The ugly Singaporean parent: pushy, unreasonable, self-entitled

Do Singaporean parents need to rethink their approach when consulting with teachers on discipline matters? (Getty Images)


You've heard of the ugly Singaporean. Now meet its cousin -- the ugly Singaporean parent.

Demanding, unreasonable and self-righteous, this new breed of parents have an overbearing sense of entitlement.

They expect nothing less than the best triple A-care for their child in school, and woe befall any teacher that doesn't match up.

Often displaying a warped sense of what is wrong and right, these pushy parents come down hard on any educator who dares mess with their kid, even if the latter is wrong. 

"Haircut mum" has thrown the spotlight on both the kinds of demands placed upon educators and the sky-high expectations of parents.

To recap, Serene Ong filed a police complaint after a Unity Primary school teacher re-trimmed her boy's S$60 haircut despite several warnings by the school to keep his hair tidy. 

"There is absolute no right or wrong in this matter," said Madam Ong, after her son's case was highlighted by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat at an education seminar recently.

One might say the above example demands a re-look at current school rules and discipline. What, for example, does it matter if a student's hair "covers his ears" or "touches his collar"? But that's for another day.

What's more frightening is the sense of entitlement some parents have.

Consider these. 

A teacher at a government-aided mixed school in the East told Yahoo! Singapore a parent of her Sec 3 pupil tried to pay her extra money to focus more on her son in class.

"When I told her 'no', she said she would complain that I had neglected his progress and ask that he be put in another class," she said.

Another teacher, 37, who has been teaching over a decade, recounted how she had let slip in class that she was a Tampines Junior College alumni.

"The next thing I knew, parents of three girls had written in to the principal to say that I was not fit to teach at the school and they wanted me transferred out,” she said.

“I was so hurt and angry. The parents only want teachers from brand-name schools teaching their brand-name children,” she added.

A former teacher with 27 years' experience shared how a parent had demanded that his daughter be allowed to eat anytime of the day, claiming that she had a gastric problem. He filed a police report against her art teacher and wrote letters to the Prime Minister and senior management at MOE when she was not allowed to eat in the art room.

In a separate instance, she also recounted how a parent volunteer filed a report with the MOE to investigate the school for misappropriating resources when her son didn't receive drinks donated by another parent at a school cross-country run.

So who are these pushy parents exactly?

Several educators we spoke to said they're likely to be university-educated, well-to-do and stay in private housing. 

What kind of society and what kind of human beings are we raising our kids to be?

Our education blogger, Daniel Wong, recently wrote that parents cannot shirk the responsibility of raising their own children and instilling in them the right morals and values.

"Are you an excellent role model for your child? Do you show respect and honour for everyone you interact with, regardless of their social status? Are you always in control of your emotions?"

I couldn't agree more.