Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a crazee... RUN!

Judging from the response to my last post, it appears that my experiences with sour grapes and uber competitive parents are not unique. I'm not sure whether to be reassured or appalled! However, I thought a follow-up post was warranted because although I advocate being happy for others' fortunes, in some cases, I actually think it's justifiable NOT to "rejoice" with another parent.

You know the type - the one who upon 2 seconds of running into you, will bombard you with her child's achievements, anything from winning competitions to something as trivial as giving a smart-ass retort to the teacher. This parent doesn't need an excuse to boast about her child, she just needs a platform. So good luck to you if you are the unwitting recipient. I dread meeting such parents, I usually beat a hasty retreat when I see them coming a mile away. And if I'm cornered, the last thing I want to do is openly congratulate her on her child's achievements because well, I'm afraid her ego might get so big she'll explode.

This is not sour grapes, although I'm sure that parent would not agree! The thing about these parents is that they are so blinded by their adoration for their kids that they truly cannot see how obnoxious they are. And when other parents don't share the same enthusiasm, they'll immediately attribute it to jealousy. It's like those terribly annoying contestants on reality tv shows who when booted out, will often say "oh, it's because I'm a threat" or "they're just jealous". Err... no, it's because you were a pain in the butt.

Added to that, sometimes these parents, when relating their kids' achievements, find some way to put down other kids (explicitly or implicitly). Again, I think it boils down to the culture of ugly competitiveness, that we can't just be good, we have to be better than someone else. It's easy to spot these parents, they're the ones who tend to say things like "My kid was the only one in the class who managed to..." or "Other kids at this age can't do xxx but mine can" or as blunt as "Yours got 92? Mine got 93."

These parents are the ones my friend Adeline aptly calls the "crazees". As she says, you can be generous all you want, but no friendship can work if the other party takes you and your kid as a live benchmark to beat. Or any opportunity to diminish other kids to soothe their own insecurities. These crazees take perverse pleasure in the failure of other kids. I believe in celebrating achievement and we have every right to be proud of our kids. But not if we have to belittle other kids in the process. It really isn't a competition!

Once again, kids internalise their parents' thoughts and behaviours. I've found, consistently, that the kids of crazees can be quite insufferable. They're often extremely kiasu, have an inflated sense of self and the EQ of a walnut... just like their parents. Just yesterday, a friend confided in me that her p3 son, who was top in standard last year, is under a lot of stress because many of his classmates are pitting themselves against him. At the last SA1, he was very upset because a boy who scored higher than him for the English paper actually went up to him and said cockily, “Thanks so much! You just gave me 2 extra hours on the computer.” Apparently his mum had used this boy as the benchmark for rewards! How insensitive is that? MAD.

Much as I grumble, this post is unlikely to change anything. The crazees are as persistent and plentiful as teenage acne. My modus operandi is simple - dodge and duck. And if that fails, I'll just go gripe about them to my real friends.

35 comments:

Veronica _L said...

The poor kid...but I think the boy who scored higher meant well. Parents can be so demanding. I just hope that I won't encounter any of these outrageously egoistic people. 'EQ the size of a walnut'! I like that :)

Alcovelet said...

Well said, Monica! These crazees are not only as persistent as acne, they are as ugly. I was so shocked to read the replies to your previous post - there are that many around, and they are obviously shameless in how they inflict themselves on others! I guess I'm not an isolated victim *grin*.

Seriously, I pity the children. What do they know except to take on their mother's hate of others and brittle ego? What chance do they have of forming friendships if they are taught from young that other kids are only moving targets to be overcome or their own self worth is threatened?

In the meanwhile however, it's about self preservation. All Normals should XIAM, big time!

Swan said...

hi monica, i've been reading your blog and commented on your other post a few weeks ago :)
I should know better not to be surprised by how kiasu singaporeans can be, but this is the first time i'm reading about it in such detail and i'm truly appalled by how shameless these parents can be! i'm thankful i don't have to experience this now (yet) since my son's only 2.5yrs and my circle of friends with kids the same age is pretty small (ie. tiny church, tiny school, so not enough competition! ;p) but i really dread the day when i know i would inevitably face such situations. But one thing i didnt understand was why would parents get upset if their kids don't get into GEP? Maybe i'm naive or maybe i have to be in that position to understand it, but to what i know about giftedness, its either you are or you're not, being gifted is not even something you can work to become, and i'm surprised they even have classes to prepare kids for GEP?? is that even possible?? mmm...i have to keep up with what's going on now to prepare myself for the battle in years to come.... :P

Anonymous said...

