Dealing with other parents.

(69 Posts)
ketesh Wed 12-Jun-13 10:45:00

DD2(5) is gifted as identified by school, although they say she is too young to be tested as she is still in reception. She is the brightest in her class and excels at everything. Everything comes easy to her. I'm a member of Mensa and joined when I was just 10. My mother (whom I no longer talk to) was the embodiment of a Tiger mother. Private tutors, hours of homework, I wasn't allowed to associate with "stupid" friends... and any digression from her rules was met with physical violence. I am educated, but not successful and I am painfully aware that IQ does not denote future success nor happiness. The dismal reality of my relationship with my mother has meant I am very wary of pushing DD2 in any manner. It was an awful upbringing and I just want DD2 to find a profession that makes her love Monday mornings.

However, recently, other mothers of DD2's class mates have been making some really snide remarks, normally within earshot of the children.... "oh look, here comes S, bet she's already completed all her homework and then been made to do some extra?" Or, "I believe in allowing children to be children first rather than forcing them academically, not like 'some' mothers". "Another golden certificate S? Just think of all the fun you could have had if your mummy let you play like a normal child?".

I'm not the only mother of a bright child to suffer at the hands of this group. Another boy who was originally identified as having behavioural problems, seemed to be targeted and there were definite aims to have this boy expelled for being violent. It turns out he was also gifted and just bored. Properly channeled he has become a delightful addition to the class and a firm friend of my daughter.

DD2 is friends with the children of many of these mothers, and I don't want her to be the social pariah that I was (and DD1 who has autism), so my blunt force, dry wit wouldn't go down so well. I was wondering if anyone else experienced this and if so, what they did?

amistillsexy Wed 12-Jun-13 10:53:12

How do the other mothers know that your child is identified as G&T?

None of the parents at my sons' schools know anything about my children's attainments, and I know nothing about their children's attainment.

Nor would I want to.

Also, 'blunt force and dry wit' rarely go down well with people you meet on a regular, but casual basis. Best to stick to smiles and comments on the weather.

Startail Wed 12-Jun-13 11:01:03

I wish I could offer some positive uplifting advice, but I can't.

Two very bright siblings left our school for private (mum returned unwillingly to work to fund it).

One left for a three form entry school where she stood out far less.

One lad stayed the distance due to a socially adept mum senior school teacher mum.

DD2 isn't mega bright, but might have stood out in some years, did ok because she fits in easily and her cohort had 3 other bright DCs.

I'm afraid if they are starting already, I'd seriously start putting her name on any possible waiting lists for other schools.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 12-Jun-13 11:03:22

It sounds as if the parents (if this IS happening), are picking up on something from you. Does your child play? Do you encourage that. Do you boast about certificates, even stealthily? You seem a bit condescending about the upset the little boy caused - if he was hurting children their parents have every right to be upset. How do the parents know your child is apparently 'gifted'?

exexpat Wed 12-Jun-13 11:18:43

Some people do seem to think that if a child is doing well at school, he or she must be being pushed, which obviously - given your childhood experience - you are not doing. But it's hard to know how to dispel that impression without looking like you are boasting about how naturally brilliant your daughter is.

I'd just say smile and ignore, or maybe try to drop subtle things into conversation about your DD's favourite TV programmes/lego obsession or whatever she actually does at home rather than extra homework... Do you have any good friends amongst the mothers that you could have an honest chat with, and who might be able to spread the word that you are not a pushy mother? But unfortunately some people just do seem to dislike anyone whose child could be seen as doing better than theirs.

Do you invite these other children round to play? It may be worth it even if they aren't particular friends of your daughter, to establish the fact that she is quite normal and has a social life. You could also suggest meeting up at soft play or whatever other fun things there are for her age group in your neighbourhood.

But some people just find it hard to believe that there are brighter children than theirs, who are not being hothoused and made miserable by a pushy parent, and are frankly bitchy about it. You may just have to ignore them if they won't change.

ketesh Wed 12-Jun-13 11:29:40

Oh... there's this group system at the school. The children are divided into groups dependent on their ability and assigned a shape, squares, circles, rectangles. Squares are known as the top group. Other parents are actively encouraged to go in to help with reading and word spreads. I found out DD2 was in the top set after some of these mothers because I don't do the school run as my kid gets the bus.

