Apr 232012




**this is a MONKEE TOOTING ITS OWN HORN. Yes, it is. **



“The plain fact is that the world does not need more successful people, but it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.” – David Orr


Do you think this is true? My guess is that most of you Monkees do. It’s a Monkee-ish sort of thing to believe. I definitely believe it. I think that much of our work here at Momastery has to do with redefining success. What does a successful person look like to you? Picture her, please.

And since many of us are parents, it’s also helpful to consider what it means for our kids to be successful. What does a successful child look like to you? Picture him, please.

One of my best friends and I had a long talk recently regarding kid bragging. She asked me why I never spoke about my kids’ accomplishments, on the blog or on Facebook or even with her. She knows that Craig and I have a steadfast rule – no bragging to anyone except each other or the grandparents. We used to allow ourselves to brag to our sisters, but now that they have kids, they’re off limits too.

Basically, our rule means that we keep our mouths shut in public and then we talk in bed about how our kids are better than anyone else’s kids in the whole entire world.

My friend said that she thought this rule was a mistake. She explained that some of her happiest moments as a child were hearing her mother brag about her to her friends. She was afraid my kids were missing out on that childhood delight. She really made me think, because she’s one of my best friends and an incredible mom.

I think my friend brought up a really interesting point, and I don’t know what the right answer is. I do know that the decision Craig and I made was based upon two factors.

  1. Our children’s confidence in our unconditional love for them.


My parents were teachers, and they placed a  lot of importance on good grades. I never got perfect grades. I wasn’t a genius, and I was very disorganized and not all that great at following directions. So I always felt like a bit of a failure at report card time, because I knew that to my parents, good grades meant success. So I felt unsuccessful. My parents weren’t proud of average grades- but lack of pride didn’t mean lack of love. I think that’s hard for a kid to understand, though. I think kids get pride and love mixed up all the time.

Craig and I don’t place a lot of emphasis on grades. Our kids do fine. We know they’re trying, so when we get their report cards we scan over the left side  – the math, science, etc –  and then we look harder the right side. The citizenship grades. While these grades certainly don’t equal success, we care about them more. We never do perfectly on that side, because no Melton really knows how to perfectly exhibit self control…but then again, perfection’s not what we’re going for. Things usually look pretty decent overall, so we give out some high fives, ask the kids if they’re proud of themselves, and get on to dinner. Sometimes we ask if there’s anything  they’d like to work harder on next quarter. If they say yes, we ask them to write a note to their teacher explaining what grade they’re trying to raise, so the teacher can offer pointers and look out for improvement. Mostly, we feel grateful. Even when things could look better on that report, we feel grateful.

Moving from pride to gratitude is a small shift, but an important one to us. We’re grateful that so far, school is a safe place for them, that they can do the lion’s share of what they’re asked to do, that they are learning how to be good citizens. Grateful we got lucky enough to raise them in this country, during this time.

It’s like when I write an essay that I know is GOOD and I hit publish. Proud is not the right word to describe how I feel at that moment. Grateful is a better word. I feel grateful that God blessed me with another thing to say, and another nice way to say it. I feel grateful for the gifts of inspiration and time and health and energy that were necessary to get that essay done.

When I got the book deal, everyone said, “Aren’t you proud?” And my answer was no, not really.  Because the book deal was something that was given to me, like grades are given. Sure, it can be argued that grades and book deals are earned, too – but all of that can be a bit arbitrary. For example, I know some fantastic writers who’ve never gotten a book deal and let us be clear that Snookie did get a book deal. She’s a New York Times Best Seller. SO.

And there are plenty of kids who coast and bring home straight As and plenty more who work their tails off and bring home Cs. So.

I’ll tell you what I AM proud of. I’m proud that I showed up at my computer everyday so God could do his work. I’m proud that I kept showing up, even when I was sick or tired or BLAH. I’m proud of that. That’s a choice I made and a discipline I kept.