Mon, you write thought-provoking topics. I try to role-play some of the scenes you have described and it boils down to these crazees have no discretion. Good news should be shared with people with deep relationship first of all, then depends on personality as in whether like-minded. I believe crazees just share with anyone they see and meet, so they earn the infamous crazees title. Now even if relationship is very good, the next validation is if the person is like-minded to appreciate such sharing. Both conditions need to exist, otherwise they are seriously crazees. I like your d&d strategy and probably cause you lesser gray hair than my firing squad attitude, "Come fire at me!" LOL

And I agree with you...such ugliness will rub on the young...have seen real-life examples myself...too much details to share here. LOL

qx

LadyB said...

Count myself lucky, have not met such parents yet. The worst parents I've met are those who are so stingy in returning a smile or just plain rude and arrogant type.
I agree tt many parents r v demanding. Poor kids nowadays under tremendous pressure I will never ever be able to comprehend. A few of my son's classmates, already getting gd results, yet still burst into tears 'cos their parents say they can do better than tt. I cant believe it as the kids are already v top, how much more top you want them to be? So stressful...

monlim said...

Swan: I think many parents consider the GEP the "elite" stream, for lack of a better phrase, so they think it guarantees their child success in school. So although the programme is meant only for gifted kids, which you're right, either you're born with it or you're not, that doesn't stop these parents from trying to get their kids in. And tuition centres jump on the bandwagon to offer prep courses cos it's good money! But Lilian and I think the tests are rigorous enough to sieve out those who are really gifted. I've heard of quite a few kids who went for coaching but can't make it past the second round. All boils down to the kiasu mentality.

monlim said...

QX: LOL@ "Come fire at me!" You so brave lah... I cannot do that, total chicken :P

LadyB said...

I only come to know abt prep classes for GEP this yr thro ur blog. Never know myself so *suan gu*, like living in a no-man land :P. Maybe it's better to don't know so much hahaha have a weak heart...
Btw, I dont think I'll be tt brave like QX too. However, if I'm being cornered, most likely I'll turn into a porcupine hahahha
In Spore, to live a better life, must really try to stay away fr *crowd mentality* (my 2 cents)

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica

I am only glad that I have not met any crazees so far. What do you think; back when we were kids in school, did our parents have to deal with crazees then? Did our education system churn out this generation of crazees? Scary thought.

Enjoyed your post about your friendship with Lilian. Very heart-warming! Thank you for sharing.

LL

Lilian said...

I hope that the mother of the boy with the 2 extra computer hours reads this blog and takes a good look at herself. And your friend's son, really poor thing, wish I could give him a big hug. If only telling him to just ignore these nastees (children of crazees) works. Really hope there's no long-term impact on him.

Today I was just telling Brian again that it doesn't matter how others do, he grins widely and says, that's not really true for PSLE, it does matter how others do! True in a way, cos the T-score just reinforces the feeling of scarcity so prevalent in our society now. So from a young age, our kids are already very aware that they do have to compete for limited places.

The stiff competition is a reality and can't be helped, so it is again up to parents to stress to our kids again and again that all we expect of them is for them to do their best. I guess for some people, this isn't enough, they may even call it a cop-out or loser mentality. For me, all I want my kids to know is that no matter what the outcome, I believe they've done their best and they do not have to beat themselves up over anything.

monlim said...

LadyB: yes, in SG must stay away from crowd mentality to stay sane! Otherwise you'll be kancheong all the time trying to keep up with all the crazees.

LL: I don't think it was so bad back in our time, partly because there was just not so much ready info. Having no internet certainly helps! MOE was certainly not that open then. I remember during PSLE, I still went out, no crazy last minute mugging, it was relatively stress-free. IMO it's a combination of the competitive society we live in, the scarcity mentality, our education system, plus the super kiasu SG parents. Lethal combination LOL!

Lilian: Yalah, MOE definitely contributes to the stress. Things like school rankings just reinforces tendencies of schools to focus on their status than the welfare of the kids. So does the T-score, although I think the T-score is fair cos it balances out kids who take different subjects, esp languages, where the difficulty of papers can differ. But doesn't help the competitive spirit lah.

Maybe we should start a "crazee" and "nastee" resistance group where members focus on bringing up well-adjusted, happy kids and reject kiasu tactics. Then hopefully when they do well in school/life, we can say "see? see?" LOL!!

Anonymous said...

To me, you can't go wrong being competitive, you can only get better. It's the attitude that during and after the competition that I feel one needs to make sure it's under control. I told my gal to never compete with anyone to prove a point, you have nothing to prove to anyone except yourself. When she won, She should feel proud of herself, but NEED NOT show it off. If she fails, she needs to exercise her adversity quotient, deal with the failure positively. She used to be easily upset by others who put her down, but I'm proud of her that she is learning to overcome it.

