Last evening, my 16 yr old son came home from school and told me, “ Mom, my class teacher called me and a friend separately today to have a word with us. She told us that we are abnormal and different from other kids and that we need to take tuition and get help for our problems and find a solution for our issues.” He said, “She asked us if we were having trouble at home. When we asked her why she was saying all this to us, she said, “No, you guys are abnormal and different from the rest of the kids your age.”

Basically, the teacher had no reason for pulling these 2 kids and talking to them the way she did. Or she was unable to articulate well enough to tell them why she finds them “abnormal and different”.

This very teacher asked another merit student if he was mentally challenged. 

I wonder how this is constructive criticism or mature guidance. These kids are smart, confident and mature for their age. They have qualified for Ted Talk from their school, won MUN (Mock United Nations Conference), and won Gold and bronze medals for their school in the district and zonal level football tournaments. 

The school believes that anyone coming 2nd is not worthy. They respect and need only those students who are No.1 in everything. Before any event or tournament, the participating students are told how unworthy it is to get 2nd or 3rd place. The only valuable position is the top.

Is this where academia is going? Must the kids be subjected to such unwanted pressures and labels, denting their confidence and zeal and the thrill of being a part of something to showcase their talent and gain experience?

As a mother of a regular 16-year-old, I find this ridiculous and preposterous. I do not believe my son needs to be  No.1 in whatever he does. I do not want him to be so position-obsessed that he loses the beauty of life. I want him to know his strengths and weaknesses and accept himself with kindness so he can become the tall person he deserves to be.

This episode has again made me see how very important the role of parenting is, now more than ever. The onus is on positive parenting. It is on the parents to instil strength and confidence in our kids. For us as parents to be there for them and encourage them to be accepting of themselves and others. 

Show them you care: Talk to your kids everyday. 5 mins of your time is also enough to keep the connection going. Kids would know you are always available to talk.

Have ground rules: Establish certain strong rules in the family; Having food only on the dining table. No TV while having food. Time deadlines to be back home from a party. Involving the kids in household chores.

Healthy Boundaries: We can teach kids to have healthy boundaries when we showcase that in our behaviour. Do not micromanage your kids. Help them believe you trust them by giving them the space they need.

Stop Underestimating your child: Help your child understand themselves by helping them unlock their talents. Do not compare them with other kids. They are their unique person.

Give them Character and Personality: Help them understand their dreams and how to pursue them. Remember it is their life, not yours. Correct their faults gently but firmly.

Each parent has their own kind of bond with their child and no way is the right way. It is your bond with your child that helps them believe in themselves, and know they are valued, cared and wanted. Gives them a safe haven to be themselves and grow into their best version.

I know this blog sounds like a rant. But really, all I wanted was a place to vent and share my thoughts. The kind of pressures today’s kids go through, aren’t parents also somewhere responsible for this? Don’t we want to live our ambitions and life through our kids and want them to be the most successful? Don’t we parents sometimes use our successful kids as trophies to be showcased and flaunted around? Have we ever thought about how this must affect their mental, and emotional health and personality?

Your comments and opinions are hugely welcome.

Veena