9 Toxic Parent Personalities to Avoid

How to handle these toxic fellow parents at the playground, school, or an event

avoid toxic parent gossips
A parent who loves to gossip is someone you may want to avoid. Fabrice LeRouge/Getty Images

Whether it's on the playground, at school, or at an extracurricular activity like a soccer match or a dance or music recital, chances are you're bound to run into a fellow parent who has a bad case of toxic personality.

What is a toxic fellow parent? It's someone who can make a situation stressful, or leave you and/or your child feeling unhappy, insecure, hurt, and generally negative. Just as being around some uplifting people can make you feel more positive, happy, and energized, encounters with toxic personalities can bring you down.

Here are some common toxic personalities to avoid or try to deal with in a positive but boundary-setting manner when you see them at the playground, school event, or an extracurricular activity.

1. The Creepily Competitive
This type of parent will constantly ask what grade your child got or how many awards she might have received for her extracurricular activities. This parent will talk about how her child achieved this or that, and be more interested in how your child compares to hers than in genuinely caring about you or your kids' interests. If a parent is constantly playing a game of one-upmanship, take a step back and try to steer the conversation to topics like what the kids enjoy about certain activities or school, or completely unrelated topics like news events or favorite books or movies--anything to keep the conversation away from kids' achievements.

2. The Green-Eyed "Your Grass is Greener" Parent
This parent may be creepily competitive, or just always looking around to see what other people have that they want.

Instead of being happy for any success or achievement you or your child might accomplish, this parent--and if their offspring have also adopted this habit--their child, will want it for themselves. Jealous parents and their children are more likely to be spoiled and have affluenza, and are constantly envious and thus never satisfied.

3. The Harshly Judgmental and Critical
These parents will make pronouncements about everything, from what they think about someone's outfit to their opinion about another parent's parenting choices. Whether their judgments stem from an insecurity about the strength of their own beliefs about something or from a need to feel like everyone should think and believe exactly the way they do, these parents tend to make a habit of putting others down. They may try to suck others into their vortex of judgment, and will operate from a position of negativity and extremes rather than understanding and compassion.

4. The Gossip Lover
"Did you hear about...?" "You'll never believe what I heard..." The parent who loves to gossip about others will create division by talking about people in whispers behind other parents' backs. They will relish in the setbacks, mistakes, or misfortunes of others. They will feel energized by talking about other people's private matters and will excitedly share information about others without regard for the feelings of others.

5. The Mean Girl (or Guy) Parent
You've probably heard of so-called "mean girls" who put others down, exclude people, and are generally mean to those they deem not worthy or not popular. Sometimes, this kind of behavior doesn't stop once people graduate from school; "mean girls" or "mean guys" can verbally attack or bully others even after they grow up and become parents themselves. A parent with mean girl or guy tendencies will create a clique and enjoy excluding others. Their pride and self-esteem comes from feeling like they're better than other people.

6. The "Me and My Child First" Narcissist
This is the parent who'll encourage his child to push past the other kids when waiting in a line or who'll demand that his child gets special attention from the teacher or coach. If his child is not in the front row of a school performance, he'll demand an explanation from the teacher. And if his child does something wrong or behaves badly, this parent will likely put the blame on someone else. Good manners, such as being a good sport after losing a game, will not be something this parent practices nor teaches his child.

7. The Yeller
Whether it's at a ball game or any other occasion at which something sets them off, this kind of parent regularly explodes in anger at his or her child or at someone else. This parent will have trouble keeping emotions in check, and will overreact angrily in a situation, making other parents and kids uncomfortable and distressed.

8. The Manipulative Liar
This is the type of parent who might lie and tell you that he can't help out at a school event because he has an injury when he's absolutely healthy. He may rope another parent into doing something he doesn't want to do, or lie to his child's teacher or school administrator to get his way. Guilt or morals won't factor into his manipulations of other people as he lies and cheats to get what he wants.

9. The Drama King or Queen
This type of person will corner you and go on and on about something that she sees as a huge problem for her, or share with you--unasked--the latest drama in her life or her child's life that she thinks everyone should know about. She may blow something small and manageable--such as a minor and passing little conflict between kids in the classroom--out of proportion and make things more difficult for everyone all around.

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