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Perplexed by book critics, women share own tales of pushy parents

Original post made on Nov 16, 2011

Despite national headlines drawn to Pleasanton after vicious reactions to "Tales from Swankville," the 40 or so women gathered Monday evening at a Kottinger Ranch home said the book about pushy parents caused them to look in the mirror rather than lash out at the authors.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 6:22 PM

Comments (74)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I attended the event Monday night and I have to say...FINALLY a refreshing change...to actually discuss the issues rather than the authors. Thank You!!!!!!


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Posted by anony
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:13 am

I totally agree with these authors, they publicized what a lot of people perhaps already feel deep down inside but don't want to admit. I have two young children ages 2 (son) and 4 (daughter). I enrolled my son in a basic music class. In the hall, the parents can't seem to contain themselves about discussions on which kids have talent and who will be the next Beethoven...Are you serious?!? They are only 2 and my son (and many other kids in the class) loves just banging out random sounds on the instruments and listening to his teacher play great kids melodies...That is the point of me enrolling him in the class, to appreciate and have fun with music, not to be the next great musician. I actually see some embarrassment from a couple parents faces when their 2 year olds are not paying attention or not playing in the proper tune or form....GIVE YOUR KIDS A BREAK!! Let them be kids for heaven's sake. I am the one actually embarrassed for your embarrassment. Be proud of your kids, don't expect so much and they might actually impress you and make you proud.

My daughter is in her first Ballet class and absolutely loves it, but as I am in the hall watching with other parents, I overhear so many parents talk about the upcoming recital and how "perfect" they want it to be because their friends and family will be watching and filming. OMG perfect ballet expectations at 4 years old!!! Come on parents!!
My daughter is picking up the ballet moves amazingly good, but I would be just as proud if she hardly had a clue about ballet moves...WHY you ask...because after each class she tells me how much FUN she had and how much she likes her teacher because she is so nice and gives hugs and stickers to everyone after class. I will be at the recital of course, with my friends / family, and if my daughter messes up, I could care less about that and more about being proud of her for willingness to stand among her classmates in front of an audience and perform.

I honestly feel that a lot of parents are "helicopters" and need to land and quit hovering over the pressure of their children's successes. Don't ever be embarrassed over our children's mishaps, don't train them like robots. I am in the social field and know this as a statistical fact....There is a higher ratio of therapists and kids on medication due to depression / anxiety, etc in cities like Pleasanton. I think the reason is that we push our kids too much and forget about the fact that they are KIDS. Let's not lose sight of the definition of being a parent is to love and cherish our kids to grow to their own levels of potential and not to what you expect them to be superstars. Too many parents set the bar way too high and they set their kids up for failure and then make the mistake of continuing to push their kids = Therapy = Medication = Depression, etc. Not saying all kids go through therapy, but there are too many kids stressed out over the ridiculous expectations their parents put on them.

My kids are wonderful respectful kids who love others and love life. They seem to have their own hidden talents that I learn through engaging with them and observing them. My son seems to enjoy his toy instruments and my daughter dances a lot so I naturally enrolled them in things I believed they would enjoy. If they succeed, so be it, if not, I would be just as proud of them. Trust me, with love and support your kids will end up being more successful than if you constantly push push push them to their breaking point or hold such high expectations that even a 3.8 GPA wouldn't make you proud.

I was a slightly above average student (3.0 GPA - low standards for this area) and played sports growing up. My parents never pushed me, they supported me and showed me genuine love. They raised me to respect others and to be charitable. I excelled in my adulthood and am now very successful in my life. I never needed therapy or medication, wasn't stressed out growing up. I never felt like I failed my parents if I wasn't the best, because they showed me that didn't matter. In the end, I can recall so many friends all caught up in therapy or just stressed out because their parents expected way too much from them. Don't get me wrong, my parents didn't let me slack off. I didn't watch that much TV, didn't ever have a video game, and I did have lots of expectations from my parents. But these were to always do my best (not their best), be kind and respectful, help others if I could, complete my choirs, see the good in people, and be charitable.

PARENTS: Don't blame these authors for suggesting we all look in the mirror and ask ourselves...Are we proud of pushing our kids to be overextended with activities and must be the best at everything?? Let's let our kids be kids..It will pay off later.


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Posted by THANK YOU!
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:17 am

thank you for speaking out and calling it what it really is! Too bad, I could have given you dozens of stories to add. I am shocked to hear the information my student brings home. In third grade, I drove on a field trip and the row of girls in my back seat discussed who lived in the trac homes behind the wall of R.H. and who lived on East vs. West R.H. Already a pecking order had insued. Kids understand square footage in homes at this young tender age. Did you in third grade? I sure didn't; I shared (shocking!) a room with two other siblings and we didn't have our own bathroom! Many years ago my neighbor shared with me that she witnessed a brand new BMW with a big red ribbon waiting for her student as she exited Foothill H.S. on her 16th birthday. Really? Thanks for speaking out; I will definitely buy this book. Wake Up Pleasanton...it's not all about things, country clubs, and over achievement. They remember what you did with them, not what you bought them. Ask any therapist.