Take for example, there was this classmate of hers scored 1 mark more than her for one of the English test, this classmate was 'over joy', she went around telling everyone in the class that she scored higher marks than my gal. What my gal did was to go up to her, stretched out her arm and congratulated her. (I told her to do that, always be happy for other people success.)

This same gal was trying to 'attack' my gal again 2 days ago. My gal is going to shave her head bald for the Hair of Hope this coming Sunday. To make her sacrifice more meaningful, since school re-open, she started asking her classmates for support and if they would like to make a small donations for the Children Cancer Foundation. Most of her classmate were very excited, some even form a group and volunteed to be my gal spoke person *so cute*, and they made small donation from their pocket money, from 50cents to a dollar or more. But, this same gal, she took out her purse, digged through it, pulled out a 5cents coin and throw it on the table, telling my gal "ok, I will donate 5cents." The class found the 5cents donation very amusing and they started laughing. My gal just thanked her and asked her to write her name in the form. (I was invited to this gal's house before by her mother, she stays in a 3 storeys semi-de. She is a very bright gal, I do not think she is ignorant to the value of money.) My gal was upset, she felt that this gal was trying to make fun of her. I had to remind my gal again, she should not be affected by the actions of others, more over, 5cents is also money, every drop makes an ocean, every donations she collected will benefit someone from the Children Cancer Foundation.

So I think, beside having minimum contact with the crazees, we need to mentally prepare our kids how to deal with the kiasu-children too.

Chris

Swan said...

wow, chris, that was amazing! :) you must be so proud of your daughter for being so magnanimous :)))

monlim said...

Chris: I'm so mad at that girl! I can't believe there are kids who are so insensitive. But your girl shows so much maturity - kudos to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Swan, thanks. She saw the TV advert and determined to go for it after some reading on the Children Cancer Foundation. She asked me to go with her but this coward mummmy only support her with a little donation :-P.

Mon, I was very mad at first too. I could imagine how embrassing my gal must have felt at that point of time. I have the clear mind of throwing the 5cents back at that gal :-P. But, I have to set a good example, so I 'swallowed' the anger *LOL* . It was also a good opportunity for her to experience the negative responds and to learn to deal with her emotional aspect.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Hooray to your girl's courage and a heart of gold, Chris! That girl is obnoxious. I hope the teacher is aware of her obnoxious behaviour and let not her haunt and taunt your girl further when she had her head shaven. tsk tsk.

Sometimes I do not think children are as innocent as our times and all these bad vibes should be nipped in the bud, before it propagates uncontrollably. My child has her fair share of competitive behaviour from nastees.

qx

Penny said...

I love these two posts, Monica! So true and thought-provoking. Some of my parents have told me that other parents who don't have kids studying at my centre always jeer at them when their kids don't score 100% in Maths tests. "What? You mean after spending so much money to send them to Kumon, your kid still didn't get 100% for Maths? My kid doesn't do Kumon but he gets 100%!" I just told these parents to ignore such remarks. It's obvious they are jealous because they cannot afford to send their kids to Kumon so they try to find a way to justify it. Madness!

Penny

LadyB said...

Chris, your girl is so brave to have her hair shaved to support the meaningful proj. She is steady, broad-minded and sincere girl (actions speak louder than words)...way to go!!!
Btw, no pt gets bothered by such an immature, spiteful, and mean girl lah. Conserve energy to better use...not worth to get affected by such *unimpt* person :P

Lilian said...

Chris, bravo to your brave and compassionate girl, you've really brought her up so well. Her heart is in the right place, I don't know many kids who would sacrifice their hair to raise money for others.

As for that spiteful girl, I'm sending her some virtual slaps *smack*slap*smack*slap* Sorry, can't be magnanimous to such nastees.

Alcovelet said...

Chris, bravo to you and your girl. She sounds so remarkably mature and big hearted. It's unfortunate that she has to put up with such nastiness, but I think everyone here can see who the happier and more well adjusted child is.

Qx, kudos to you for being so brave. I can see it's been painful for you.

Ultimately, our kids rely on us for support and shelter from these barbs. I am learning from all of you to make lemonade out of lemons and turn these incidents into teachable moments so that in our weakness, we don't commit the same errors. Thanks to you all for sharing, and to you, Monica, for making this platform possible.

Anonymous said...

qx, ladyB, lilian and Ad, thank you for the sweet compliments. I will cut & paste the compliments and print out. I'm sure she will be very happy to read them!

Mon, I'm sorry to have taken up the comment page to share about my gal. Thank you so much for this platform. I have learnt a great deal from all the wonderful sharing.

