder if I am guessing right.lol lol.,why is it that dads will turn their backs on their own children seeing they sure did not when fathering them? lol jerk again.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Jan 12
It's possible. I just hope the Father grows up in time. I also hope the child ends up being different from his Dad. Thanks and take care.