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Posted by Ptown resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

I have not read the book and do not know the author. I was curious but not enough to buy the book so I read the reviews on amazon instead.

For all those who have negative things to say about this book: understand that the more you talk about it, the more people you tell about it, the more the media gets involved.. the more this woman that you do not like will MAKE money.

All you need to do is go to amazon to look at the reviews. It is mostly Ptown residents who have bought and read the book.

If you dislike the book and the author, then the best thing you can do is stop promoting her book because she is making money thanks to you!


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

Thank you Anna & Kathleen for hosting the event. I think so many are "negative" because it touches a nerve. We took our son out of P-town soccer at 4 years old, when the mom's on the team where already upset with kids "running everywhere" or not sitting still on the "rugs". Our son just wanted to have fun, same with little league. We have tried very hard to not allow him to get "over scheduled" and have a realistic approach to life. Even PTA and PUSD have gotten involved with the "Race to Nowhere" movie last year. Kudos to Fried and Ikuma for a very good book. I hope my son is in one of your classes at LPC next year - he says it is a waste of money to go to a 4 year, when your first 2 are taken up with General Ed. classes anyway.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I read the book and genuinely see two sides to this story.

Yes, there are a lot of helicopter parents, taking kids to extra batting practice so they excel at tryouts, hanging out as volunteer coaches to get their kids better positions on the softball field, hiring tutors so the kid aces honors Geometry in 8th grade, music lessons so they make first chair, etc. It can be a bit much and it is tempting to keep up (I've tried a few times). Thankfully I've been checked by my kids when they complain of being overscheduled, took stock of the situation and backed off.

However, many of us moved to Pleasanton precisely because there are so many wonderful opportunities for kids to get involved, and the sports/schools operate at a level which allows them to excel in the things they pursue. My kids have had wonderful experiences here BECAUSE of the activities that are available. Competition can add to the fun, the sense of camaraderie, and the child's confidence.

It is fine to say we shouldn't pressure our kids but the world is a competitive place. If you want your child to forego sports, spend high school years enjoying hanging out with friends and then go to Las Positas, fine, but recognize that they will probably end up working for someone who worked a little harder and went to a better school. Not everyone can or should be a CEO, doctor or lawyer, but if you have a child who wants to achieve at that level, just "having fun" is not enough. They will need to take those tough APs, get mostly A's, participate in activities and take on leadership positions -- this is work and though it is rewarding to the kids who are driven, it does interfere with the fun sometimes.

I think the key is not to back off and let kids just have fun, but to encourage them (yes, even push them sometimes) to pursue and excel in a few areas that they (not we) really care about. That way they build the confidence (born of actual achievements) to go out into the world.


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Posted by THANK YOU
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Dear reasonable:
You are living in a bubble. I know graduates from two great 4 year schools; one is working at MAC makeup counter and one in a car rental place. I'm sure their parents (and they) are still paying off the college tuition loans for their 4 year college education at big name schools. Then I know another graduate of Las Positas who went onto Davis to finish out her degree and actually has a job in her field. Hmmm? Don't be so quick to judge; God forbid if your kids decide to enjoy some of the teen year times and go to Lo Po.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

To me a helicopter parent is not the parent who encourages their to explore a variety of activities for self-discovery, but the parent who swoops in to protect their child from every little risk and failure.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I think the root of this whole problem is twofold:

1. Let's face it-- getting into college these days is ultracompetitive. Look at what's happened with the UCs and CSUs, which, if I'm not mistaken, were intended to serve high school graduates in CA. An in-state high school grad can't even get in anymore unless s/he has a 4.0, or close to it. Hence we get our kids tutors and also signed up for all sorts of activites to make their college apps as appealing as possible. I'm just as guilty as the next person.

2. The affluence of Pleasanton-- we live in the wealthiest midsize city in the USA. We rent limos for our kid's 16th birthdays, we buy our kids BMWs to drive to school. Conspicuous comsumption is the way of life in this town.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

to Thank You -- I never meant that Las Positas is not a valid path for many kids. There are many jobs and kids for which that is a good fit.

However, IF a kid (not the parent) aspires to reach the top of their profession, those places tend to be occupied by people who went to top schools, not the JC or even CSU route. A quick look at the CEOs in our area would show lots of Berkeley and MIT engineers with Harvard and Stanford MBAs. Our kids' doctor went to Stanford and their dentist to USF. These people worked and competed for those spots. If you have a kid who wants to keep those options open, you need to encourage them to excel.

Not every kid goes right into a stellar career (esp. not in this economy), but the kid who went on to Davis understood the value of a quality school on her resume. The inconvenient truth is that the playing field is not equal between an Ivy League and JC/CSU degree.


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Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

"You are living in a bubble. I know graduates from two great 4 year schools; one is working at MAC makeup counter and one in a car rental place. I'm sure their parents (and they) are still paying off the college tuition loans for their 4 year college education at big name schools. Then I know another graduate of Las Positas who went onto Davis to finish out her degree and actually has a job in her field. Hmmm? Don't be so quick to judge; God forbid if your kids decide to enjoy some of the teen year times and go to Lo Po. "

I agree with you. In the end what counts is what you make of your degree, not how you got started.

