It’s the new year, new expectations, a new page in your life. Perhaps this year is the year you are starting a new job, moving into a new house, even getting married.
As for parents, going back to school can be stressful for the whole family — because of Whatsapp groups.
Parent’s Whatsapp groups are meant to ensure better communication for class activities, assignments and student updates. But some parents get it all wrong and abuse it.
I’d be shaking in anticipation on how this Whatsapp group would turn out to be: A much-needed source of support, or just another nightmare?
Coming to my 8th year, I can basically figure out the 9 types of parents that exist and we meet in the class Whatsapp groups.
Trust me, it’s for real!
#1 The Over-Enthusiastic Parents
There’s nothing wrong about being passionate about your child’s education.
What’s wrong is when parents want to have control of the conversation, and ‘hijack’ the Whatsapp group despite the class teacher being the group admin.
In a group of 30 strangers and more, there is always that one parent who wants to be the first to break all school-related news to everyone… even though it has already been emailed to us.
They love to make announcements and reminders, and take pride in this self-appointed role. You can smell the over-enthusiasm when you read messages such as “Don’t forget to remind your kids that …”
If you are wearing the shoes of this kind of parents, just remind yourself, if the teachers has announced it, there’s no need to repeat it.
We can read, and we know how to manage our lives. If we need help, we will ask.
#2 The Oversharing Parents
This type loves social media so much and treats the group like their personal social media platform.
“Thank you Ms Yap for the hug you gave my son. He was so upset this morning until you hugged him and told him to cheer up.”
“Will is so excited for the art class tomorrow, he prepared all the stuff by himself.”
Pic: I doubt you know all the participants in the group.
Imagine reading that in your car, stuck in traffic coming back from work while praying you could make it on time to fetch your child at school. Is it really necessary to share with the group?
We understand that sometimes you would want to share your worries and happiness just so you could get advice for any parents who had had a similar experience.
But you don’t have to show off your homemade vegetarian muffins you’ve made for your kid’s lunchbox… you’ll only make the working parent who doesn’t have time to cook resent you.
#3 The Hyperactive PTA-member Parents
Most parents find excuses not to attend the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings, but there are those who simply can’t wait for the PTA meetings to start.
It seems like they are campaigning to be nominated for the ‘Super Parent’ award as early as the start of the school year!
“Pick me! Pick me!”
I salute their energy.
And yet when it comes towards the second quarter of the year, these parents show their true colours.
They start bragging about all the effort they made (all alone, of course) with no help from others — only in exchange for a “wow! you are so kind, thank you for your great commitment!”
They are there to indirectly let you know how horrible a parent you are for not volunteering and participating in the PTA events.
#4 The Very Very ‘Low-Profile’ Parents
Another type is the ‘Very low-profile parent’ — those who prefer not to respond to anything in the group.
Well, it’s okay not to be too opinionated and just be a great ‘listener’. But that doesn’t mean your participation is not required at all.
In fact, these type of parents can really get on some people nerves especially to those type #3 parents.
Type #4 parents, your input is very much needed, especially when it comes to volunteering, helping out the class teacher, driving the class fund, and contributing for the potluck.
Know when to participate. Trust me, it’s for your own child’s benefit too!
#5 The Just-Ask-The-Group Parents
Type #5 parents love type #1 parents and they definitely make good BFFs in the group.
They’re the type who never bothers to read the messages and asks the same question right after the info has been shared. Sometimes, it’s not even related to the school!
They treat the class Whatsapp group like Google or their personal planner, ‘simply’ posting questions like, “Is tomorrow a school day?”, “When do we need the stuff?”, “Anyone know the best restaurant nearby?” and the list goes on.
Sadly, some of them don’t even know that they are getting on other people’s nerves.
To them, if you don’t know, just ask.
Fact is, it’s not that they don’t know, they just don’t bother to find out for themselves!
#6 The Blame-Everyone-But-Me Parents
Oh my! I always sympathize with the children who are from this type of parents.
Having a parent who thinks that ‘it’s everyone’s fault but me’ would mean their child has no other choice but to be super good and make no mistake at all — or just have to deal with killer looks from everyone who has to shoulder the blame.
To the parents, nothing is good enough for their child’s education, not even the weather!
They would blame the teachers, the school, homework and even the person who discovered algebra!
Nothing is above them and no one is good enough except for their child.
I guess, to overcome this type of parents, we just have to pray for them and wish them luck!
#7 The Sharing-is-Caring Parents
Unlike type #2 (the oversharing parents), these parents would just forward anything and everything to the group.
They don’t care who their audiences are, they don’t care if it’s sensitive issues such as political views and religious beliefs, they don’t bother to check the sources, as long as it’s viral, they will share it.
Trust me, these parents just forward anything under the sun, even before reading the whole content of what they are forwarding.
To them, sharing-is-caring, and in order to share, you just have to forward everything!
Of course, there’s also a group of parents who would just respond to any remarks and even questions with emojis and stickers.
A sad emoticon, a bunch of flowers, two thumbs up and many more.
They believe that pictures speak a thousand words.
That’s how they justify their existence in the group: They are there to share and care.
#8 The Online Seller Parents
They regularly spam the group with messages such as “My son can memorize the multiplication table after taking this magic pill. PM me for details.”
When someone proposes a gift for the teacher who just delivered her baby, she helpfully chimes in with a “this product is good for babies and the teacher would love to have it. We just have to chip in RM50 per person. I have the stock with me now.”
For goodness sakes, a hamper of lotions and oils for RM50 per person in a group of 35? I rest my case!
This parent would also add everyone in the WhatsApp group as a friend on Facebook.
And as a result, your newsfeed is now dominated by bogus claims about weight loss pills and photos about the rewards they earned for their hard work.
#9 The No-Way-Out Parents
Of course, there are a few other parents who wish they could do more and set up the group in the right way.
They have been typing out the messages, wanting to update the wrongly informed details shared by type #1, correct the grammar of type #2, confront type #3 by telling them that they wish they have more time to volunteer, poke type #4 to wake up and be responsive, teach type #5 to use the search bar, shut type #6 off, and kick both type #7 and type #8 off the group.
Most of the time, they won’t succeed posting anything beneficial to the group. The ‘typing..’ mode remains as it is.
They wish they could just leave the group, but that would mean they would miss out the announcement and updates from the class teacher.
Hence, they would resort to just a print screen of the class group conversation and share it among their friends and laugh (ehem!) at the ridiculousness.
I must admit, I am this type of parent! Guilty as charged.
Honestly? Courtesy is the best policy.
It is important for us to learn the basic etiquettes within the group. Here are some tips to ponder upon:
- Avoid discussing sensitive issues involving races, religions, languages and/or politics. Respect each other’s opinion and save yours for yourself.
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Learn to adapt.
- Never criticize others, whether students, parents, or the teachers. If there’s a personal issue, message them privately.
- The group is not your personal psychiatrist for you to dump all your issues. Personal issues are meant for private conversations. Keep it within yourself.
- Courtesy is the best policy. Be courteous.
For a healthy start of school years and for the peace of everyone’s mind, let’s try to be more civilized.
Do you know any of these parents, or are you one of them? Tell us in the comments!
For more articles on going back to school, read: What’s the difference between SJK(C) and SK Schools? and 4 Ways Technology has Replaced Malaysia’s Teachers.