And I’m proud of my kids for showing up. Whatever happens after that, whether they win a trophy or not, get an A or not, score ten goals or not – I probably won’t praise them much. High fives and hugs all around, but not too much praise, and not too much criticism.  Because praise is really just the flip side of criticism. They’re both judgments.  As soon as someone tells you how AWESOME you are at something, you immediately start worrying about what will happens if  you stop being awesome at that thing. We all get pride mixed up with love.

So we tell our kids – there’s nothing you can do to make us love you anymore or any less. That was done and decided the second you born.

Anyway -If my kids are still living in my basement in their late thirties, we’ll know that my “redefinition” of success and lack of praise and criticism backfired. I’ll keep you updated.


The second reason we don’t brag about our kids:

Our love and respect for other parents.

Every time I see a friend’s Facebook post about their child’s straight As, it pings my heart a bit. Because I’ve been a teacher, and I know that for the vast majority of parents, report card night is a difficult and confusing one. Some kids try hard and still miss the mark. Parents wonder why. Parents worry that there’s something wrong with their kid, that they’re doing something wrong as a parent.  It’s tough. And I fear that logging on to Facebook and seeing the all the public celebration might make that evening even tougher.

And every time I hear a friend talking about their child’s reading level or prowess in math or science fair state win, I feel a pang in my heart. Because I know that SOME mother in that group has a child who is dyslexic, or struggling hard with math, or is too painfully shy about her stuttering to present at the science fair.

And every time I see someone post about their child’s seven goals, I think about my mama friends at home, struggling with their children who have Lyme, or PANDAS, or cerebral palsy, whose kids have a hard time making it up the stairs much less up and down a soccer field.

And so our decision not to publicly brag is related to our belief that we are parents within a community of parents. And that parenting is hard, in different ways for every parent, and we don’t want to make it any harder. For us, it has to do with trying to live well in our places. To first, do no harm. Because we don’t parent in a vacuum.


Here’s when I admit that one time I did brag on facebook.  Because once Tish came home from pre-school and told me that a new child had joined her class that day. She told me he looked lonely at recess. And so she left her group of girls, walked over to him and said, “Welcome to our school. Do you want to play with us?”

We couldn’t help it that time. We put her on our shoulders and marched around the house in a happy parade. We went out for dinner. I posted it on facebook. Because that is some SUCCESS, people. We can’t always control ourselves.

But before I posted it, I thought…will this hurt anyone? I thought not, so I indulged myself.


What are your thoughts? When does sharing become bragging? Is bragging okay? When is it not okay, in your opinion?

This is a tricky, tricky subject and must be handled with great care. Please remember that bragging Monkees are loved just as much as non-bragging Monkees, and EVERYONE gets a soft place to land here.  Let’s speak openly but carefully, and talk about how this issue makes us feel, as mamas. No right answers, let’s just listen, learn and love.

Love You,




Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

  501 Responses to “Bragging Rights”

  1. I do brag to grandparents about what my kids are doing (although with my 2 yr old is more about milestones he is finally hitting :) ). I used to brag constantly about their accomplishments, but try not to do so anymore. However, I do tend to brag about my niece’s and nephew’s accomplishments (especially my nephew how is on the spectrum). I guess a part of me thinks they need it since their mother passed 3 yrs ago (my niece is 5 and my nephew will be 11 soon). I think following your rules, or similar ones would be a great goal! Thanks!!

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  4. My father-in-law brags about all the other grandkids when we are around him. Our oldest son is autistic with a low IQ, and our other two have some problems, as well. Sadly for us, the other grandkids are super-achievers, and I get so angry when my FIL interrogates our kids about what they have achieved lately, and then tells them all about how the other grandkids are doing so incredibly, marvelously well. Today, he reduced my 21 year old daughter (who has tried to kill herself twice in the past five years) to tears. He’s so damn insensitive he didn’t even realize it. When I tell him how kind and compassionate my kids are, he says, ‘Well, it takes all kinds. I try not to be critical of people who are different than me.’ I can hardly stand to be in the same room with such an insensitive, arrogant, boastful blowhard.