There are people with degrees from good universities who fail: anyone remembers the UC Berkeley grad responsible for the Tri Valley University fraud? Berkeley grad alright, so what? She chose to fail in life.

Success is a person's choice, regardless of how they get started.

One of our neighbors has a kid who started at Las Positas, went to San Francisco State to finish her bachelor's and then got a so-so job, worked for a couple of years and then negotiated to have her company pay for a master's degree at Stanford. So this girl who chose the JC is now a Stanford graduate.

I will let my kids choose how they want to get started: a JC is fine with me, and an Ivy league school is fine with me, it is their choice. I have always reminded them that success is a personal choice, and that in the end, it does not matter how they get started as long as they have the drive to succeed.


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Posted by Your Opinion is not Worth Sharing
a resident of California Reflections
on Nov 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Dear Reasonable,

I believe you opened up yet another can of worms. These types of opinions should be kept to oneself. Why? Well because it is not in any way proven that you are less likely to succeed should you go the community college route vs. a 4 year college route. In fact I bet that its a 50/50 split. If I listed down all the kids I knew from my sons graduating year, I would say out of the 20 something friends he hung out with which more than 75% went to a 4 year college only 10% of them are now working and on the path to success. The few that went to CC all of them exept one went on to graduate from a 4 year college.




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Posted by Mitch Free
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Reasonable,

Your clueless.

Signed,

UC Davis grad/Las Positas transfer student currently living my dreams.


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Posted by member
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I have to say what a bunch of crap from one of the people mentioned above whom, I have heard from countless parents and students, spends all her time saying how perfect her kids are and how wonderful a teacher she is. I could say a lot more, but she is a striking example of what is wrong with Pleasanton.


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Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I hope someone still wants to be a plumber, inventor, hairdresser, electrician, carpenter, etc., or we're in trouble. At $145 an hour for the plumber I recently hired, I think it's worth skipping most of the worthless classes. I speak from experience.
Signed,
Overeducated Adult with Masters

P.S. Our education system needs a complete overhaul, but that's another topic.


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Posted by member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm

That is correct overeducated adult! Wait 'til they go to med school and come out with $300,000 of student loans to pay back and find out that Obamacare has left them with the equivalent of minimum wage and they are screwed forever.


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Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm

The "A" students are managed by the "B" students at companies owned by the "C" students.


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Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

The College Board has positive things to say about community colleges. Read the reasons they give for why it is a good thing to consider a JC:

Web Link

They even give a short list of well to do people who went to a JC.

While not everyone wants to go to a JC and would prefer the traditional 4 year university path, "reasonable" should understand that those who choose a JC to begin their college studies can be just as successful as those who choose the 4 year college path.


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Posted by Another Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I agree with Pleasanton Parent that the problem is two fold. I'll add something else to the mix.

When my daughter was in high school, she asked me the following questions at different times:
Why didn't you make me do competitive gymnastics? (Her choice in 5th grade, could have easily joined earlier)
Why don't you do the paperwork? X's mom is for her. (Go to Las Po for a summer class acting as a high school class. Of the 4 girls she was the only one to attend.)
You should write my essay (for college application). Y's mother did all of hers. [She wrote it and I had a colleague critique it. She revised it.]
And as a freshman in college: Why didn't you make me sign up for AP classes? Taking Z has really helped my load at college. I should have done more.
We had no worries as either of our children started college miles from home. They knew how to create their own plans, make periodic checks to stay on target, how to ask for help locally and, if all else fails, call home. Our son helped steer a few of his friends in college in the direction of passing classes and staying in school. Both have fun. No, they are not the top. Both are performing to their own best. Both have made decisions based on "needs" vs "wants" and have learned that a lower end car is just as good as the status symbols - look for reliability. She can have a car and has decided not to be her sorority house's taxi. She's looking at her options and what her next steps will be. He's on the 5 year CSU track with a job already lined up after graduation.


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Posted by Shannon
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Nov 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I love the book, I am glad the authors created it. I am thrilled they are making money off of it. If people in Ptown relate to it or may see a little of themselves in it. That is not the fault of the author but of yourself. Those haters that didn't speak up when asked about their issues are cowards.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Two things are being left out of the equation.

1. Money plays a lot of influence in success of children, and more so when coupled with;

2. Children of highly educated parents.

And if you want pressure, try living in Palo Alto. We've got Pleasanton beat in every dimension including a soaring high school suicide rate! I applaud this book.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I really wish someone had pushed me. I barely got out of high school with a C average, and it has been a struggle ever since. I spent way to much time hanging out with my friends. I'm pushing 50 now and I know it is not good to dwell on the past, but I often wonder how well I would have done if I had put in more effort starting in elementary school. My parents never checked that I did my homework, and didn't really cause a fuss when I brought home C or even D grades. I went the JC route and got my GPA to a 3.8, went on to get a four year engineering degree with a 3.0 average, and have been employed since, but it was a huge struggle and took a lot of time. Sometimes a bit of pressure can be a good thing.


