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?

anitasmall Tue 25-Jun-13 18:45:27

Learnandsay,

I think that each parent knows already in Reception, Year 1 what child knows what, who are the High Achievers...

My daughter is very good at maths (not G&T). She is always telling us that the teachers are telling her she is the best in her class from maths.

She is in year one and at winter they wrote a spelling test (100 words by hearing) and another one in spring. So obviously it gives a clear picture to everybody about their abilities. There were children that spelled all the words right, some did not know any.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 25-Jun-13 19:37:37

anitasmall

I totally agree that most dc and parents know what child knows what.

My dd is extremely gifted in music, (so the label said) it has been her culture since birth, but that is another thread.
As soon as they did any music at school dd was shining above the most able dc. It is her talent and everybody knew it.
She has left school now and complete strangers stop us in the street and say how good she is, word gets about and your dc talk. I think it is more important with a G&T child to teach them how to be humble, gracious and thank people for kind words.
It doesn't always come from the teachers sometimes its the dc themselves. The kids at dds old school told me at a parents evening how talented she was, they weren't in her class at all.
If your child is head and shoulders above others it is hard at times, not the blessing some would assume. It can take some getting used to, but if you teach them to be nice and kind, they shouldn't be alienated nor the parents. Its usually the big headed conceited ones, nobody wants to know and who could blame them?

learnandsay Tue 25-Jun-13 21:21:50

Oh, right! My daughter has an interest in Vespasian's building of the Colosseum, the Spanish Armada and likes to play chess. And you'd somehow know all of this how?

Little psychic waves maybe?

simpson Tue 25-Jun-13 21:28:01

Unless she tells her teacher they won't have a clue.

But none of those things are assessed at NC levels (unfortunately for your DD grin).

morethanpotatoprints Tue 25-Jun-13 21:36:06

Simpson

Yes, you are right. if my dds last school hadn't sung in class, learned about musical instruments, had music lessons. Nobody would have known her interests had she not told them. I think most dc talk to their friends about their interests anyway, whether NC assessed or not.
My dds friend won every race at sports day, during P.E was miles in front of everybody, she was beating the best y6 runners when she was y3, you couldn't not notice.

LaQueen Wed 26-Jun-13 13:31:15

Learnandsay if a Mum helps out as a TA in the classroom, then it's very easy for her to access to other children's reading levels, numeracy levels, SATs results...and of course just observing in class, working with the children...seeing who can/can't do what. And, all it takes is for one parent to mention it to another...

I strongly suspect this goes on at our DD's school hmm

anitasmall Wed 26-Jun-13 18:11:08

I moved to this country 8 years ago but still can't get why some parents are not happy about classmates/friends being gifted. I wish in my daughter's class were more talented children. Everybody could benefit.

simpson Wed 26-Jun-13 18:21:42

There are 3 parents in my DD's class who cause the trouble.

Constant sniping about what the other mums are wearing, what their jobs are, being a single parent (me).

They try the divide and rule thing by being nice to you one at a time to try and wheedle any info they can (book levels etc) or befriending my friends to get info out that way shock

Also they used to hover at pick up time and try and eavesdrop on any conversations you might be having with the teacher.

There was a massive fuss kicked off when DD had her own TA for the first term of reception. Although how they found out I do not know, unless their DC told them that my DD was not taught phonics, numeracy or literacy with the rest of the class.

I will never know how some of the info leaked out (no parent helpers in her class) but it has caused no end of trouble tbh and basically bring on yr1 when 90 kids will all be separated into 3 classes rather than being together.

LaQueen Wed 26-Jun-13 18:45:08

anita that's a very sensible attitude.

However, an awful lot of parnets aren't so generous, and would much rather that all children were kept back to the level of their DCs...and, they convince themselves that G&T children are secretly very unhappy, and their pushy parents hot-house them, and prod them with sharp sticks.

lljkk Wed 26-Jun-13 20:48:42

I think that each parent knows already in Reception, Year 1 what child knows what, who are the High Achievers..

I didn't. Not a sausage of an idea. Even after helping out regularly in class. Sometimes I think I must be the most clueless parent on MN.

Then again, DC school does not have weekly reward assemblies for academic achievement which parents are invited to (unlike everyone else?).

It will be interesting when Dd goes to High School, see how she compares to a bigger (and as it happens more affluent) pond. Probably she will end up seeming reasonably ordinary.

ExcuseTypos Wed 26-Jun-13 22:18:43

I work in a year R class. Anything that goes on in a classroom is strictly confidential.

If parents are gaining information whilst being in the classroom, then discussing it with others you should mention it to the HT. It should be treated very seriously.

BrianTheMole Wed 26-Jun-13 22:29:52

How rude of them. If those parent helpers are spreading round confidential information then bloody complain about them. And avoid, you dont need people like that in your life. Anyway, your child is at school for an education, you dont need to be friends with these people. There must be nicer parents there, they cant all be like that. And it sounds like you are taking a laid back approach with your dc anyway, which is great.

