The meteoric rise of parent WhatsApp groups remains unparalleled. Nearly every parent is on a WhatsApp group intended to discuss important announcements from the school.
Then there are the classes outside of school and there’s plenty to keep track of.
These types of parent support groups then, do help to keep mums and dads updated.
However, these groups also see parents with different mindsets interacting with each other. While some groups function smoothly, there are of course others that will see a bit of friction.
The problem arises in these types of parent support groups when a group of parents gang up on the others.
Call it the Kiasu mindset, if you may, but such acts create a hostile environment. And that’s something this Singapore mum found out the hard way for not being as enthusiastic about school activities as other parents.
Parents Make Mum Feel “Less-Than” On School WhatsApp Group
In a Facebook post, the Singapore mum writes, “I am a working mum. I joined my child’s class WhatsApp group and am overwhelmed. The other parents are so overenthusiastic and make me feel “less-than” for not contributing as much. I feel indirect snides because I am not “as involved”. What should I do?”
Study Room in its response to the mum says:
“You do you. I am not saying those who are enthusiastic about helping out are wrong. Everyone has his/her own priorities.”
“Everyone has his own story and priorities and there should not be any judgement. Some feel it is important to be more involved in school activities. Others spend the time grooming their child outside the school environment. Each to his own.
“I am sure the other parents are not judging you. If they were, then this group is probably too toxic and you are better off without them. We are not in high school and the PSG should not behave as the almighty and need to walk in the shoes of others.
“In any case, we should be at an age where we do not really care about what others think about us because we are confident enough and others’ views should not matter, especially if they are not constructive. If you feel stressed by the WhatsApp group, quit it. It’s okay.
“So, as I said at the beginning, you do you. I am sure you are an excellent parent. There cannot be ONLY ONE way to be involved in your child’s life.”
Mum Finds Support From Other Users
Other users too agreed with the response on the mum’s concern.
One user wrote, “Agree with what you said. I am in the PSG class chats and it is kind of controlled (required by the sch) so that there is no spam or weird messages. I seldom contribute too but I am thankful for the constant updates of required info esp when the notifications came from various apps… class dojo, parents gateway, google classrooms and that X no of kids. Will be good to filter out only the required info and skip the unnecessary ones.”
Another user wrote, “I can relate. I left our parents’ group chat many years ago, but i kept in touch with just 1-2 parents to touch base with what’s happening.”
One user reassured the mum by saying, “Don’t be bothered. Many overly protective parents, plenty of over-reacting ones, just do what you think is best for your child. Not all parents’ groups are healthy.”
Another user commented on her own struggles with such groups, “I agree with u. I am not in any PSG or volunteer group as I work full-time (sometimes it goes to weekends) and I am really stretched for time. Until now, I am still coping with the endless comparison between peers – why this, why that.”
Guidelines For School WhatsApp Group With Parents
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Class WhatsApp groups are a useful way of communicating important announcements and updates to the parents.
It also helps immensely in the case of an emergency, wherein parents can be updated with what’s happening in the classroom.
For the school, it helps save time and effort in notifying each parent.
Moreover, class WhatsApp groups help maintain checks and balances in the school’s performance, encouraging more transparency.
But these are groups are largely unmonitored by the schools and parents have a free hand of running it as they please. This is a problem when the parents are Kiasu and get competitive in the group.
So, in order to avoid such things and maintain decorum, every class WhatsApp group needs to follow a certain set of guidelines that make the space palatable for all.
Here are five guidelines that you can implement in your child’s class WhatsApp group.
- Use the group only to share information likes test dates, homework assignments, important updates on exams, results, and holidays.
- Do not air views or grievances regarding a teacher, parent or child on the WhatsApp group.
- Avoid discussing political views on the group.
- Do not compare test results on the group between children.
- Do not have private conversations with other parents on the WhatsApp group.
- Be courteous when asking for information on the group.
When Should You Leave A School WhatsApp Group?
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- When being in the WhatsApp group is mentally taxing and makes you anxious or increases your stress levels.
- When other parents are toxic, especially when they think they have more control over others.
- You are okay with organising yourself and tracking every school letter and memo about the non-uniform days, school trips, meetings and more.
- When it starts affecting your mental health.
- When the group becomes counter-productive and does everything but share important information.
There’s no right way of being a part of such groups.
While some parents are more hands-on and have more time to contribute to their child’s school and activities, other parents need to balance it out.
That doesn’t make you less of a parent than other people.
Some parents do not even realise the privilege they have when they do not need to work or have a house help to delegate duties to.
Every parent’s journey is different. So do not let their snides bother you.
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