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Posted by Been There
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

First of all, to Reasonable: It doesn't matter if you go to a CC. It matters where you graduate from! For the most part, but not always,(there are no absolutes)you can transfer from a CC to some very highly selective colleges. And, when you get your B.S. it doesn't say on the degree that you went to a CC for the first 2 years. But....having said that, you need to PUSH YOURSELF!!! If you want to succeed. Average grades and a relaxed attitude will get you...not far.

Now. After I've said that...and after I've put 3 kids through great, expensive schools (ugh)...my hairdresser is 26, owns her own townhouse with a fixed mortgage, is not under-water and has been working hard at her craft ever since she got out of high school. Not one of my kids owns their own home. She worked hard and was mature. And now she thinks she wants her own salon. Great girl! I know kids with engineering degrees and so-so grades who have not-so-great jobs.

The moral of the story...push your kids in the direction of VALUES: hard work, persistence, personal best, personal excellence,frugality, honesty, integrity, staying out of debt. On that note, my uncles took 7 or 8 years to put themselves through college at night, while working full time, with families to support, but incurred no debt (in the days before colleges pushed crappy bank loans on young kids). Then they had amazing jobs and made *a*lot* of money.

Dreams can come true. You just need to do it with the right values in the forefront of your mind.


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Posted by college grad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Pleasanton is so filled with the entitlement mentality that this book should surprise no one. Pushing your kids to work hard is not the same thing as scheduling them for every minute of their lives.
I went to a JC and graduated from a CSU. Worked 7 days a week to get my dream job and bought my first house at age 23. I have been living a wonderful life ever since and it had nothing to do with competetive sports or helicopter parents.
P-town parents need to get over themselves. Your desire for status at any cost will never lead you to a happy life. I drive a 10 year old car, wear clothes that I have owned for even longer and could pay cash for any home in this town. And I was never once pushed by my parents to do anything but work hard at whatever it was that I chose to do.


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Posted by another mom
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:16 am

I don't feel like I have to pressure my high school child to do well. Her peers do it for me. There is so much chatter at the HS (from the students and the teachers) about 'what you need to do' to get into a 'good' school (UCLA or Berkely) that my student is so stressed. PLEASE California... get over yourself. There are plenty of great schools outside this state. Schools where the student/faculty ratio is lower and you don't have to worry about getting the classes you need to graduate in 4 years. The UC/CSU system is NOT the end-all.


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Posted by anony
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:44 am

Great stuff College Grad, sounds like your parents did a wonderful job at keeping you focused on what really matters and that is your own personal happiness and success, NOT THEIRS! You are spot on about the "status at any cost" so many parents live in cities like Pleasanton. They imagine what is best for their kids but deep down I believe they are doing it for their own psychological benefits.

I applaud you college grad, you have proven hard work, focus, and supportive parents lead to success and happiness.

Money and status is not happiness folks. Having 200 friends attend your kids parties is not happiness, it's status. I bet most people can count their "true" friends with one hand. I would much rather host a party for my kids with their true friends and do something small but fantastic than have hundreds of guest whom are hardly known.

Oprah aired a show on 4/20/2011 titled, "Riches to Rags" It's about a hollywood movie director Tom Shadyac who is a multimillionaire. He owned 3 mansions, a private jet, hosted lavish parties, etc. He did some soul searching and realized he was not happy. He did world wide research and learned all living things are deeply embedded to work as a community and not competitively. The lion does not kill 10 deer to prove to other lions he is the best, he only kills what he needs to feed him and his family.

Humans in developed countries are the only ones with competitiveness in their population. These competitors do achieve "status success" but often times at great costs. They have more stress, broken or staged perfect families with kids acting like all is good because they have the status items. This person often is the leader in his field, makes lots of money, but in reality is often times not happy. Look at Steve Jobs, when he learned of his cancer he hired an author to do a biography on him...Why? He admits it was so his kids could know him better!! HOW SAD but often soooo true with these types of people. Very successful on status, have the big house, fancy cars, first class travel...but at what expense?? Your health, you stress, your family?

Well after all his research and soul searching, multimillionaire film director Tom Shadyac sold all his mansions, jet, etc and traded in his "status life" for a simple home, simple ways, etc. He still has millions but instead of hosting lavish parties for people not really his true friends he hosts small intimate parties for his real friends and he gives lots and lots to charity in mostly 3rd world countries. He said his simple life has more meaning and he is now finally HAPPY. He captured this all on a documentary titled, "I am."

I think this is exactly what the authors are trying to convey to everyone that happiness is not status and not being helicopter parents, it's about being supportive parents.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 1:45 am

"Fried also has been asked not to teach the second session of her kid-friendly healthy living class at Walnut Grove Elementary."

I'm curious who asked Ms. Fried not to teach the second session of her class. I can't imagine it's because of disatisfaction with the program (longstanding and popular) If this was not based on her performance but based on someone's reaction to the book as another article I read suggested, that is very wrong. Do we really want a vocal minority dictating what happens in our schools?


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Posted by Jenny
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:07 am

The controversy about this book isn't because people see themselves in the book bit the fact that Siah Fried is not very well liked from parents in her neighborhood and school communities. She creates unnecessary drama and acts as a bully. Don't make opinions unless you know her history; why do you think the other author isn't getting any flack? Learn the whole story my friends!