    • Hold your head high and be proud of the fabulous parents that you are and the blessing God has bestowed upon you with your precious children who need extra loving and sensitive parents. My brother has a similar problem with his in-laws. They can be so ignorant and I am so proud of my brother when he stands up for his son! Do the best by your children, you will never change your FIL, stand up for your children and be proud of yourself for the wonderful job you are doing with Gods truly precious ones! Don’t hang around long enough for him to cause any hurt, just leave the moment it starts.

    • Liza, I understand why being around your F.I.L. is exasperating
      and doing more harm than good. I know he’s family but you may
      have to allow your husband to visit him alone at times. And if
      you must go, then leave the kids home if they are all old enough.
      It will do no good for them to constantly hear him bragging about
      the other grandkids in their presense. Especially if he is
      minimizing their accomplishments or good qualities. Kids get
      enough criticism in the world without getting it from those who are
      supposed to love them and support them. Of course there will be
      times when the kids must be there, like Christmas or Thanksgiving
      But I would lessen the times they are around this
      man who is old enough to know better by now.

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  6. I am not sure if you’ll read this, Glennon, but I would love to have this discussion continue–I am searching for the answer on this. To me, it feels like keeping these things away is not living in the light. I strongly doubt that there is any ability that does not have a dark side–or a problem. Shouldn’t the test be WHY we are talking about this–whether it is coming from love or coming from our insecure side that wants to prove our worth and our children’s worth? I love how you are focused on how your words will affect others–that is great!! But you don’t see the need to use these same boundaries in terms of accessorizing or looking pulled together, even though that may make others doubt themselves.

    For me, I have been searching for parents who may be able to help me, because unfortunately, my kids did not come with instruction manuals. I want to be the best parent and help, HELP my children, but I don’t know how. But, I learned very on to keep my child’s “accomplishments” a secret. When my daughter was beginning elementary school, and the subconscious comparing began in new parents’ minds, my daughter began to rack up accomplishments–she learned to read on her own, was put into gifted classes, could recall facts that she read eons ago, and would even be able to read books while the teacher taught other subjects. But as the mom, I saw the dark parts of this–and it concerned me and still does. My daughter was such a perfectionist that she treated herself horribly. And she was too emotional and senstive and overacted.to.everything. I have been struggling with her unique characteristics for the 6 years of elementary school when they became apparent, and am only learning now that it is possible she is on the spectrum. Those very traits that society tells us wonderful are not necessary so.

    I try to find solutions by talking to others, but get scolded because they focus on small parts of the story about her grades or her abilities and think I should feel “lucky.” They don’t see that it is this internal drive that is plaguing my dd with internal thoughts that she isn’t good enough. My one wish for my dd before she was born was that she would be “happy and healthy.” But these traits and overthinking take that happiness away. So I have a gifted, smart, unhappy, tortured little girl, and her abuser is herself.

    I can imagine the little boy who is amazing on the football field being plagued by his own demons. Or the little child who is witty. Aren’t all of our accomplishments a cape that is trying to protect us from our greatest fear: feeling we are not worthy of love or belonging? But if we don’t talk about this, how can we treat it?

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  13. […] days – that is enough. But some days, a little affirmation would go a long way. Last week, Glennon reminded me of […]

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  15. Great post and totally agree with everything you said. This is exactly how I feel too. I would never boast about my children’s grades on Facebook or to anyone other than my parents : )

    I view education as very important, but my children’s character is even more so.

    When my daughter finished her exams we rewarded her because of all the hard work she’d put in studying for them – BEFORE she got her results. We wanted her to know we were proud of her work ethic and that we knew she’d done her best. That to us was the most important part.

