See those kids of yours? They’re seriously awesome. Still, as parents, we often struggle to vocalize our children’s achievements to others, often leaning on two not-so-great methods to shout out (and ultimately downplay) their strengths: The parent humblebrag and the parent diss.
The parent humblebrag is a self-deprecating—yet still showboaty—statement made in order to draw attention to something your kid did that made you proud. For example: “Oh yeah, somehow Oscar is two, but he’s reciting Shakespeare? It’s *so* weird.” Another one: “I’m exhausted, Cindy is such a social butterfly. I can’t keep up with her easy ability to make friends!”
Then, there’s the parent diss, which is basically an inability to receive a compliment about your kid, such that you put them down as an act of deflection. For example, a parent on the playground might say, “Wow, Kyle, is so well-behaved. He’s the sweetest kid I’ve even met!” You shoot back: “Well, you should see what he’s like at home—he bumbles around like he’s Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers.”
Both methods aren’t great, but is one more toxic than the other? And why can’t we simply celebrate our kids’ achievements with directness? Why do we feel the need to water them down?