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?

lljkk Netherlands Mon 24-Jun-13 08:02:19

So glad DC don't attend a school like that.

simpson England Mon 24-Jun-13 08:06:08

The school is fab, it's just the parents (or some of them) <<sigh>>

Hullygully Mon 24-Jun-13 08:16:35

I moved both my dc, not because there was loads of sniping, but because they were just not included socially as they were seen as "different"

People like people to stay firmly in the herd. Anything slightly different is threatening.

Those people sound utterly vile.

cory Mon 24-Jun-13 09:38:39

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"

Those won't be just for academic achievement though: what most state schools do is to hand out one certificate per week for a pupil who has been particularly good at something that week; helpfulness, working hard at her handwriting, making an extra effort to behave, been kind and helpful to his friend, written a nice story. Teachers make an effort to ensure that every child is rewarded at least once a term.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 24-Jun-13 09:40:15

lljkk, my kid's school has a weekly celebration assembly where children are given awards and it is lovely. Most children get a couple of awards a year for something they have done very well at school, something special they have achieved out of school, reaching key academic milestones such as knowing all the times tables, or something they have worked really hard at. There is also a special kindness award which is rarer and so very highly prized. The celebration assemblies are lovely, with all the children getting a chance for their individual talents to be recognised. My daughter got an award for hula hooping once! The school is generally pretty friendly though, and when I was attending an assembly where the very cleverest boy in my daughter's class got an award, the other children all looked very impressed at his maths ability and spontaneously gave him an enormous round of applause.

I think it makes for a school where everyone can be proud of their own abilities, and so appreciate the different tale.T's if the other children.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 24-Jun-13 09:43:06

Sorry...talents not whatever strange thing my phone wrote.

JakeBullet Mon 24-Jun-13 10:11:10

My son is in a State school which has a weekly Celebration Assembly for the children, he is in Y5 now but it is something the school has always done.

It's crap if parents are sniping because a child is G&T or anything else (been there with regards to SN). It's horrible and I think you are doing really well with your DD.

lljkk Netherlands Mon 24-Jun-13 20:05:12

Do parents attend these celebration assemblies? Are they usually held separately for each class, so one celebration assembly per class per week?

Am thinking you guys must have huge or hugely underused assembly halls. DC school has weekly assemblies and often some awards, only attended by some portion of the school body. Parents not invited; sporadically rewarding mostly behaviour and attendance, not academic achievement, far as I know.

LaQueen Mon 24-Jun-13 21:07:07

DD2 is exceptionally clever. She's been assessed and is in the top 0.01%, nationally.

Luckily, for me another Mum at the school, now a good friend, had an equally clever DD, but further up the school - and she gave me some excellent advice.

Basically, having a genuinely G&T child, is a bit like the rule for Fight Club.

First rule of having a G&T child...you don't talk about the fact they are G&T. Ever.

Second rule of having a G&T child...you don't talk about the fact they are G&T. Ever.

It worked for me...I talk about it on here, sometimes. But IRL only DH, immediate family and a couple of friends know about DD2. There's no need for anyone else to know. And, I don't refer to it, or infer to it, or allude to it...in anyway, shape or form, at the school gates.

Some of the other parents do know, because they help out in the school - and they see the stuff DD2 does, and the things she says in class. But, they're discreet enough to rarely, if ever mention anything to me, because they know I'm not going to really chat about it, except in the most bland, general terms.

simpson England Mon 24-Jun-13 21:26:20

My DC school do an achievement assembly every Friday although reception have only participated in the last few weeks.

One child from each class gets an award, not just for academic achievement but any area their teacher feels they deserve recognition for.

The parents are not invited and its for the whole school (reception - yr6)

LaQ - good rules to follow smile

AlienAttack Mon 24-Jun-13 22:42:10

LaQ I adopt exact same approach. My DD is in y1 and some parents (typically not those I would call friends) have made various attempts to get me to say something. E.g. At end of reception, "I'm delighted with my DC's EYFS scores but I'm sure that little Alien got perfect 9s and even some level 1s?". I've just smiled sweetly and said that the only people I discuss my DD's progress with are my DD, my parents and her teacher. And smile again. The school recognises all children's various achievements but not at assemblies that parents attend.

LaQueen Tue 25-Jun-13 08:41:00

It's always worked for me.

To be honest, because I work part time I don't spend much time at the school gates. But, I just never, ever engage or comment on any conversation to do with reading books/levels/SATs results. Nothing. I just adopt a bland, nod and smile approach and say something innocuous like 'Oh, I have no idea what all these levels, and numbers mean. All pretty confusing and meaningless, I reckon.'