Actually, I feel sad for some of her classmates. A few of them went back to their parents hopping to get some support or agreement from them for the donations they made to my gal, but they came back to my gal with negative feedback. One of them told my gal that her mummy said she should only donate after my gal has shaved her head, what if she collected the money and never shave. My gal has been through a lot this week, I have been talking to her everynite since Monday and trying to straighten out the negative comments that she gotten from her classmates & their parents. Beside that, I have also prepared her what she may have to go through after the shave. You know how unkind some children & parents can be. *sigh*

Chris

monlim said...

Chris: Don't mention it, I'm happy to be a platform for generous kids like your dd! It's a wonderfully brave and compassionate deed she's doing, if other kids can't see the value in it, it reflects on their small-heartedness, not on her. Great job on bringing up such a gem, Chris!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mon, Ad, I am not brave at all la! I am just so immuned..in Hokkien, it's called "Ba already.." LOL. You ladies are kind to see it as courage, some may see it as foolhardy...it's a fine line.. :)

In the same token, Chris, your girl will begin to see now that there will always be 2 or more camps of views in any issue. I tend to lean towards the positive camp cos I cannot influence the negative camp so I build immunity. I really admire her courage as a young girl to be able to do this feat. Not sure if outsiders can donate to her kind act, I am happy to pledge a token to further add to her pot of positive support and diminish the negative one. No words can describe my kudos for her especially when I think that she has to put up with more after the shave.....and she is helping cancerous kids!!!

You can write to Mon's email to get mine, then let me know how to pledge this small token.

Sorry Mon to trouble you.

qx

monlim said...

QX: That's an excellent idea! Chris, I would love to put up a token pledge for your daughter's generous gesture too. If you could email me, perhaps we can get them to you :)

Anonymous said...

Mon & Qx: yes, my gal has learnt so much this week. Beside the negative espect, she is very happy that some of her classmates and parents came to know of Children Cancer Foundation because of her, this showed that her sacrifices does make some awareness to those who have never heard of CCF. She has raised almost $500 in 5 days, there should be more coming tomorrow, a few of my friends and family members are going there to give her support.

Thank you both so much for the kind gesture. This will definitely boots up the reading of her happiness meter. I will email Mon to give the details.

Chris

Lilian said...

Count me in too!

monlim said...

Chris has emailed me the details - anyone who's interested in supporting her daughter's big and wonderful gesture towards helping children with cancer, please email me, I'll forward you the details.

Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

Chris, u didn't tell me abt the the 5ct girl. She is so mean!!! I hv sent u a pm.
On the subject on Friends, I get to know some real friends online! They are the ones who truly rejoice with you and u are not afraid to share with them (don't have to downplay etc for fear of them being sour grapes). I can count them with the fingers on ONE hand only but it's enough for me since I am a hermit by nature anyway. :P
S

Anonymous said...

Qx, Mon, Lilian and S : I, and on behalf of my dd, sincerely thank you for your kind support. I told my gal about it this morning and her face immediately brighten up with a big smile. Her morale was boosted a few notches higher because of encouraging people like you.

She actually looks better without hair, so refreshing! ^_^

Mon, thank you so much for taking time to email out the details. ^_^

Chris

Anonymous said...

RUN is what I did from the crazees. I have a friend who's like that.. she will go on and on about her children's strengths and achievements..and belittle other kids' weaknesses..On top of that, she will boast of the 2 miliiion dollar house her husband just bought and the extensive renovations and the fact that she is a 'tai-tai'..the list goes on.
Usually, I will excuse myself if she calls and I've not attended CNY gatherings at her house for years..
I realise such people have very poor listening skills and are very self-centred...

monlim said...

Chris: Please don't mention it. My little contribution is nothing compared to what your dd is sacrificing. Honestly, I wouldn't be able to do what she's doing! She has a big heart and the parents here can see that, that's why we're happy to give to the worthy cause. Ad and LadyB have asked for the details too :)

Anonymous said...

Ad & ladyB, thank you for your support!! :))

Chris

breve1970 said...

Chris, I would love to contribute too. Count me in, Mon. Thanks.

Will let Han read about Chris' daughter... such a magnanimous little gal. You have brought her up so well, Chris. Kudos to you. I must learn from you.

ann

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann, thanks so much for your contribution! My dd and me greatly appreciate the your support.

Frankly, it was her decision to go for this, I'll be ashamed to claim the merit for it, as it is I feel bad for not backing her up by going together with her, I'm just not brave enuf to receive stares from stangers. ;-P

Chris

breve1970 said...

No problems at all, Chris. You have brought her up well :).

Monica: Thanks for the information.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...