How to Handle the So-Called 'Cool Parent'

Dealing with arrogant disses from "cool parents"? Here's how to handle yourself.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #373

I love the parents who've declared themselves cooler than everyone else due to their over-priced car or family money. You know the ones: they still believe that being president of their college sorority or fraternity carries weight in the real world, let alone as a parent. It's this type of mentality that makes the kids of these so cool (read: unmannerly) parents equally rude. 

And it appears, after receiving many, MANY emails about proper parenting that some couples believe their particular status in the community has afforded them the right to diss others they feel don’t fit their social mold … you know, like bratty teenagers in high school. So before you rack your brain about whether your clothes are good enough, or your kids are worthy of their attention, take line from Jay Z and “brush your shoulder off,” along with following my top three quick and dirty tips for how to handle the "cool parent":

Tip #1: What Is Cool Anyway?

Derek in Jacksonville wrote me about feeling left out of a certain social circle he deemed as the “cool crowd.” I inquired why they are so cool and he replied, “I’m not sure… they just are. It’s like five couples and all the kids play together and don’t let anyone else in.” Again, I replied, “So what makes them cool?” Derek added to his not-so-polished list of cool characteristics, “I can’t put my finger on it, but they only talk to their group and everyone is left out.” At this point of our email exchange, I literally banged my head against my desk in frustration for a grown man to believe that a group of parents are above everyone else because they told others—with their actions—that they were. I realized that handling a diss from this group of parents wasn’t the end of the world, no matter how many times Derek sat by his phone waiting for a call. Whether he defined them as cool or they did, there is no such thing as being “hip” above others when it comes to being an adult. I mean, unless the play group consists of Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Matt Damon, quite frankly we’re all on the same playing field. 

Properly dealing with this type of social circle, where the door is not always open, doesn’t mean you have to keep knocking every day until they answer. See, the biggest mishap parents take when trying to socialize with the “cool parents” is that they keep their perceived sense of “cool” based off their pre-parent life. Being a cool parent is not like being captain of the football team or homecoming queen in high school. We’re all adults, with different ways of being cool, and Derek needs to look deeper into what he wants in a friendship. In fact, I’m close with many adult friends, who, if you put us back in high school or college, I most likely wouldn’t have even seen during the day due to our different lifestyles. But that’s just it: you have to be open to what you witness as genuine, rather than try to squeeze your way into a crowded room of rude personalities. With Derek, it’s proper to forget what you believe to be as “cool” back then, and focus on what you know to be sound and productive now. That’s where friendship is built. After all, just because someone appears to be having the “good life” doesn’t always mean they are. 

Tip #2: The Entitled Crowd

If you’re new to Modern Manners Guy, welcome aboard, and if you’re not, you may know that one thing I find to be ruder than any other characteristic is entitlement. Entitlement is the backbone to every single unmannerly behavior imaginable and it’s the one trait for which I have ZERO patience. From the entitled person who makes the barista wait as they finish their call to the entitled individual who talks down to service people in restaurants to the entitled parent who believes their wealth, job, or spouse's job grants them the right to be a terrible person. I loathe entitlement. Loathe it, I tell you. Apparently, I’m not the only one who hates the entitled. Modern Manners Guy Twitter follower, Jennifer, wasn’t exactly embraced into the cool crowd of parents, a group of corporate heirs whose only sense of work ethic came in bossing around salesclerks at Bloomingdales. She told me that after arriving to a rich suburb outside of Chicago, coming from a middle class suburb in Texas, that the “cool parents” weren’t ready for someone who didn’t carry an AMEX Black Card. She found this frustrating as she and her family tried to get acclimated to their new community. Now, don’t get me wrong, being rich doesn’t mean that you are stuck up or elitist at all—entitlement deals with arrogance and that is something that you cannot make room for in your life.