By KATE HUNTER
Meet the woman who makes the Tiger Mother look like a pussycat.
Katie Hopkins, star of ‘The Apprentice’ in the U.K. has told the world she engineers her kids’ lives to avoid ‘undesirable’ children.
For example, if Katie’s daughter daughter receives a party invitation from a girl called ‘Charmaine,, that invitation is placed discreetly in the bin instead of proudly on the mantlepiece.
Believing under-performance is contagious, Katie Hopkins steers little India and Poppy away from the slower classmates. There might be something in this, reported the Herald Sun this week:
New research shows clever is contagious, with brain power boosted if you “hang out” with like-minded academic achievers.
Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said parents need to understand their children’s friends have more of an impact on their attitude to study than they think. “You are who you hang out with,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.
“If you have an average kid and they associate with others who love learning and going to school, that will definitely become contagious. Conversely, if you hang out with kids who don’t value school, are disinterested and disrespectful, then you are going to have a difficult time encouraging that child to study and to be interested or be clever.”
Katie Hopkins is taking no chances, as she wrote in The Mail Online:
I have absolutely no intention of letting my two precious daughters get dragged down into the quagmire of underperforming children. So I work hard at targeting the right sort of friends for them.
From the moment they started school, I have kept an ear out for little snippets of information about their classmates. I know who is falling behind and who is clearly not interested in their work or study.
My state primary school doesn’t stream children academically but you don’t need to be a genius to work out who is clever and who, most definitely, is not. For example, hearing that a child has finished their home learning book (we used to call it homework) and asked for another is music to my ears. It means the parents are investing time and trouble in their child’s education.
Get that kid ’round for a play-date STAT!
But it’s not just a smart child Katie’s on the lookout for, it’s a punctual parent.
Similarly, I make a mental note when Poppy and India tell me that a particular child – let’s call him Peter – is always late for school.
If his parents can’t be bothered to get him into class on time, they clearly don’t care about the education of their child – and, worse still, are hindering the learning of others. My girls are as frustrated with this continual tardiness as I am. Is it beyond the wit of a parent to get their child to school on time?
I sort of get this – I like to be on time. It’s a thing. If you’re late every day, you need to review your systems, or get up a bit earlier. But would I say ‘Give that kid a swerve, his parents are slackarses.’ No. I don’t ask my kids about the habits of other families. Andwhat time kids arrive at school isn’t something most kids notice, unless they regularly miss a good spot on the handball court.
This article attracted more than 3000 comments when it was published, the gist of most of them being Katie Hopkins is an insufferable snob raising another generation of insufferable snobs.
It takes some ticker to write a parenting post so provocative, especially online (as Bec Sparrow likes to say, even the criminally insane have internet access) but Katie Hopkins is adamant she’s doing the best for her kids, believing it’s her responsibility to come between her children and those who might drag them down.
I have absolutely no doubt that, as a parent, it is your duty to be proactive. I am merciless about cutting off bad friendships, too. I make excuses not to invite particular children for playdates or sleepovers and I refuse any invitations on my children’s behalf.
I am convinced that my tactics are paying off. Recently I asked India which children she liked to play with.
‘The children who come to school on time and wear proper school uniforms are the nicest and the most fun,’ she told me. ‘If children don’t put any effort in, I don’t want to play with them.’
On the face of it, Katie Hopkins’s article is outrageous – an online grenade thrown to make comments explode. But I wonder if all parents don’t do the same thing, to a lesser degree.
Surely by sending our kids to one school over another it’s as much about the friends they’ll make as the stuff they’ll learn?
My friend Carolyn hooted with laughter when I told her about the Katie Hopkins school of parenting. ‘I love it!’ she said, ‘We all do it, just not so blatantly.’
She goes on to tell me that when her daughter was in pre-school, she would RSVP a polite, ‘No thanks, we’re busy,’ to some a party invitation because, ‘We were never going to be friends with that family anyway. Amy never knew about the invitation, the mum was probably relieved one less lolly bag. Easier all ’round.’
Snobbery goes in all directions. I know people who are as dismissive of Clementines as others are of Britnee-Raes. They go to great lengths to avoid anything, ‘middle class’ as though it might compromise their cool.
Some people won’t let their kids play with unvaccinated children, while antivax families avoid those who move with the mainstream.
When people say their new home is in a ‘great area,’ they mean it’s packed with people just like them.
I admit like my kids to be friends with kids whose parents I like – not because I approve of them or their kids. Pretty sure lots of them disapprove of me (my child is the six year old who sang ‘Thrift Shop’ in the bus on the school excursion to the farm).
Surely it’s human nature to want to choose your kids friends, it’s how ruthlessly you do it that makes the difference.
Is Katie Hopkins the ultimate snob, or just a parent who dares to discuss what everyone’s doing anyway?