My worst parent - I lit the fuse on warring exes

3rd September 2010 at 01:00

I only discovered Jamie's parents had separated when he made two appointments for parents' evening. "Dad wants to come before 5pm," he said, "and Mum wants to come as late as possible, after six anyway, 'cos she doesn't want to bump into him."

He smirked, writing down the times and then swaggering back to his seat. I wondered whether he was coping well with it all or just putting on a show of coping.

I remembered his parents from last year - young and smartly dressed, a little nervy and very keen that their son should do well. Mrs Poole, in particular, had always kept a close eye on his grades and had always given him lots of help and encouragement. She was going to be disappointed this time, as a love of showing off in front of the girls seemed to have swamped any interest he might have had in literature and I had become concerned about his lack of progress.

Mr Poole was all smiles and sweetness, not worried at all. "He's growing up," he said fondly. "It's his hormones, isn't it? He'll be OK, he's a good lad."

Mrs Poole, who arrived as the caretaker was rattling his keys in the corridor, was a different matter. "So you don't think he's working as hard as he was? When did you notice a change in him? And his behaviour has deteriorated, too? Which day of the week is he worst?"

Trying to lighten the mood, I quipped that we were all worse on Mondays, but then it dawned on me that she was preparing for a battle over her son and I had just given her plenty of ammunition. Clearly, he spent weekends with his father. "I'll kill that man!" she said, and got up to leave. "Thank you very much!"

The writer is an English teacher in Suffolk. Send your worst parent stories to and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.

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