I was having a conversation with some parents outside school when one mother advised us all that she had not been satisfied with her child's progress in primary school, so she had been to see the teacher and made her cry. This mother was evidently proud of the outcome as she sported a wide grin. I, on the other hand, was speechless and looked on as the mother sought approval from the other parents. There was only silence, which I think this mother took for silent endorsement rather than shock or diplomatic, demure disagreement.
At my next meeting with this mother she explained to me how she and her husband had been to see the head a number of times for allowing children to come to school without wearing uniform. Why should she spend hundreds of pounds on uniform when others didn't have to? Sensing that the motive was money and not school standards, I suggested that if she cared so deeply about the other children and school policies, perhaps she should consider being a school governor.
This ended the conversation but left me wondering why these battles were needed - I knew this mother's children were top of the year in maths and science and high achievers in English.
A few weeks later, I had the "luck" to sit opposite this mother and her daughter at a restaurant. The girl was silent and whenever I asked her a question her mother answered for her. I watched in wonder as the mother buttered her 13-year-old daughter's bread because, apparently, she couldn't do it herself.
It appears that in their household, mother rules. As a teacher, I took comfort from the realisation that it can't be just us teachers that this mother is having a go at. As I finished the meal, I also thanked my lucky stars that I'm not a teacher at the school her children attend, because I happen to be this mother's brother.
The writer is a primary teacher. Send your worst parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those published will receive #163;50 in MS vouchers.