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Posted by another anon
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

Anonymous-

"Do we really want a vocal minority dictating what happens in our schools?"

No we don't, but it's happening all over town in all areas - sports teams, HOAs, extra-curriculars. Adult bullies in this town think that they get to dictate policy as *they* see fit. It's disgusting. And such a poor example for young people. Bullies beget bullies, after all.

As for people not liking the author? Who cares? You can't tell me the same people would be thrilled if this was an "expose" written by one of the "moms in the mix"?! They don't like her message, what it reveals about them, and it's easier to "shoot the messenger". By trying to portray her as someone awful the spotlight shifts away from highlighting their poor parenting skills. Everyone can see this tactic being played out - duh, it's Psych 101...


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Posted by Dont be a Mean Mom
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

Because the author used real situations in her life----with her view of the world glasses on--it makes this book a bullying tool versus a balanced view.
She's chosen to pick real people apart and portray these issues in a negative light.
We can all choose to be cynical and callous. Sometime it is so much easier than choosing instead to bring joy and light into the world around us.
The author is known for focusing on the negative in people. Mean people stink.


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Posted by Ptown resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

"The controversy about this book isn't because people see themselves in the book bit the fact that Siah Fried is not very well liked from parents in her neighborhood and school communities"

Yet the controversy is what made the book known and is why people are curious and perhaps buying it.

I had no idea that such book existed until I read the article on the PW, but unlike others, I did not buy the book but read reviews instead.

So those neighbors who dislike the author do not realize that by creating controversy, they are only helping the author sell books!

(I read in amazon reviews that in the opinion of the reader, it is a poorly written book and a waste of money, and those who bought it, they say, did so out of curiosity about the controversy)


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Posted by a Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Great to see that people are talking.

As far as achievement goes the pushy parent part only works until the kids are done with school. Then these kids have to get jobs. For the ambitious ones, they will get somewhere. For the kids that were pushed but have no ambition - well they are being and will continue to be supported by their parents.

However, having a degree and being a waiter at a restaurant - well I look at this as being ambitious - heck these are tough times and the kid is out there working. The ambitious ones will find their way.

Yes, our education system is awful. Does not prepare kids for the real world. What we have now is a bunch of over-educated snobs. Will your kid wash your car? Will they cut the grass?

Hair stylists, once they are establish make good money. So do plumbers and machine tool makers. And cabinet finishers and so many other jobs that we parents and the school system has told our kids that these jobs are below them.


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Posted by myNiceKids
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

My 2 cents.
We used to stay in apartments in Pleasanton till recently and we were NOT ashamed about it.
Our kids are now going to Middle and High Schools and they are well adjusted children.
We did not enroll our kids into everything but they are better off focusing on just one thing at a time.
Our kids got a lot of play time even though we did not have a backyard.
We did not have much money to spend on things but we did go out on long drives.
We are poor but we are rich.


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Posted by lazzboy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm

"Let's face it-- getting into college these days is ultracompetitive."

Just curious as to how many people you know that did not get into a college. I have never heard of a student being rejected from every school they applied to (unless they only apply to one). If you say that getting into the Brand Name school is ultracompetitive I would agree. But going to those schools guarantee success, just like going to a less recognized school does not guarantee failure.


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Posted by lazzboy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

"Mean people stink." - By saying this, aren't you doing the same thing? Looking at what you consider mean people in a negative light.


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Posted by lazzboy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

"It matters where you graduate from!"

In the real world it doesn't matter where you graduate from. Yes, some school have reputations in certain areas that might get you in the door, but after that, the college you went to means very little. The worst employee I ever hired graduated from Stanford; my point being that people who graduated from Standford can be as good or as bad of an employee as anyone else.


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Posted by Sue Collins
a resident of Avignon
on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

We are entering a new era... The whole concept of everyone getting a college degree is on the wane.. and I am very glad about this.

Ive got young kids that will graduate high school in 15 years and I really hope things are resolved at that point, because with the way things are now, I doubt that I will reccomend my kids go to college, and I will not put my financial secutiry on the line to secure debt for their education.

I have a degree but I dont believe most people need a degree to do their jobs. I dont think Im alone in thinking this. It made sense for me when my debt on graduation was small, but nowadays it is the size of a house payment. Truthfully, I dont even think I neede a degree. A technical certification would have been fine as what I do is techical. Filling four years with unnecessary education was always known to be unnecessay, but we all tolerated it because the education was cheap and it was a good experience living at college as a young adult. But now the four years of "finding yourself" is not worth the price.

We all overlooked that fact that the emperor had no clothes when college was cheap (and you could finish in 4 years). But with the current situation a lot of people are beginning to see the naked emperor.

Those "occupy wall street" folks are the ones caught in the current trap. They have large amounts of debt (half of more is probably college debt) and they cant get a job, because their degree does not make them stand out from the crowd, as a college degree used to do.

Im not letting my kids fall into this trap, so I hope things get resolved before they leave high school...


Oh.. How does all that tie into the Swankville Book? I guess I see these competitive parents pushing their kids into this sort of debt slavery. Yeah, their parents probably pushed them, but college was cheap back then, and also jobs were plentiful. No matter how many black belts, competitive soccer trophies, and perfect piano recitals you force on your child, you must understand that the world is not what it used to be when you(we) were younger... Theres a better than fair chance that no matter how well they do in sports and acedemics that they will still not be able to achieve that same level of success that you have.