For the remarks such as "play like a normal child" i would be very blunt indeed. Along the lines of "Please don't say things like that in front of my child -he is perfectly 'normal' and it's unacceptable to say that to, or in front of, a child"

In general, never speak about academic prowess, brush off barbed comments about certificates etc with "Oh, everyone's good at something" and refuse to engage with anyone who criticises a child's progress. Paddington Stare and move away.

They do sound particularly horrible, though.

ketesh Wed 12-Jun-13 11:55:43

I don't often go into the school. The only time I do is when DD2 is getting a certificate, I work and have a younger child so I just don't have the time otherwise, DD2 is so proud of her achievements and wants me there. But I can see why this may be seen negatively or even as boasting. People ask why I'm there as it's rare to see me. Most parents go every week to the school assemblies just to see what their kids have been up to during the week. Dd2 doesn't really have any issues with the children, she is a very amicable little girl. She plays with them and they play with us, but even when it seems the mothers are being nice, they still make these remarks. I spent the last 10 years in Spain where my eldest was at school and what happened in school, stayed in school and the parents really didn't give a flying fig who was the best in the class. No one knew.They didn't even have parents evenings. So this whole competition and sniping really puzzles me.

musicalfamily Thu 13-Jun-13 12:00:50

She is the brightest in her class and excels at everything

So if you are hardly ever in school how do you know this? And how do you know she is the brightest in the class? Just because a reception child is in the "top group", it doesn't mean they are the brightest. I speak from experience.

musicalfamily Thu 13-Jun-13 12:12:34

PS for example one of my children started reception unable to read, write or even hold a pencil. He was very behind everyone else. August born boy. I even overheard some parents saying "shame they (meaning their girls) have to be pulled back by some of the younger boys".

At the end of the year the teacher told me that my son was extremely bright and would no doubt be a high flyer. I didn't believe her, he could barely read and write still at that point. She told me "you'll see". He scored 9s across the board apart from reading, writing and maths.

2 years later and her prediction has come completely true. He is not only way ahead academically but it is now apparent that his mind and thirst for knowledge is rather exceptional. His teacher told us that when they started the Tudors he gave a speech on the Tudors in front of the class and apparently he'd gone and researched it in the school library at playtime for months. None of us knew. He is still only 6 years old.

So what I am trying to say is that Reception is a funny year and that there will be other very bright and even gifted children in your daughter's class, you have no way of knowing really. I doubt most parents in my son's class realise how bright he really is, I know my son says his pals call him "clever clogs" but it's all very amicable.

cory Thu 13-Jun-13 12:15:42

It sounds like the school is handling this badly if she is made to stand out from the other children because of constant award ceremonies.

At age 5, there should really be a fairly even distribution of certificates, for helpfulness and hard work as well as for academic achievement (there is always something you can celebrate about each child) and they should be in-school rather than events that you invite your parents to.

It may be that you could also handle it better. It is understandable that your dd wants you there if she has won an award, but it would probably be better for both of you if you could sometimes be seen in other contexts, in other words if you could abstain from the occasional award ceremony to go in and lend a hand at the cake sale instead. Anything that helped you get to know these people as just another ordinary parent. It would also be useful to your dd to see that you value other things about her school and about her than these awards, and that helping out is just as important as being rewarded.

headinhands Italy Thu 13-Jun-13 12:29:26

So its only snide marks from other parents, then just ignore I reckon. Unless you see evidence of these mothers' attitudes affecting your dd just go about your business. You'll be hard pressed if you allow yourself to get worked up about people that don't matter having an opinion of you that you don't agree with. I'd probably just have a chuckle to myself if I were you because you know it's all nonsense.

noisytoys Thu 13-Jun-13 12:42:49

DD became a member of Mensa when she was 3 (cue a Mumsnet flaming) the health visitor noticed she was significantly different to her peers at her 2 year check and referred her to an ed psych for an assessment (I had no idea). She is in reception now and very academic, but she is delayed in other areas - she can't swim, she can't peddle a tricycle / bike or skip. All children develop at different rates at different things. She is given certificates at school but rarely for academic things, more often for attempts at sport etc. the other parents don't say anything to me about her academic achievements because as far as I'm aware they don't know. I certainly don't know (or care) how any other child is doing.

