“OUR BABY IS A GENIUS!” I shouted as I bursted into the kitchen holding our daughter’s preschool worksheet.
“What are you talking about?” My husband replied, startled and confused by my shouting.
“Look!” I shoved the paper into his hands. “She wrote that!”
Scrawled across the top of the page in a large, uncoordinated font, was my 4-year-old’s barely legible signature.
Completely unimpressed, he handed the paper back to me. “ So, she wrote her name? Is that…good?”
“I don’t know” I said, “I just think it’s adorable and amazing that she can.” I was so proud I had to share with someone.
It’s nearly impossible to be a parent and not brag about your kid at some point. We made them, they do awesome stuff, and we’re proud of them. It’s not unusual or surprising that we want to give them a shout-out when they finally get the hang of using the potty, or hit any other childhood milestone.
However, there are rules of engagement when it comes to giving your munchkin props, and if you neglect these rules, you are likely to become that mom—and nobody likes that mom.
Here are five must-follow rules for bragging about your kid.
Rule #1—Don’t be a one-upper.
If someone tells you their kid can count to 10, don’t respond with the fact that your kid can count to 100. Let them have their moment.
Rule #2—Know your audience.
Your friends are always a safe place to brag about your babies. They know you, and they know you almost lost your mind when your first kid refused to potty train until he was 4. They understand why you’re so excited that your youngest is a potty-master at only 18 months old. The woman you just met at the Muffins for Moms breakfast doesn’t know your struggle, and may think you’re just trying to showboat.
Rule #3—Don’t showboat.
Some kids are early learners. Just because your kid can identify all the letters of the alphabet before their second birthday doesn’t mean they’ll be accepted to MIT. We all learn the alphabet eventually, and I have never asked (or cared) how old someone was when they learned about the letter D. If you’re bragging because your kid learned something before everyone else, save that one for Grandma. Grandmas love that crap, everyone else—not so much.
Rule #4—For the love of all things holy, don’t humble-brag.
Humble bragging is obnoxious. For those not familiar with the humble-brag, here’s an example.
“I’m so tired of the book store. Jack is only seven but reads at an eight grade level, so he goes through books like mad!”
Personally, I would much rather you come right out and say, “I’m so proud of Jack, he is reading books I didn’t touch until I was much older.”
Rule #5—Be considerate and sensitive.
Don’t belittle the efforts of others to shine the spotlight on your special snowflake.
“Did you see Max on the soccer field today?! He ran circles around the other kids, they’re all so slow compared to him!”
No. Not cool. Just don’t.
We all have our strengths and weakness, the kid who aces his spelling test every week may struggle with multiplication, and the star of the soccer team may not have potty trained until he was five. No one is the best at everything, so don’t try to paint that picture, because it makes you look ridiculous—and people will probably hate you.
Bottom line, it’s OK to be proud of your kids, and celebrate their accomplishments, but, like so many other things in life, moderation is key. Follow the rules and acknowledge the accomplishments of other children too. Remember, other parents are just as proud as you are, so don’t forget to be supportive and kind when you hear that little Julie knows every word to the Frozen soundtrack. Or just smile, and Let it Go.
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