  16. […] so humility has become a family value for Craig and me, too. Sports boasting or life boasting or kid boasting of any sort is a cardinal offense. Hearing boasting actually PAINS me. And so we keep the NFL off. Because it’s insane to try to […]

  17. Thank you so much for this. I was a bit gutted this morning when I opened my news feed to a friend’s bragging about her daughter’s meeting or exceeding all grade level expectations at this time on her report card, when she and I had just discussed my own daughter trying hard to catch up in three subjects–and her grades were far more average.

    Parents have no idea how much this kind of thing hurts.

  18. Thank you for this. I am not a mother yet, but this post was so spot on. I almost got teary thinking about you celebrating your child’s moment of reaching out to the new kid. THOSE are the kinds of things that I want to celebrate the most with my kids too (one day). I also like your no brag rule – I think that is awesome.

  19. […] I don’t brag about our kids in this regard, and I agree full heartedly with her blog post (link attached) particularly these reasons for no child bragging: 1. Our children’s confidence in our […]

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  23. I’ve been faithfully coming to Momastery for awhile now and I had never read this essay of yours until today, G. It’s fabulous… but then again, I always think your essays are fabulous. If you read this (and I hope you do), I think you should add “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn to your list of books to read. I’ll admit that the author is a bit self righteous about his agenda at times. However, the book makes you think HARD about so many parenting strategies that so many of us use without thinking… like praise and rewards. And let me tell you from personal experience, praise can do some serious damage. I loved what you said about praise really just being the flip side of criticism… it’s all judgment. That is SO true. My mother is incredibly judgmental. I spent my entire childhood attempting to be “perfect” in an effort to escape her judgment.. I was celebrated constantly for all my awards and accomplishments. But you know what? I still felt judged. Underneath all the accolades I was incredibly insecure… and fairly certain that I was not loved for just being me… and so I just kept running… reaching for the next great thing. I lost my childhood in so many ways. Now, as an adult, I am having to learn a lot of things that so many people learned as kids. I think your parenting philosophy is very wise… thanks for sharing it with everyone.

  24. […] by Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastery, I’m also trying to adopt her practice of not announcing any achievement or milestone to anyone other than SBJ’s grandparents, […]

  25. actually great things here, just many thanks

  26. Glennon, I really appreciate the tone of this post and the thoughtfulness with which you approach parenting. I both agree and disagree with the sentiments expressed here.

    It’s important to be aware of the needs of other parents/kids/families and to be careful about the rhetoric we use.

    At the same time, I think it is good and appropriate to encourage and acknowledge our kids publicly. I try to do the same thing for my husband and my friends. Hearing a “good word” spoken about you is truly like water to a parched soul – and I like to extend that gift whenever possible.

  27. This blog is so great, but only leads me to more thoughts about what we are teaching our children..and that, I think, is more fundamentally important than worrying about what other people are saying and posting. I feel like if we teach our children some things, this discussion becomes partly irrelevant.

    For me, My first hope and goal in life is to ensure that my children learn that I will love them no matter what. No matter what they do, good or bad, I will love them. It is not dependent on me being proud or disappointed with what they are doing. I don’t tell them when they are doing anything in particular because I don’t want them to associate it with success or failure. I tell them during a car ride or in the middle of their meal, anytime I want and that’s many times a day. I only hope then they will not associate it with anything but love!

    The second thing I want my children to know is something My dad always told me -“It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round”. I really hope my children grow up understanding just that. That, no one in the world is perfect, and that if people were all the same we would never succeed as a society. Along with this, is that everyone in their life fails and everyone succeeds, and that these successes and failures are only relative to the person perceiving them. It’s kinda like an athletic event, there are so many ways to perceive the outcome and events that lead to it that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I only want them to know that if they try their hardest and are proud of their actions, that’s what matters, not how everyone else perceives it. We only have control over ourselves and not others. So no matter what others say, whether bragging or criticizing, we need to understand that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and we can only control our own actions, not those of others.