Their college costs will cripple them, they will not be able to buy a house because they will have no downpayment and any home they do buy will not appreciate like yours did. Everyone else has a degree and many of them have 4.0's , just like your kid does. You kid ALSO being a black belt wont matter squat to an employer who is on the verge of outsourcing the whole department to Malaysia. The income your child gets will just cover the school,car,credit cards, and rent... Very little to be saved for a house downpayment...

Anyway.. sorry to ramble.. but things are bad right now. and sorry for sounding selfish, but I hope they get a LOT WORSE.. and QUICKLY... so things will have settled down by the time my kids are reasy to become adults...

I want my kids to go to college, but I dont want them to feel termendous pressure to get top grades or to do sports and activities that they dont like just so they get a placement in a school. I want the stigma associated with no college degree to GO AWAY . It was ALWAYS a bad stigma and very very few people really need college degrees to perform their jobs. I NEED my kids to live close to me..I dont want them to have to move to Mantica because that is the only town they can afford due to ridiculous home prices.

Anwyay.. here's for hoping....

Sue


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Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2011 at 6:38 am

"I have a degree but I dont believe most people need a degree to do their jobs."

You do not need to go to extremes. It is one thing not to pressure your kids, and to be okay with not having them attend a top/expensive university, but it's another to tell them they don't need to go to college! Unless they plan to open a business, they will need a college degree. People do not hire those without one, and people do not go see a dentist that does not have a degree, and lawyers have to have that paper.....

You sound like someone I know who is homeschooling. She believes in "unschooling" - has gone to extremes just like you. Somehow she believes that her kids will learn from their surroundings, without ever having a formal lesson on any subject. Extremes are bad, you know?

Wow! I am surprised someone can go to such extremes. I suppose you are the type who will shelter their kids so much, they will be unable to operate without mommy around. I hope you save enough money to support your non-college educated adults who will for sure be unemployed unless they somehow open their own business and succeed despite their lack of qualifications.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

Not everyone needs a 4 year college degree. There are plenty of professions where what you need is apprenticeships and mentoring. Thing of plumbers, mechanics, professional fishermen, or HVAC repair people, and many more. Even computer people like pc technicians, computer system administrators, and database administrators don't necessarily need 4 year degrees.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

John,

An apprenticeship is still a form of education where one needs to attain a certain level of achievement in order to prove they've completed the work necessary to be certified. Children still need to be encouraged to work towards goals, no matter what the goal is. I think "Been there" has it right:

"The moral of the story...push your kids in the direction of VALUES: hard work, persistence, personal best, personal excellence,frugality, honesty, integrity, staying out of debt."


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Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm

"Not everyone needs a 4 year college degree. There are plenty of professions where what you need is apprenticeships and mentoring. Thing of plumbers, mechanics, professional fishermen, or HVAC repair people, and many more. Even computer people like pc technicians, computer system administrators, and database administrators don't necessarily need 4 year degrees."

If you want your kids to be the underemployed work force, then yes, there will always be some job for them, but those who make it these days have either opened their own business or earned a degree.

Even some jobs that in the past did not require a college degree are now hiring only those with college education. My brother just hired a secretary and yes, he required a college degree and trust me, there were plenty of applicants. My brother did not even bother interviewing those without a college degree.

I also know that a while back, EDS had a big layoff in their customer support group. The ones without that paper were the first one to go, regardless of experience.

It does matter whether you have a college education or not if you are going to either work for a company or practice law/medicine, times have changed.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm

In my experience around the globe I have found that people in competitive societies generally react with envy rather than admiration when someone actually succeeds.

Funny, that.

Mike


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Posted by Sue Collins
a resident of Avignon
on Nov 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm

"Unless they plan to open a business, they will need a college degree."

"Even some jobs that in the past did not require a college degree are now hiring only those with college education. My brother just hired a secretary and yes, he required a college degree and trust me, there were plenty of applicants. My brother did not even bother interviewing those without a college degree"




Yes, thats exactly the type of attitude and social "norm" Im hoping goes away by the time my kids finish high school. Doesnt it make you sad that someone working as a secretary needs to jump through the hoop and waste 4-5 years paying for a degree that they dont need? I dont know exactly how to articulate it, but I hope something "breaks" or "resets" soon so people can earn a living without jumping through hoops that merely satisfy other people so they will "open the doors of a better life" for them...


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 20, 2011 at 12:33 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It's called "education inflation", which is actually a serious problem. When everyone has a college degree, the one-eyed man is king.


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Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:21 am

"Yes, thats exactly the type of attitude and social "norm" Im hoping goes away by the time my kids finish high school. Doesnt it make you sad that someone working as a secretary needs to jump through the hoop and waste 4-5 years paying for a degree that they dont need? I dont know exactly how to articulate it, but I hope something "breaks" or "resets" soon so people can earn a living without jumping through hoops that merely satisfy other people so they will "open the doors of a better life" for them..."