How can you become a member of Mensa at 3? Not flaming but curious.

noisytoys Thu 13-Jun-13 13:17:53

Mensa is everyone in the top 2% of the population regardless of age. Her ed psych report showed she was in the top 0.4% of what was expected on the Welcher IQ test. It's not a big deal and there is no point to a child Mensa membership (other than a shiny plaque on the fireplace)

curlew Thu 13-Jun-13 13:26:04

"She is the brightest in the class and excels at everything" -how do you know?

"Blunt force and dry wit"- how does this manifest itself?

These people could be being ghastly. If so, I would just ignore. However, before you do that, consider two things- be absolutely sure that a) they are actually saying these things and you're not reading between the lines and b) you're not being blunt and dry to the point of offence.

ibizagirl Sat 15-Jun-13 08:02:00

I know how you feel. I had the same thing with dd when she was at primary school. She was on gifted and talented too. Children knew she was very able and were lovely with her and often asked for help. Parents were vile. There was a particular group of 4 who always stayed together and always talked about other people. They ran every parent down of any child that they thought was better than theirs. The four of them were parent governors at the school so i assumed they may have got information about other children from doing that. They used to ignore me if i said "morning" or whatever (not that i was bothered) and say things as i was going past. Just pathetic stuff along the lines of "there are a lot of single parents here on benefits at the moment" (as i was one of them) and "its a shame some children are made to do school stuff all the time. I can't see the point" .Things like that. I helped at the school during dd's time there and to be honest i did know the sort of levels the other children were on. So did dd. She helped children to read etc. I did this too with a child of the horrible parents. I had to write in their reading diary and i got a mouthful one day from one asking "who do you think you are writing in my son's diary. You don't work here. Your'e just a helper. Why should you have a brainy kid?" The teacher came out and went mad at this vile woman. She especially ran down most people as she lived on a private estate and a lot did not etc. I had nothing to do with her all through primary and luckily her ds went to another school with most of the others.

SuperiorCat Sat 15-Jun-13 08:31:32

Wow they sound like particularly nasty people.

Anyone who helps in our school is not allowed to discuss the DCs and anything seen / heard in school is to be remain confidential.

I'd be tempted to express surprise that they are openly discussing confidential info - ie your DCs levels. They may find their "help" no longer needed by the school if you mention their comments to the teacher.

anitasmall Sun 23-Jun-13 07:56:45

My experience is the same. Many parents can't accept that some children are G&T. There are other countries where especially talented children's names are mentioned on school websites under "who we are proud of". We have to learn to be proud of our children's class mates who are exceptional.

Ketesh, be proud of your child and try to mix with like minded parents.

JakeBullet Sun 23-Jun-13 08:24:44

I think any child who stands out as different leaves their parents at risk of this. No matter how much you talk or not about it.

My DS is autistic, he is about three years behind everyone else academically and has struggled socially. I have had the same kind of comments but from a different perspective "what a shame JB's little boy doesn't play with others" then whispers about me working (I worked many hours at that time). Him being an only child, etc.

What I am saying is that "they" will always find something to talk about. And if your child is different then you are more likely to be their topic.

JakeBullet Sun 23-Jun-13 08:25:10

Btw, it sounds like you are dong a fab job OP. smile

lljkk Netherlands Sun 23-Jun-13 11:40:12

Most parents go every week to the school assemblies

The school has weekly award assemblies, to give out certificates, in reception or yr1?! This is NOT a state school, right?

ChazDingle Sun 23-Jun-13 21:26:33

Iljkk- my ds is not at school yet but i've got friends with kids at primary school where they have weekly assemblies where they had out awards and its a state school

simpson England Sun 23-Jun-13 22:36:58

DD is very bright (school have said she is exceptionally gifted) and I don't talk about her abilities to parents at her school.

However, some parents have twigged she is bright and there has been a lot of sniping, "don't talk to Simpson her DD is teachers pet" type comments.

The worst mother's son has started to push DD around in class which is not making things easy.

(She is in reception too btw) and most definately not teachers pet. Yes she has had awards etc but no more than any of the other kids.

My DS is in yr3 and I have never experienced anything like it with him (one competitive mum did a spread sheet of which kids had got golden book award - I kid you not!)

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