Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Trials of the 11-plus Mother


I rest my case. The Chinese Mother may have featured on the Today programme yesterday, but England has Lucy Cavendish (whom I have already noted on this blog worriting away about competitive mothering), coaching her son through the iniquitous 11-plus as if her life depended on it. Which it doesn't. From Chinese Mother to Bexley Mother.

On the one hand at least she's honest. Sort of. But on the other hand, it's the kind of guilt-assuaging honesty that enables her to carry on doing what she's doing: openly manipulating the education system, while pleading necessity.

And by using the rhetoric of self-deprecation, and apparently offering herself up to the court of public approval, by writing about her experiences in the Daily Telegraph, she exercises one more level of manipulation: she can play the victim, so that critics like me look like the bad guys for naming what she's doing.

What price solidarity, eh? Never get between a mother and the education of her children. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tutor.

1 comment:

litlove said...

Those poor, poor children. Whatever must it be like for them? Pass this stupid exam, darling, or watch your mother have a nervous breakdown. What a terrible burden to place on a child's shoulders, when it already has enough competitive nonsense shoved down its throat at school. Oh this whole thing is so upsetting and so wrong! And I loathe the creeping essentialism in the article too. It's my husband who worries more about the exam results than I do. It is NOT okay for women to obsess over their children because their hormones demand it.

I wrote about the Chinese mother on my blog, too. I felt that was sheer provocativeness in the name of book marketing. Somehow this is worse because it's sold as 'what we all do'.