I would not hold my breath on that, Sue. I do not think it will change. If anything, people will need more education, a master's at least is what some companies in the high tech industry require these days (and I am not talking about the low level work).

Going to college is a good way to prove that you are capable of learning and have the desire to get ahead in life. And then there are those who do not need college and instead already know what they want and go for it and succeed: they know how to create a product that will sell and how to get investors on board, etc.

But there is little opportunity for those who do not want to go to college and also lack the skills to know how to be the founder of a successful company, or the owner of a successful restaurant. You get my point.


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Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

"working as a secretary needs to jump through the hoop and waste 4-5 years paying for a degree that they dont need?"

The reason my brother required a college degree is because he needed a competent individual, computer savvy, proficient in reading, writing, etc.

Think about it and high schools these days, at least in California, have such minimum requirements for graduation, that a high school diploma does not mean that the student is truly proficient in reading, math. That is why colleges do not rely on grades but require the SATs. And teachers grade in a way that does not necessarily reflect how much a student knows but whether a student did as he/she was told, went to class every day, etc. And a normally developed student earns a diploma the same as the special ed student. Don't get me wrong please, but when my children were recognized for making the honor roll, we saw students that were in special ed classes who also made the honor roll. Those students did not have the skills that would allow them to make the honor roll in the regular classes but made it in the special ed classes.

Well, colleges do not have special ed classes. You earn your degree the same way whether you are special ed or not (yes, there is help available but not special classes where the concepts learned, and the grades given, are made easier for the special ed population).

That is why my brother required a college degree for the secretary he was hiring, and the many applicants mostly had degrees from not so expensive universities and they were mostly liberal art majors... their degree was probably a fun experience for them and not something they were in debt for.


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Posted by Martinique
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:54 am

Typical right-wing, money-grubbing mentality from most of you who only are able to see college in terms of future job and earning potential.

What about self growth? Personal knowledge? Exposure to philosophies of truth, beauty, justice? Learning that the world is larger than the Bay Area job market? Learning that there are people in the world who in important respects are very different from yourselves and in some other respects very similar?

P-townies can't see beyond college as a high-priced vocational-technical school? It seems the requirements of survival within our capitalist society demand increasingly that we become cardboard cut-outs of human beings.


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Posted by Contrarian
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2011 at 8:40 am

Typical left wing entitlement dribble. Find yourself at all costs mentality, as long as daddy is paying...


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm

You guys are missing the point here: employers are putting the onus on employees to have the skill set they desire. Which means going into heavy debt for the privilege of working for their company.

There used to be a lot more "on-the-job" training of employees. If someone wasn't a perfect fit, a company would spend money to train that individual.

So yes and no: a college-educated candidate is more desirable because of their specialized skill set. But it won't guarantee anything more than a job, and not necessarily a high-paying one at that.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Parkside
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Martinique, what a wonderful bubble your well off parents must have surrounded you in.
In the real world, once your parents stop paying your bills, I bet you can never guess what happens: you have to find a way to support yourself. This usually requires getting a job, unless you live in Oakland, berserkely, or s.f., where the socialists in office will feed you with other peoples money.
So, while your choice of studies might sound altruistic to you, in reality you are setting yourself up for a hard life or a life of total dependence with other people controlling your welfare.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 20, 2011 at 11:25 pm

A college education must provide both breadth and depth; breadth to ensure that the world's heritage is passed along, and depth so that our children are employable.

Mike


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Posted by Martinique
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:00 am

Ah, yes. The employable depth of education. The cardboard cut-outs are out in full force.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Martinique,

Education should include much more, but of what use is the beauty of Shakespeare to the unemployable graduate?

It's irresponsible to go into debt for a degree in English. Only those who can afford it or who are gifted enough to receive a scholarship should be allowed to major in the arts.

Mike




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Posted by Martinique
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Of all the idiotic things you've made up on these threads, this one's got to be the most idiotic yet. As per usual, your fortune cookie wisdom fails you.

Many employers hire not based on major but on how thoughtful and articulate the prospective hire appears to them. English is a wonderful major for one who desires to be thoughtful and articulate. (That is why English majors score better on the Law School Aptitute Test than any other majors.)


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Mike,

If you plan to go on to medical school, law school, or graduate school in literature, going into debt for an English degree can be a sound plan. There are also many dual degree programs where a student can get both vocational and liberal arts training.

Web Link


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

John,

Right, you are - if med, law or grad school is indeed the plan! But I wouldn't put all my eggs in Martinique's basket hoping the interviewer would value an articulate English major over an articulate business major.

Mike


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Posted by Martinique
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Nov 22, 2011 at 12:38 am

You forgot about the "thoughtful" part, Mike. And on that count, the English major is likely to "outdo" the business major hands down. You know, all that deep reflection that comes from dealing with bookkeeping entries; the student ends up living according to fortune cookie wisdom.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 22, 2011 at 1:16 am

Martinique,

English isn't the only major that teaches students to deal with language and thought.

Mike


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Posted by Martinique
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Nov 22, 2011 at 7:21 am

Brilliant comment, Mike. But please recall: you're the one talking about 'restricting' the major to the rich and those who earn a scholarship. That said, for my company I'll take the thoughtful and articulate English major (in other words, the reader) over the business major any day of the week.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 22, 2011 at 8:08 am

Martinique,

And so you should if the English major is an appropriate match for your company's needs.