To be honest most parents couldn't give a monkey's. But, there are the few who have clearly heard on the school grapevine about DD2's abilities, and want to try and pry some information out of you, so they can compare their DC's levels. But, I refuse to play their game.

I don't even understand how they all know unless you have a ludicrously competitive set of parents in reception. We had circles squares and triangles and I had no idea which was the top or bottom tbh. If you're not even at the school gates I'm surprised they're so negative (I'm never at school either & it has allowed me to stay well out of any of the competitive stuff that goes on at a milk level in ds3's class). They have awards each week here as well, but they get rotated around the class and are given for things like 'always having a smile on her face' as well as good bits of work.

musicalfamily Tue 25-Jun-13 09:16:10

I don't see what the big deal is with discussing levels to be honest...

I have been asked about my children books levels and have always been open and honest about them at both end of the spectrum. I am quite happy to say that DS2 struggles academically and is still only on book band level 2 but I am happy he is making good progress. I am also happy to say that DD1 hates reading but does well anyway as she is bright and that DS1 devours every book under the sun and has been since Y1.

If people want to bitch about you and/or your child they find a way whether you tell them about which level your child is at or not. That's from my experience anyway...

musicalfamily Tue 25-Jun-13 09:22:12

PS you'll find the odd parent willing to be horrible about a certain child for all sorts of reasons - I have seen this happen with a number of children, (including my own) and it is hardly ever to do with academics. Parents can get very emotional about these things and are excellent at misconstruing stuff. Often they also just decide they don't like a family because their face doesn't fit with their own or their own circle and there is no rational reason for this.

LaQueen Tue 25-Jun-13 09:53:46

saintly at my DD's school quite a few of the Mums help out in the classroom - so word kinda gets around, quite easily.

It only takes one or two Mums, who ares very competetive to deliberately sneak a peak at children's reading levels, or their SATs results, and then sow a few seeds of gossip.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 25-Jun-13 12:09:35

We left school to get away from this sort of thing although the parents weren't snidy but our dd was definitely different.
Being gifted can be a curse as well as a bonus and imo needs to be managed well.
It is difficult though and understanding that some people will comment. they don't always mean to be rude.
if you are constantly being told how talented or gifted your child is it can become very embarrassing especially when it is parents of other children involved in the same activity or subject as your dc.
Maybe it is something you have to get used to, learn to cope, I guess.

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 25-Jun-13 13:41:07

The celebration assemblies ate for the whole school, and any parent who wants can come along, but specific invitations are given to parents of children who will be getting awards. There are around 350 pupils from preschool to Y6, and the school is in a Victorian build with classrooms built around a large hall on each floor.

simpson England Tue 25-Jun-13 14:31:43

The other parents don't know what DD's levels are (I don't even know them all!) but I suspect it started when my other child hurt themselves at school and I got a friend ( or so I thought) to pick DD up from school and I think there was a sneaky peek in the book bag done shock

learnandsay Tue 25-Jun-13 15:06:12

You may (possibly inadvertently) be giving off the impression that you think your daughter is the brightest child in the class. I can't see how you'd have reason to believe this unless you'd tested all the other children. That may have something to do with the situation you and your daughter are finding yourselves in.

LaQueen Tue 25-Jun-13 15:14:18

Yep simpson some very crazed loons competetive parents aren't above sneaking a peek in another child's book-bag, to see what book they're reading, and what numeracy homework they've been given [glares at a certain Mum she knows...]

simpson England Tue 25-Jun-13 16:00:31

But that's the thing LandS - I am not sure if she is, nor do I care....she is very bog standard at numeracy and I am sure there are other kids who can write as well as she does.

One mum did a spread sheet of who has gotten golden book awards then grilled another mother to find out what they looked like so she could design one for her DD shock and this was back in October so not many kids had had them yet anyway.

Unfortunately DD is very vocal "mummy I got another sticker/award/praise pad for doing good work at x" screeched at top volume when she comes out of class blush

learnandsay Tue 25-Jun-13 16:21:26

Sorry, simpson. The reply is to the OP. It just happens to be under yours!

learnandsay Tue 25-Jun-13 16:23:11

She said her daughter was the brightest in the class and I don't know where a mums gets an idea like that. How does a mum begin to know how bright the other children are? The whole idea just doesn't make sense.

simpson England Tue 25-Jun-13 17:04:43

Oh, blush blush

I do see what you mean!

The school have never said she is the brightest in her class (my DD) which is not the type of thing they should be saying anyway.

And even if a child is, others do catch up.

DS was way ahead in his reading in yr1 and especially yr2 but now at the end of yr3 others have caught up.

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