When your Child gets Less than Outstanding

Readers of my blog know that I have been highly satisfied with my daughter’s schooling at Mother Goose Playschool, so much that I have written an extensive blog post about it, Why I Highly Recommend The Mother Goose Nursery as a Kindergarten for Metro Manila Kids.

I was happy in such that I have paid her annual tuition early and in full, and had shared that she was Outstanding last year, receiving a medal for her performance.

You would be happy to know that she is only Very Good this semester, instead of Outstanding. Out of the 17 students, only one was deemed outstanding, and this one student was not her.

Having been schooled from an early 11 months old, my daughter believes that school is easy, and spends a lot of time sleeping in class.


However, since she is very bright, when you wake up, she knows the answers to the teacher’s questions and graduates every year with flying colors. In a way, early schooling has allowed her to take classes for granted. Last year, she could half-listen to the teacher and get full marks, graduating Outstanding in a class of 12.

Apparently, Junior year is a lot more competitive, and there’s now 17 of them in class. Below is her grade:

Because she is a happy go lucky child, my daughter tends to slack off during sit work and finishes last, even though she already knows the answers. She’s also a bit lazy with her writing and tends to do the minimum vs. her classmates. I am not surprised that she only got Satisfactory for Arts and Writing, which is a fair assessment of her performance at Mother Goose (See? No luto!)

Yesterday, the mommy of the boy who was Outstanding posted this on her Facebook Wall:

She is right to be proud, and I am happy for them both.

But I think this is also a teaching opportunity for my daughter, who has been a happy go lucky student up until now.

Hey, did you see this post about your classmate?” I asked her.

She looked at it and said, “Yes.”

Do you know who he is?” I then asked.

(Name of classmate),” she answered.

(Name of classmate)’s Mommy posted this on Facebook because she is proud that her son is outstanding this semester,” I said. “She is really proud that her son did very well.” 

(Daughter’s Name) was also Outstanding last year but this year, she is not outstanding because she has mistakes on her final exam. So only (Classmate’s Name) is outstanding this semester,” I explained.

So how do you feel about it?” I asked her.

She then stopped, burrowed her head on the pillow and started crying…….. loudly….. with feelings. She had a cold and sniffed and cried.

I record part of the episode here for posterity’s sake. If you feel pity for kids crying, please do not click:

Maybe I am too harsh on her…

In my defense, I did not raise my voice or angrily scold my little girl. All I said was that her classmate got Outstanding while she did not.

Because she got Outstanding last semester, maybe her crying came because of a strong sense of loss of a credit that was supposed to be hers but is no longer hers.

Sure, I have definitely said I was sad. And I also said that the other child’s parents are rightfully proud of their son’s achievements. Maybe I did make her feel less accomplished.

But it does not change the fact that she really is not Outstanding this semester. And if she wants to be outstanding next semester, she should take school more seriously and aim for a better score.

Reality Bites

I think there is no perfect way to parenting. And in this time, I am happy with the adage, “My kid, my rules.”

But I don’t think that kids should be sheltered from the reality of who they are.

If they are Outstanding, heap praises on them and boost their ego.

But if they are less than outstanding, how can you tell them that it is as good as outstanding? Very good and satisfactory are NOT outstanding. If they were, there should be no grading systems and honor rolls in the first place.

Kids are kids yes, and kids must learn to enjoy their youth and play.  A good mother should know how to cut their kids some slack especially with school.


But I do think that a young age is an invaluable opportunity to teach a child about performance and merits. That being rewarded for your achievements is a great thing, while being insecure about your failures push you to be a better person. That’s why I am okay when my child cries when her star gets removed in class.

Sure, who wants to see their kid cry?

Nobody does.

But note that playschool is also a controlled environment with very supportive faculty. It is okay for me that my child experiences disappointment and minor failures in a kindergarten while the stakes are still very low. If she fails in kindergarten, honestly, nobody cares.

However, if I can teach her how to unconsciously fear failure which will result to her studying harder to prevent such negative feelings to repeat in the future, then I think that I have done a very good job as a mom.

Sure, if parents are not there to build the kids up, who else will?

But I do this because I feel that my child is more than what she is, and if I play my cards right, my child will push and be a better version of herself in the future. What’s more, if I do this when they are young, they will be trained to always do their best going forward, which will prevent them from experiencing similar disappointments in the future.

A Word of Caution Though

Yes, I know that it’s a bit Tiger Mom-ish.


I am aware that if I do not do my parenting correctly, and push my kid too hard, this may cause her to have irreversible psychological damage in the future. A lot of kids suicide because of parental and societal pressure, so I gotta make sure I don’t go over the line too much.


Balance is still the key.

Right now, I feel I am doing the right thing. Putting a little controlled pressure on the child will make her stronger and more resilient. If she learns the lesson, my daughter will be better in the future and will be more outstanding in the future.

My gamble is that my daughter will learn and internalize the lesson.

If she learns it, then my teaching is effective. And my daughter will come out better than she’s ever been. If not and she caves, I can always re-adjust and acknowledge that my child is only up to a certain level and to just push her up to that level.

But for now, I will not treat my child with kids gloves.

Outstanding is Outstanding.

Very good is very good.

Satisfactory is satisfactory.

Boosting her ego will not help. Giving her a dose of reality will. And I trust that my daughter is strong enough to take it.


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