    I am not an expert at this at all but I feel like If we teach our children some of these things, no matter what others are doing, bragging or criticizing or comparing, they will be just fine :)

  28. Glennon: I know today is June 1, and you wrote this blog post on Ap. 23rd, but I have been thinking. Thinking about what you wrote…..and trying to decide how to tell you I disagree…. and why. I think every child is a gift, and that every person is gifted, by God. You talk of moms with children that have all kids of issues. They are all gifted by God too! So, I would say this- I am not for your method, or against. Instead, I feel that God has given me a job as a parent. To help my child with their gift. To fan the flame of that gift. To cheer it on. To BRAG about that gift!

    Let me be clear. Straight A’s is not a gift. Winning a soccer tournament is not a gift. People often tell me that my son is very bright. I say to them, “what he is really great at is seeing things in 3D! He can create buildings in his head and says there are plans in there that he can see!” That is a gift. Someday he may fail history and english. I will still know he has an incredible gift. My daughter’s gift is an incredible compassion for people in pain. People tell me she is beautiful. Not a gift. Her gift is the ability to be dancing at a party and if some child is in the corner crying with his mom, she will stop suddenly and go over to console that child. I think we should celebrate every child’s gift. Let your child talk about their incredible gift. Tell others about their gift. Every parent can do this. Even if your child can not walk, or talk, or hear, they are gifted by God. Lets celebrate what he gave each and everyone of us!!

  29. And then there is the thing with bragging about your kids, called pride. It’s really pride in your doings and their doings, instead of a grateful heart to the God who created them. And we all know what God thinks about pride!
    Love your blogs, good sense of humor, and not taking yourself too seriously..and it’s clear you love your God!

    • Hi Barb……I too am the type that does not like to brag about
      my kids, all adults. All 3 of them are successful in their own
      rights and 2 of the 3 did very well in school. The other has
      a great job and is compassionate and kind. They are all
      alike in some ways and completely different in others.
      All 3 are super generous and will go out of their way to help
      us and each other.
      They are a gift to me and my husband, and so are our
      grandkids ranging in age from 18 to 1. I think people that are
      constantly bragging about their children are insecure/however
      I would like to caution about going too far in the other direction.
      It is not pride to speak kindly of your children to others. Let
      others know how great your kids are without rubbing it in or
      being prideful about it. The reason I say that is my own Mom
      and Dad were very stingy with compliments to me. They would
      compliment every stranger they saw as I was growing up. They
      had nothing but praise for my friends and every one of them
      was “just beautiful”. I love my friends and have no problem with
      that but I always felt that they got more words of affirmation from
      my parents than I did. I always felt invisible to them.
      Like no one special. I
      am now a born again christian woman and I still struggle with
      low self esteem. They favored my younger sister (at least my Mom
      did…my Dad wasn’t as obvious about it). My younger brother
      was also “special” even though he got in more trouble than we did.
      I was the older one and always felt plain compared to them. I still do.
      My mother seems to know how I feel because she has said things
      like “they didn’t want to spoil us” in any way.
      I went out to eat with my Mom about a year ago and she commented
      on the employee at the restauraunt and how beautiful she was. I
      turned around to realize she was referring to a guy that had makeup
      on and had styled his hair as a woman. It was so obvious to me
      I had to laugh. I realized that she was more willing to give a compliment
      to someone like that than to me, her own daughter.
      Please don’t be stingy with sincere compliments to your children.
      Don’t go overboard. If your friends child is struggling to make average
      grades in school and yours isn’t it might not be appropriate to
      brag in that moment. Keep that for when you’re with your other friend
      whose child is doing fine. Affirming their accomplishments in the
      right way will encourage them to achieve their goals and dreams.
      To those who say self-esteem is not important…try growing up
      without it!!

