Birthday parties create unnecessary competition

I was amused and concerned to read about birthday celebrations in primary schools (Birthday blues in primary schools; April 18).

There were no such celebrations in my primary school years in the 1980s, perhaps because my school did not allow them or because parents were more frugal then.

With rising affluence and higher spending power, parents today seem more willing to spend on our young. As a mother of two young girls, I know I am guilty of this.

However, I am concerned that the practice of celebrating birthdays in primary schools may lead to negative experiences among our young, and the impact may be long-lasting.

It is only natural for one to compare what one has with another person.

The issue of "face" may lead to unnecessary competition among parents, who may compare their children's parties with those of others.

Less-affluent parents may not have the means to have a grand celebration and their children may end up depressed and withdrawn from their peers as a result.

Should some assessment of the situation be done?

Leaving it up to the schools should not be an option, as schools that wish to please well-to-do parents will continue with it.

Schools must do what is best for their students in order to develop them into fine adults that are humble and empathetic towards others.

Annie Chua Hui Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'Birthday parties create unnecessary competition'. Print Edition | Subscribe