When someone doesn't adhere to socially acceptable behavior and fails to recognize appropriate etiquette, she's being rude. While everyone can be rude occasionally, you probably know at least one parent who's regularly rude. Perhaps she doesn't think her child has to wait his turn or she puts other parents down when there's a misunderstanding. Though you don't need to take it upon yourself to cure her rudeness, you can manage how you respond to it by changing how you react.
If a parent is being rude, cutting you down or degrading your child, walk away. If you feel like that's backing down and letting someone walk over you, say something along the lines of, "I don't have to listen to this" or "that's your opinion." You have every right to excuse yourself from a conversation that you consider rude to you or to anyone else, notes Elizabeth Rapoport and Rosalind Wiseman, authors of "Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads." When you do walk away, you're sending the message that you won't put up with rudeness and that you won't take part in discussions that are rude.
Smile and Compliment
When you hear another irritating exclamation of how wonderful another parent's child is, smile nicely, say something complimentary such as "You must be so proud." You don't have to agree, but you don't have to try to one-up the rude parent either. End the conversation with your compliment and excuse yourself. While you don't want to be rude back, notes Cynthia W. Lett, author of "That's So Annoying," you certainly don't have to stand there and politely nod while you listen to an entire rundown of the accomplishments of another parent's child.
Politeness comes in handy for those circumstances when a rude parent thinks her child is more important and deserves more than your child. The parent who allows her child to cut the line at the amusement park or stand up in front of your child at the movies are good examples. While you might want to say something rude in exchange, kill with kindness instead. Politely request, with a "please" of course, that she take her child to the end of the line or have have her child sit down so your child can see the movie. If she doesn't comply, ask an employee to intervene. If that doesn't work, be the bigger person and get in a different line or find somewhere else to sit.
If the rude parent is a member of your circle of friends, distance yourself from her and pass on spending time together. She's not a real friend if she's rude to you regularly. Furthermore, you probably won't be able to change her behavior no matter how hard your try, Rapoport and Wiseman note, so it's better to reduce your interactions with her. Over time, she'll most likely get the message that you don't want to spend time with her. She might even realize why and try harder to be more polite.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images