I hire based on specific skill rather than stereotype; but my business calls for this distinction and yours may not.

Mike


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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Nov 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

"Many employers hire not based on major but on how thoughtful and articulate the prospective hire appears to them" Really? Not so much in Silicon valley, where most of this area's jobs are. Sure, being able to converse is an essential quality, but without some additional skills to go along with that eloquent verbosity, it's just smoke and mirrors. Maybe a career in sales would be a good fit, like the snake oil salesmen you used to hear about. Or a career as a defense lawyer, where you can talk a jury into setting criminals free.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

It's sad but amusing that the email threads and reviews regarding this book rarely mention the fact that morals are thrown out the window. The people portrayed in this book act with out honor and integrety. No one seems to care that the push is to "succeed" at all costs. Honesty and common decency are thrown out the window. This in a community of character.


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Posted by Kent
a resident of The Knolls
on Nov 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Agreed, Anonymous. Everyone seems to spill all over themselves talking about success and how articulate someone is. But thoughtful? No one wants to touch that. Why? They can't - the mark of a morally depraved community.


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Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Last baseball season I had an experience for the first time with what I would call appalling parenting. This father was a baseball "coach" who did push his son until I witnessed his son go crying to his mother and curl up in a ball on her lap refusing to go back and play. This happened on more than one occasion. This father's tone was aggressive and demeaning. His son and only a couple of other kids were the only allowed to pitch, even though many of the boys wanted a chance. It was then a friend of mine said "Welcome to Pleasanton Daddy Ball." The weirdness is palpable. People do judge you based on where you live, what car you drive, your appearance... etc..As an adult I can handle it and laugh at it, but it is when your children are subjected to it in various ways that it is truly a sick culture.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Lisa,

It's not unique to Pleasanton but a universal reality that Little League brings out the absolute worst in fathers.

Mike


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Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Nov 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Kent, the state and the country, on whole, has degraded morally since the late 60's. It's no wonder teen prenancies, rapes, and homicides are much higher now than many years ago. Respect for life in general has degraded, including the unborn. When you have an 'anything goes' attitude, it may allow you freedom to make stupid choices, but it also impacts those around you and how they form their morals, especially the young and impressionable. Parenting is hard and you it's obvious some are better than others at it. That's true all over, not just in "the Knolls".


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Posted by Kent
a resident of The Knolls
on Nov 23, 2011 at 9:31 am

Here's the Village Idiot again, equating thoughtfulness with immorality. Good post, VI! Please continue to demonstrate for us all your idiocy.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

Steve, Crime is generally down since the 90s--plenty of reports available.

Kent/Slippers/Gollum, Do lead us in being more moral by example; perhaps you could start by not throwing sticks and stones.


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

"Steve, Crime is generally down since the 90s--plenty of reports available."

Yes, and the rates of many crimes are down since the 60s.


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Posted by Former Falcon & Current Tiger
a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

While I completely agree that CSU/JC graduates can and do achieve great things (I have several friends from also transferred from JC's to UC's, etc.), I think you're giving Stanford/UC/Ivy League kids a bad rap. We're not all overcompetitive jerks! I attended Pleasanton public schools K-12, never enrolled in tutoring or summer courses, had loving and supportive parents who never pushed me (I signed up for APs myself, and did all my homework without help), and didn't sign up for bazillion extracurriculars to pad my resume. I did the things I liked, and I did them well. I now attend an Ivy League school and, what's more, I still have my soul. And just for the record, I'm not interested in business or banking, I hope to become a physician working on public health issues. I can honestly say that my public school education in Pleasanton and my own self-motivation has kept me grounded.

P.S. Tales of Swankville totally hits the point - so many Pleasanton parents have misguided and overly competitive agendas.


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Posted by Sava
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Nov 28, 2011 at 10:16 am

Steve, I'll listen to the author of this book if she lent any credibility whatsoever to writing something like this. For people who know her she's right there with the best of 'em (or should I say the worst...)


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Posted by TeacherK12
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jan 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Now is our chance to hear what the students have to say:

Pleasanton Parents:
Amador Valley H.S. PTSA in conjunction with high school students Challenge Success Team will be holding an open forum meeting:
MONDAY, Jan. 30th at 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Amador Theatre.
Please become involved by attending this important event about our children's Health and Well-being, coordinated by OUR STUDENTS.
This venue will share the Challenge Success survey results and experiences from our students.
Please come and listen to what STUDENTS have to share about stress and the demands of being successful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TeacherK12
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jan 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Now is our chance to hear what the students have to say:

Pleasanton Parents:
Amador Valley H.S. PTSA in conjunction with high school students Challenge Success Team will be holding an open forum meeting:
MONDAY, Jan. 30th at 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Amador Theatre.
Please become involved by attending this important event about our children's Health and Well-being, coordinated by OUR STUDENTS.
This venue will share the Challenge Success survey results and experiences from our students.
Please come and listen to what STUDENTS have to share about stress and the demands of being successful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good Read
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I liked the book


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