How to deal with a competitive parent

Justina J said: Jan 13, 2013
 2 posts

We have a very competitive Suzuki parent in our class who insists that her child stays ahead of others in the Suzuki repertoire. In order to help her and her child do that, she attends twice-weekly lessons with her child. I am wondering if twice-weekly lessons are normal? Her child does very well but her competitiveness turns people off. I was told some parents and kids left because of her. She badmouths the teacher when he is going too slowly on a piece. He doesn’t know this of course. How do we deal with egoistical people like her? The teacher holds high regard of her, maybe because he gets double fees from her? This is all very contradicting to the Suzuki Method. What would you do if you were me?

Sue Hunt said: Jan 14, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
391 posts

We all come up against competitive people at some time or other and most of us get somewhat upset when this happens. It has happened to me more times than I care to admit.

Being put off, becoming upset, or worrying, gives their behaviour greater power over us and we can become sucked in.

Trying to ignore it is hard work, as is spending hours trying to find a solution.

I would look for her good traits and really focus on appreciating her for those. You will find that your feeling towards her changes.

Good luck.

Paula Bird said: Jan 14, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

I agree with Sue. There is a lot of hearsay and supposition in this. We cannot really be sure what everyone is thinking or doing, and we may be doing someone a disservice by assuming we know what is actually going on.

I would just smile a lot, say “good for you” if someone brags to me about their accomplishments, and generally feel sorry for anyone who may be caught up in this unpleasant competitiveness. It takes way too much energy trying to be involved in someone else’s business. I would just focus on my own needs and my child’s needs and let the rest go.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio (blog) (podcast)

Justina J said: Jan 15, 2013
 2 posts

Thank you Sue and Paula for your points of view on this matter. I will try to take on your advice.

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