Teachers say primary school teddy bears are being taken to everything from orchestra rehearsals, sailing and the theatre as parents try to out-brag each other via their children's reports about the bear's extra-curricular activities.
But for some parents, the 'responsibility' is so great that it reduces them to tears.
Honestly, we're not making this stuff up!
The rather depressing revelation is reported in the Times Educational Supplement.
It says many school are making the bear redundant to avoid putting a strain on mothers and fathers.
Ann Mroz, TES editor, said class teddy bears seem to 'set a trap for many a host parent'.
She said: "Parents find themselves nosing through the bear's diary to see what it has been up to on previous weekends and they start to judge and compare.
"We've seen, through online discussion boards, that some parents have been reduced to tears over having the bear for the weekend.
"Some parents work all weekend, while others struggle with the English language to the point that just writing the report becomes a stressful exercise.
"It's unfair that they should be judged harshly by other parents as a result."
In many primary schools, children take it in turns to look after the bear at the weekend, taking pictures and writing in a diary about the activities they do with the toy.
But TES research – based on evidence from their online message boards and a series of interviews – suggests that parents are becoming overly-competitive and attempting to out-do each other with exciting activities.
Rather than taking the bear on a picnic in the park, teachers have told of some class mascots being given the five-star treatment, including piloting ships, attending VIP events and going to the theatre.
At the other end of the scale, some parents have deliberately sought a 'kind of reverse one-upmanship'.
One teacher told the TES that her class bear had been returned on Monday morning with a photo and a caption in the diary reading 'the bear wandered aimlessly around B&Q, looking at taps'.
Another parent revealed that the bear had 'enjoyed the afternoon spinning around the washing machine to clean off the ingrained dirt it had accumulated during the school year'.
That's more like it!
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