Involved Parent vs. Creepy Parent

I’ve realized something through the years, both from being a parent and being parented: there’s a fine line between an involved parent and a creepy parent.

Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look comparing the two.

The involved parent will attend PTA meetings, and maybe even be a chairwoman of a committee or two.  The creepy parent will stalk the chairwoman to try to be more like her.

The involved parent knows her children’s friends.  The creepy parent wants to be her children’s only friend.  Even the imaginary one.Involved Parent vs. Creepy Parent (Cloth Diaper Addicts) #parenting

There was one parent that I remember from when I was in high school who just struck me as creepy.  She went to every single band event, even the ones that her daughter wasn’t involved in.  Usually, she went because her daughter’s boyfriend was in them.  She and her daughter would both stare at him with their heads cocked to one side, a soppy smile on their faces, and one hand on the cheek.  It was disturbing to see her mooning over her daughter’s boyfriend like a teenager.  She became the band parent that a lot of us avoided because, well, it just plain seemed really weird.  Otherwise, she was a perfectly nice lady, but the stalking her daughter’s boyfriend’s band events was just odd… especially considering a lot of us had parents who weren’t involved enough to show up to our own band events.

I know that I want to be involved in Norton’s life.  I want to be involved when Andy moves back.  I definitely want to be more involved than my parents were in my childhood and adolescence.  To me, being an involved parent is part of being a good parent.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes with Andy, and his coming back will be a second chance for both of us.  Part of being a good parent, I think, also means knowing that I can’t rewrite the past.

I suspect that’s where the creepy line also comes into play: a good parent knows that there is no do-overs.  A creepy parent will try to rewrite as much as possible, even to the point of lying to herself.  After all, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

There’s one area, though, where I do have to watch myself so that I don’t become the creepy parent: I try so hard to be the perfect parent that it very well could put me in the creeper category.

Where do you think the line between involved and creeper is?

Originally written on August 18, 2010

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /