To think most parents don't really give a crap about this...

(272 Posts)
reaching0ut Tue 20-Apr-21 09:34:51 long as their kid isn't the one being bullied or ostracised? I think at some point when everything is rosy many parents profess to feel this way, but actually they're totally oblivious or thanking their lucky stars that it's not their child coming home in tears, not sleeping, eating and feeling generally worthless and hopeless.

OP’s posts: |
YellowFish1647 Tue 20-Apr-21 09:37:41


And I’d say you can worry about both equally. There’s not a fixed amount of worry.

Pinkyavocado Tue 20-Apr-21 09:39:48

I agree with that. Neither if my teens are academically gifted. They’re good kids though and kind .

On their school reports I always look at the behaviour and effort scores first.

Thatisnotwhatisaid Tue 20-Apr-21 09:42:07

I don’t see why it has to be one or the other. Ideally they’ll do well academically and be caring people...

Sparklingbrook Tue 20-Apr-21 09:42:24

Sometimes MN posters will have you believe that the academic bit is the ONLY thing that matters.
Being kind to other children is not going to get you those qualifications/top paying career.

Plumbear2 Tue 20-Apr-21 09:43:24



And I’d say you can worry about both equally. There’s not a fixed amount of worry.

This. My son's academic achievements are extremely important to.him which makes them important to me. That dosent stop me encouraging him to include everyone but it also dosnt stop me being thankfull that he isn't the lonely child in school.

BlusteryLake Tue 20-Apr-21 09:46:07

I care about both. It's important that my children achieve their potential academically and it is also important that they participate as human beings in their school community. I don't think being a good person comes at the expense of academic achievement.

madmara Tue 20-Apr-21 09:46:28

I'm conflicted on this type of message. Yes, kids should be kind but there is no need to pressure them into being the saviours of every child that might be struggling. It immediately creates an imbalance in the friendship if one child is considered lucky that the other has chose to sit with him at lunch.

Plumbear2 Tue 20-Apr-21 09:52:35


I'm conflicted on this type of message. Yes, kids should be kind but there is no need to pressure them into being the saviours of every child that might be struggling. It immediately creates an imbalance in the friendship if one child is considered lucky that the other has chose to sit with him at lunch.

Exactly this. I was encouraged one of kids to befriend a child. The result was it made my child miserable, he was giving up his playtime for another child to the detriment of his own happiness so I told him he should stop.. Yes I teach care for others but not at the expense of his own wellbeing.

Mypathtriedtokillme Tue 20-Apr-21 09:56:51

My Dd is academically gifted (but still in primary) but we put a higher importance on social skills, kindness, trying as hard as she can and working to achieve and learning how to lose.
If everything is easy then some stage your in for a bit fall.

Being academically gifted can be isolating itself.

BrumBoo Tue 20-Apr-21 09:59:53

My child is academically clever. They also are the child who ends up talking to the dinner ladies as he has difficulty making friends. Guess he can't win either way, give up on being clever as it makes him 'weird' but still be 'weird' anyway and make someone else's child 'miserable' for having to spend a break time with him.

paralysedbyinertia Tue 20-Apr-21 10:07:34

My dd is academically gifted, but I have always told her that I'm far more concerned about how she treats other people than I am about what she can or can't do. It is her kindness and integrity that make me proud, not her academic achievement, which comes easily to her anyway.

I don't expect her to spend all of her time with kids who she doesn't like, but I do expect her to be kind and inclusive, and to call out other kids when they aren't doing likewise.

For a little while in the early years of secondary school, I was that kid sitting on my own. Maybe that has influenced my perspective. However, I would hope that most parents would like their kids to grow up as decent people.

I do feel extremely grateful for the fact that dd has always had lots of friends and that she has never been in that situation of being isolated and alone. That doesn't mean that I don't care about the kids who are.

Aliceandthemarchhare Tue 20-Apr-21 10:09:27


I'm conflicted on this type of message. Yes, kids should be kind but there is no need to pressure them into being the saviours of every child that might be struggling. It immediately creates an imbalance in the friendship if one child is considered lucky that the other has chose to sit with him at lunch.


majesticallyawkward Tue 20-Apr-21 10:09:41

I think the parents own experiences play a big part. I was horrifically bullied in school and it's had a huge impact on my life, I'm very active in encouraging my own DD to be kind and to treat her classmates with kindness. Someone who has never had to worry about that is less likely to have such an awareness IMO and I've seen parents brush off or laugh about their dc being mean or rude as 'kids being kids' when it's actually a really good chance to step in show the children what is acceptable.

Admittedly my DD is in year 1 and there isn't much to worry about academically, she's a bright enough kid and isn't struggling. I'm definitely more concerned with raising a strong, kind person than stressing her out by pushing anything academically or otherwise.

3WildOnes Tue 20-Apr-21 10:15:31

I worry/care about both.
I don't think most children would be purposely ignoring the child sitting on their own, they are probably just too busy talking to/playing with their friends to notice. I often ask my children if there are children who have no one to play with and if so to invite them to join them but they assure me everyone has friends to play with. Possibly this is true, possibly they are oblivious. I am thankful that they enjoy going to school (for the most part) and have lots of friends.
As an adult do you seek out those who you suspect are a bit lonely/friendless and invite them to dinner/coffee/include them on evenings out? Even if yu have nothing in common with them? I can't say that I do unfortunately. I have a solid group of friends and if I know one of them is having a hard time I make an extra effort but I don't tend to seek out new people, neighbours, school mums, co workers, etc.

bunglebee Tue 20-Apr-21 10:16:39

Kindness and empathy is important, but where do you want your new medical treatments and technological breakthroughs to come from if nobody focuses on academics? It's not a zero-sum game. Not everybody has to be or is going to be a future genius, but it's daft to pretend like high academic performance is just some kind of ego game.

Children should never be ostracised or bullied, especially not for shallow reasons, but sometimes they struggle socially because they have poor skills in socialising, and it's not the job of another "saviour" child to fix this or to pity-friend them. As long as they're generally inclusive and not unkind I think that's all that can reasonably be asked of a child.

hamandcgeese Tue 20-Apr-21 10:18:50

I've always tried to include the lonely kid, but actually sometimes that affects you, as in they are hard work and you end up doing something you don't want to. It's a tough one. I'm been the lonely kid and I've been on the edge of big group.

SongSilkTrainspot Tue 20-Apr-21 10:21:57

I always ask my children if children have been kind to them and if they have been kind to children. We explain how important it is that both go hand in hand. How you treat others is of high importance in my household.

I do care about academics as well though. My parents did not, at all. And I'm actually quite clever, so I'm a little bit bitter that I wasn't encouraged. Therefore, as both my children are academic we pay attention to it and encourage it.

SongSilkTrainspot Tue 20-Apr-21 10:25:25

That was badly written from me. I ask if people were kind to my children and then always ask my children if they were kind to others.

Fololomolo Tue 20-Apr-21 10:35:33

The problem is that it is sometimes too much pressure for a young child to be inclusive and befriend someone they don’t really want to play with. My 6 year old befriended a new boy in the class who had no friends. and ended up so stressed himself he developed tics and had anxiety about going to school. The new boy was constantly insisting he played with him and my child was too polite to say no and ended up sad he could no longer play with his old friends. It was also complicated by the child’s mother thinking her son had found a great new friendship and constantly trying to arrange play dates. It was very stressful for us all and took a couple of years to settle down.

Plumbear2 Tue 20-Apr-21 10:40:12

Looking at the link it's designed to guilt trip. Of course I care about my child's academic acheivments, I'm not going to be guilt tripped into thinking otherwise. It's designed to guilt trip us into putting another child's wellbeing before that of our own child. Yes I encourage my child to include others but certainly not to the detriment of his own well being. The link makes it sound like we should always put other kids needs before the academic needs of our own kids. Well I'm sorry but my high school kid needs to study to get the grades he needs for A level and university. I'm not going to be guilt tripped into making him think others needs are more important than his own.

MsTSwift Tue 20-Apr-21 10:41:05

Hmm. The two can clash. A friend of dds developed severe anxiety. I realised eventually that dd was effectively her support worker and was missing lessons and other activities herself 🙄 this was late primary. Dd was actually falling behind academically! . I had to speak to the school in the end. The other mother was being extremely assertive regarding her dds needs which I understand but she gave not one fig about the affect on dd hadn’t occurred to her. School immediately backed us when I raised it and apologised.

Blueuggboots Tue 20-Apr-21 10:45:26

My son is academically gifted but really struggles socially and can be a right royal pain in the arse at times! I know he's not always nice to his friends.
We totally recognise this and do a lot to try and help him be a nicer, kinder kid. We help him think about how he can say things in a kinder way. He's actually really kind but gets so cross about little things that his anger is seen far more than his kind side.
So yes, as a parent I care very much about my child being kind to others.

theleafandnotthetree Tue 20-Apr-21 10:47:28

Always amazes me on these threads how many people have academically gifted or very smart kids. Where do all the parents of perfectly ordinary children congregate, I think I might belong there hmm

deathbyprocrastination Tue 20-Apr-21 10:48:18

I agree that kindness to others should be the priority over academics. But I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive

Also, I agree with @MsTSwift that bringing one's DC up to be overly sensitive to the needs of others can be detrimental to their own wellbeing. As a young adult I was regularly sucked into supporting peers in difficult situations and I'm afraid DD1 is the same. One of her friends has an eating disorder, the other was suicidal last year and, while I'm very proud of her for being so caring about them, I do get concerned about the impact it is having on her.

It's a tricky balance to strike sometimes. And I think we still probably put more pressure on girls to be supportive and caring to everyone around them than we do on boys.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in