There’s nothing inherently wrong with being proud of your kid–or sharing your pride–but where should a sports parent draw the line?
We’ve all been around parents who go on and on and on…and it’s rather annoying.
The problem arises when the good news about your child is nonstop, or if you share the news with the wrong people.
How to brag correctly
Focus on the child, not the accomplishment, on who your children are as people, rather than their latest home run or touchdown or soccer goal. How often do you hear simple praise like “he is a good-hearted kid”, rather than “my son or daughter did ______.”
If all your child knows and hears is you bragging about what he has done, then he will feel a performance-based love and acceptance.
Brag to the right people. Your spouse, close friends, parents–these are people who want to hear about the wonderful play your kid made to win the game, and they really do care.
But be sensitive to parents whose kids have not been singled out for the same recognition. Or to parents of children whose skills and abilities are not as advanced as your child’s. Bragging to them is downright inconsiderate.
Keep it short. If someone asks how the game went or if you feel you really must say something, keep your report concise. “We won and Billy did great!” Or “It was a good game and Susie played her heart out.” And leave it at that, unless the person really wants to know more.
Let others do the praising when possible. My husband and I decided early in our sportsparenting journey to let others do the praising of our kids when it was to people other than family or close friends. Hearing others do the bragging for us was much more gratifying that having to toot our own horn.
How to stomach bragging parents
Try a little empathy. If a parent can’t stop talking about how great his kid is, ask yourself why he might be doing it. What is he going through emotionally that explains his intensity and need to talk so much about his child’s achievements?
Stay away. Without being rude, you may just want to avoid spending a lot of time with braggarts. Don’t sit with them in the bleachers or stand by them on the sidelines.
Affirm it, but don’t compete. If a parent talks up his child, try answering with a simple, “Wow, that’s great!”. That keeps you from comparing your kids and turning the conversation into a subtle sort of parental competition.
Model the right way to brag. If you model the right way to brag, you not only set an example for other parents, you show your kids the right way to respond to success and good performances.
Which parent are you?
Picture this comparison: Two kids play soccer together and you know both of their moms/dads. When you ask their parents how their kids did at a recent competition, one mother answered, “She did very well and we are very proud of her.” The other dad gave a detailed play-by-play of the game–how awesome his daughter was, and how many assists and goals she made.
You seeing the difference?
We should be happy about the successes of our friends’ kids. But I much prefer to be around a parent who humbly responds to questions about her child’s accomplishments than one who brags incessantly to anyone who will listen.
Which parent are you?