I remember being an education student, being annoyed by those bumper stickers that said, “My child is an honor student at XYZ School!!” and “Proud Parent of the Student of the Month!”
(You can find this sticker here.)
I’m a parent of three children now, and those bumper stickers still annoy me. For several reasons.
First, these days, everyone gets an award. At most schools (perhaps not all), every child gets a chance to have an award. Every child gets to be Student of the Month (or week, or whatever). Then everyone gets a bumper sticker and who cares? Secondly, bragging about your kids is a touchy subject.
I have three smart kids. I’m proud of them all for different reasons.
I’m proud of the good choices they make. I’m proud of my son’s strong sense of integrity and how he’s such a deep thinker. I’m proud of the art that my middle daughter creates, and that she’s so self-motivated. I’m proud of my youngest and how self-sufficient she can be, how inventive and good-natured she is.
I’m proud that they want to do well and work hard.
I’m proud of my girls when they put in long hours of rehearsal and energy, time and work and put on a great show in their musical theater program.
I’m proud of my son when he puts hard work into learning all about the Gamble House so that he can give tours to 3rd graders, and how he takes pride in the tours he gives and the information he gets to pass onto the kids.
I’m proud of all of them when they play piano beautifully because they’ve practiced and practiced til they got it right.
I’m delighted that they all have their own talents.
They are beautiful, as any mother would believe about their own children. They’re really smart, naturally. They have natural talents at several things. Am I proud of those things? Are they things to be proud of?
Should parents be proud that their children never study and yet get As? Should parents be proud that their children are identified as Gifted? Should parents be proud of their child’s beauty? Or talent? Sure. Should they brag about it on social media? I’m not sure. Here’s a question: would you brag about it in person?
These days, the internet is a tricky thing. Parents love to use social media to brag about their kids. Look at my son’s report card! My daughter pitched a no-hitter! My kids are the cutest kids ever! My daughter’s art is so amazing! My son scored the most baskets! My daughter passed the GATE test and is so smart!
What’s interesting to me is that most of us are posting a lot more about our kids’ accomplishments than our own. Where are all the posts about the new jobs we are getting? The projects we’ve completed? The things WE’VE done? Is it weird to brag about yourself? Is it easier or more PC to brag about our children? Are our children accomplishing things we wish we could be doing – or could have done?
And what about sensitivity? What if our friends have children that are differently abled that couldn’t physically do what we’re bragging about? Is that insensitive? Is it cruel? I think it can be. If my child was confined to a wheelchair, I don’t know how I’d feel about seeing posts of kids doing amazing physical feats. It might be too hard.
Ultimately, I love sharing things that my kids do that I think are pretty awesome. Whether it’s sharing with their siblings, succeeding at something, or sometimes just being kids. I like sharing photos of what we do and where we go so that friends and family can keep up with us. If they’re performing or getting an award, or being sweet. I will say that sometimes I have to think twice about certain things I post, because I don’t want to hurt anyone else. (I also don’t want to seem like an annoying parent who does nothing but talk about how amazing my kids are, because I think some people may find that ridiculously tedious. I know that sometimes grandparents are the only ones who truly want to hear about some of those things.)
Maybe it’s something we can all think about before we post things in general. If I post this, who will it affect?
What do you think?