Jinsei Wed 26-Jun-13 22:46:05

How awful. I have never seen anything like this at our school, but perhaps that is because the school manages things more carefully. Awards are quite balanced, there are no parents at assemblies and parent volunteers are not allowed to teach in their own children's classes.

I have always followed Laqueen's rule - just don't discuss dd's academic performance with other parents. Ever.

People do seem to know that dd is very bright, and I have recollections of one mum checking dd's reading book in reception when she went for a playdate hmm but no nasty comments whatsoever.

mountainspring Fri 28-Jun-13 23:13:57

Really glad I found this thread cos I've been having real problems since reception with other parents although I don't think my ds is gifted.

Its the usual turning their backs when I join the queue, cold looks and making sure I'm not included in the 'class events'.
I used to dread pick up time and been trying to find another school for two years now. I'd wait until they'd all gone then dash in and get my ds - but got a vicious letter about being 5 - 10 mins late but still better than coping with the parents.

Then it 'infected' the teachers (they have parents working in the office) and everything to do with ds began to be my fault. I asked why wasn't he doing better when he's bright - not aggresively but his average scores were all my bad parenting too.
Ds teacher was having probs with her daughter (mine got a scholarship to good senior school and hers didn't and I think she resented me - they were in the same class at the school) which is understandable but not acceptable to take it out on ds.
Now we just want out - ds showing signs of disturbance for a year now, I can't imagine what been said in his hearing. He has to get a scholarship in yr6 and I'm worried about the kind of ref this school will send out about him.

Its all been a bit of a nightmare - I wish he's never started there although it was wonderful for my dd and I've known them all a long time now. Just shows how a school can be pulled down by one possy of pushy parents - they can do real damage if you don't get out quick.

toomanyfionas Tue 02-Jul-13 10:04:00

To the OP...

What struck me about your post was your reference to your dd's career. She is only 5. So i think that despite your desperation to parent differently to the way you were parented, there is some of it in you (it happens to all of us)

Your dd is 5. Let her be 5 with all the joy and wonder it involves. This is a time for her to enjoy her 'grown upness' by taking on simple tasks around the house (setting the table, helping to bake, making her own bed, folding the towels etc), to enjoy playing with smaller dolls (as opposed to big, baby dolls), to enjoy "space" (maybe in a hut or tent she has created in her room, to discuss the solar system, to notice differences in leaves, to learn more complex songs and simple clapping games. To put on a puppet show. Teach her to weave on a loom or to sew the initial of her name.

This is the beauty of being 5. And as she devours the joy of being little, she strengthens her foundations for a bright future, and for a lasting and loving relationship with you.

mountainspring Fri 05-Jul-13 01:15:16

toomanyfionas - we all need reminding of that sometimes - whats important to 5 yr olds - thanks

figroll Mon 08-Jul-13 22:11:58

I can assure you that this sort of thing just carries on forever! My youngest is 17 and I have a friend who can't bear to even ask how she is getting on just in case she has done better than her daughter. It's pathetic. My dds both passed their 11+ and have both done very well but this 'friend' is always making snide remarks about how clever kids have no personality and are pushed so much they are very unhappy. My dds are thin so she is always telling me how the pressure they are under makes them anorexic. Ffs! My dd2 decided she didn't want to apply to Oxford because she didn't fancy the degree - omg - this friend of mine was in raptures about it, as if to say that I was really getting my comeuppance now. She was soooo happy!

Tbh I think you need to laugh at people like that because they really have got a problem and it isn't your fault. They are jealous, plain and simple, and they put you down to make them feel better. Stay away unless, like me, you can have a good laugh about it.

outofthebox Thu 18-Jul-13 12:24:57

Hi-

Is this anti-boasting thing cultural?? (I am American).

I am proud of my son and his achievements and want my son to feel proud too. The tricky part is to teach him how to do so without eliciting bad fellings from other kids. I have become aware that some parents are very (maybe too) sensitive and feel like by boasting, the mom is really saying "my child is better than yours". And her mother tigress comes out.

From what you are saying, I'd try to switch schools and start over again with a different set of moms. Or doing homeschooling with other G&T moms- that could be the key.

Also, it pays to remind oneself that though a child is G&T one year, they might not be so in the future as other interests are explored and so the child needs to be reminded about this because otherwise they might consider themselves a failure.

Failing that- I keep reminding myself about a friend who graduated from University with a Summa Cum Laude- equivalent to an A+ grade- and yet these grades did not help her one bit and she is not financially successful. In the end, the kids really need to know two things- how to be a good citizen and how to fend for and provide for their futures in a competitive economy. Schools tend to fail in the latter area. Grades really mean very little.

Cheers

OrmirianResurgam Thu 18-Jul-13 12:29:37

Your problem is some remarkably horrible parents. DD is also classed as G&T. Never had anything like that. Mind you, DS2 is a lovely, charming doofus at school and no-one has ever commented on that either. I thnik you need to learn to ignore them, or move schools!

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