Dear parents: It’s not All About Your Kid. Sincerely, The Rest of the World

I got home about an hour ago from my kids’ dance festival, a great annual school event where every single class gathers in the schoolyard and every kid performs. It’s a fantastic idea. But there seemed to be an unusually high number of people today who decided that it was OK to simply stand in front of everyone else – sitting kids, mostly – to get video while their child was performing.

One class did a dance where the kids stood in two lines and each pair danced down the middle. Well, one parent parked herself directly in front of the line. I wish I were kidding. She was about two feet in front of the kids, just waiting for hers to come dancing down. And of course, hers was one of the last, so she was basically right there for the entire dance. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it.

The obliviousness was epic.

The rest of the time, the view was something like this:

PS11 crowd

We were watching a wall of butts.

I finally asked the wonderful principal to make an announcement about it, and things did seem to get better. I wish I’d said something sooner. I wish more that I didn’t have to.

I came home seething at the incredible insensitivity. This is how our kids learn to behave in a crowd, and what they learned today was that nothing is as important as getting a good view of your kid, and it doesn’t matter if you have to block hundreds of people to do it.

And I’ve been sitting here rewriting and rewriting this post, because my goal is not to throw my kids’ school under the bus. I could complain about the behavior of the parents for pages and pages, but to be fair I’d also have to write thousands of words about what a wonderful place it is. And I’m sure it’s not the only school with parents who behave like this.

So instead, I’ll just leave it at this: Ask yourself if you’re that person, the one saying a big old “f-you” to the group because seeing your kid perform is more important than me seeing mine. And if you’re in charge of a performance, ask yourself if there’s something you can do to prevent this kind of situation. I think next year I’m going to suggest a “paparazzi section,” an area where parents can stand and video without blocking anybody else.

Because apparently I can’t expect the parents to behave on their own.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.


  1. says

    Amy, this is something that is not confined to parents at school. Although, it is likely these same adults who go to other events and feel the need to block out others there too. Really, if you MUST have photos of your child then invest in a better camera with a better lens and stand in the back.

    What’s even better is when they get all ‘Dance Mom’ and stand in front of you doing the moves for their child.

    I have been at events where they have announced that no video or photography is permitted because holding up your cell phone is distracting to those around you, as are the screens on digital cameras. It’s a bummer b/c you don’t get the candid shots to share with the family and (everyone who follows you on FB/Twitter/Tumblr/FourSquare/ETC). Instead, though, you actually get to watch you child in that moment.

    Good for you for saying something not only to the principal but also here. It’s a reminder we all need – not just when it applies to our kids but anything we’re trying to photo/video something that others are wanting to enjoy too.

  2. says

    THANK YOU for saying it!!!!!!!!!!
    I just returned from a week in NYC (at Book Expo) and was appalled at the way some fellow “writers” thought they were so much more important than everybody else! Disgusting behavior beyond measure.

  3. says

    I feel your frustration Amy. Some peoples behaviour around their kids beggars belief. It’s like only their kid exists and/or matters, everyone else is just there to make up the numbers. Well excuse us for breathing the same air! ;-)

  4. Maria says

    Hmmm…reminds me of the time we were watching a night parade at WDW, and while everyone was sitting in the front and the rest of us standing in the back…there were two ladies who decided they needed to stand up in front of all the kids sitting quietly to watch, and take pictures during the entire parade. Ridiculous.

  5. says

    Ha! I can’t wait until graduation. These are the same people who are whooping and screaming during plays and performances. I understand being proud of your kid but this is just rude behavior. There also seems to be a high correlation with acting like a jackass at the school show and not volunteering to help the PTA.

    • says

      @Ann: Dammit, where’s the “like” button?!?

      At my eighth grade graduation I didn’t hear my name called – nobody did – because the crowd was out of control. Towards the beginning of the alphabet the principal was making an attempt to wait for quiet until calling the next name, but by the time he got to the Ts he’d given up. It really sucked, knowing that my family was sitting there politely and most people around them were acting like animals.

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