We’ve all seen the ubiquitous “humble-brag” on social media, haven’t we? The old “oh, I wish Tarquin weren’t so ahead of everyone else in his pre-school class, it’s so frustrating!” or “it’s so hard to parent a genius; you can’t just send them to a normal school, you know.”
And then there are the not-so-humble brags, where people declare that their 11 month old can count to ten, recognise letters, recite pi to twelve decimal places.
Social media is awful for both of these; it’s everywhere. People not-bragging about their child when really you know they want to just shout it from the rooftops: My child is awesome!!!
I’ve seen and heard a lot of outlandish claims from parents lately. People claiming their child is a genius, is the next Einstein, is being held up nationally as an example of good scholarship. The kind of things where you just think, hmm, really?
It makes me think, what’s so wrong with just saying I’m proud of my child? Why do we need to come up with some ridiculous accomplishment of theirs, real, half-real or not at all, in order to talk about how great we think they are?
I feel like all this exaggeration of what our children can do can only lead to one conclusion – the conclusion where they keep going at a normal place, and their parents’ claims get more and more outlandish, and eventually things go horribly wrong because they can’t possibly live up to the fact their mother’s Facebook friends think they’re in line to be the youngest ever UN special envoy.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think anyone does this sort of thing out of anything other than love for their child. It just irritates me, and I don’t think it’s fantastic for children to have to live up to all this exaggeration.
I know there’s the old saying: pride comes before a fall. We seem to think we shouldn’t display pride because it’s bad form or something, as if exaggerating achievements is any better.
This is why I absolutely love the Small Steps, Amazing Achievements linky – because it’s just parents saying “look, my kid learned to tie his laces and I’m really chuffed about that.” I love the idea that it’s okay to be proud of your child for just being him or herself. Without declarations of genius.
So here we are: I am proud of S. She is perfect just the way she is, singing half the words to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star off key and starting all of her counting at 3. I’m proud of her because she is my daughter, and I love her to the moon and back, and that’s exactly how it should be.
Everyone else can keep their child prodigies and genius-level mathematics and recitations of Shakespeare!