Nothing irks me more than a parent forcing a screaming child to get painted or when you are trying to paint a child and really give them a special experience, and the parent insists you give them pricing.
I was raised with a lot of manners and I live by the principle treat people as you wish to be treated. Sometimes parents push you to a cliff where you want to remind them that their annoying behavior carries over to their kids and then we all suffer.
I’ll never forget a party I was hired to do. The family rented the entire Chuckie Cheese restaurant on a Saturday. The manager told me they charged $25,000 just to rent the facility and close it to the public for the three hours. The party planner made custom t-shirts, had goody bags at every place setting, and there were over 75 seats set for children and another 75 for adults. There was face painting, balloons, a caricature artist, and even an ice sculpture with the little boys name on it. This was a PaRtY! When I first arrived the little birthday boy said, “I didn’t hire a stupid face painter”. By the way, he was turning 5. I politely told him that I wasn’t a stupid painter, I was the best painter in the world and that I could paint him like Spiderman. He didn’t seem impressed.
Then I had the pleasure of meeting his parents and at that point I realized kids aren’t the A-holes, it’s their parents that make them that way. Long story short, the parents were terrible. Only seven kids showed up to the party. Based on the turnout of guests, it was clear that the birthday family were not people you want to spend your weekend with.
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The parents hired me and I was being paid for a service of face painting, and I wasn’t paid extra to be disrespected or belittled. Should I have walked out? Should I have made a rude comment to the birthday child? My best advice to get pushy parents on your side is to kill them with kindness. Losing your cool, fighting with your customers, and being mean to kids is highly unprofessional.
When a parent hounds me to give them a price or pushes their child to the front of the line, I always smile my brightest and say just give me a few minutes to finish this face and then I can take care of you. When they insist on me giving them a price, I tell them I will send them a special email with pricing as soon as I get home. When a parent holds their child in a vice grip to get face painted… I tell the parent, “The guest in my chair decides what type of face paint they want, and I don’t know how to paint a ‘No, I don’t want my face painted'”.
A good way to deal with parents is to build up several good funny lines that you can say when they treat you unfavorably. Practice those lines with a smile on your face so that you don’t jeopardize future bookings.
Choose your words wisely and don’t hold the actions of a pushy parent against their child. Remember, a child is impressionable and you can be the example they can learn from.