  30. […] husband are trying to raise nice, level-headed kids. One of the things she wrote about recently is why she and her husband have chosen not to brag about their children to their friends. That’s right, no bragging, no saying how amazing their kids are, no posting their grades on […]

  31. I generally adhere to the Melton family rule. No public bragging. However, when someone compliments my children, I feel free to graciously accept the compliment and occasionally throw a few brag-able moments into the mix. I very clearly remember people complimenting me as a child and saying something like, ‘I’m sure she’s a big help around the house.’ and my mom’s response being, ‘Well, she helps when she wants to.’ Looking back, I now see this as my mother’s self-deprecating response as her way to keep from boasting, but I think hearing her say, ‘YES! She is. Thank you!’ would have done wonders for my childhood soul.

  32. […] two interesting views on Facebook bragging, read this post by Yoonanimous and this post by Glennon Melton. Yoona made me laugh (and think Oh God, I do that!) and Glennon made me pause (and […]

  33. Very thought provoking. I’m not a parent, but most of my friends are. Their kiddo facebook posts are merely amusing/uninteresting as I have nothing to compare. Social media in general is about putting up a facade for others to judge and quantify you by. It’s very useful in my particular line of work, but I can see it being a painful tool in personal affairs.

    What really struck me in this post was the immediate emotional response i had to this idea of love and pride being interchangeable in a child’s mind. I was (and still am) driven by the affects of parents that thought so highly of me and my siblings that two extreme things ruled my life. 1) the honest belief that i was the most talented, athletic, pretty, clever, gregarious, bright, human that ever walked the earth and 2) The fear that I might prove not to be all of the things listed above. The result was a girl who grew into an adult so petrified to fail and lose her parents love/pride that she decided self-destruction was a much better option.

    If has taken me years to stop being afraid to go after things in life; To realize that my parents love was actually separate from their pride in me. And even so, I came out of childhood with a dismissive attitude towards love and a unquenchable desire for respect.

    Certainly each child has his/her own response and method of harboring or shirking off praise and criticism. And we take those habits and needs into adulthood. Parents, please be sensitive to what children’s bent is.

    Sadly I have zero idea how to actually implement this. I just wanted to validate the fact that wonderful parents with amazing communication skills and prayerful wisdom can accidentally miss teaching her that she is loved because her soul was born. Not because she has mad skills or a pretty face.

  34. Why have we come to the place in our society when everyone has to tippy toe? For instance, according to the logic above..because I am unable to sing…or should I say I SHOULDN’T sing. lol…that someone who posts that their daughter has a voice like a nightengale should engender envy and feelings of inferiority. WHEN are we going to realize that everything in life isn’t about us? WHY can’t people read something and be happy for the other person? I don’t think the person posting has the issue, it’s the person reading…if reading that someone’s child got A’s makes you question your existence…then it’s your view that needs to be worked on. Perhaps that child is gifted academically, and perhaps your child is gifted with an ability to connect with people. The idea that all people must hide their light so no one feels inferior is sad.

  35. I am often stressed by the constant bragging of one particular friend. Her children are smarter, funnier, more loving, more athletic than anyone else’s and the constant Facebook bragging reminds us all, just in case we forget for a moment. It bothered me terribly until another friend said, “don’t you just wish you could take her by the hand and tell her, ‘you are loved’?” and suddenly it all made sense. And suddenly I wished I could do just that for her.

  36. I totally agree with you and I thank you for having the courage and words to not only say it, but to say it well. I picture us all coming into the world wrapped in layers and layers of bubble wrap, and each time we are made to feel “less” a bubble is pierced, if not completely popped. Over time and through our “brutiful” lives our bubbles deflate and disappear and we are left with less and less protection from the brutal parts. I think if we could just keep our bubbles intact we wouldn’t need extras, just what we came with, but it is nearly impossible in a sometimes hateful world. I try to pass this on to my kids…just don’t pop any bubbles today! I’m sure sometimes we miss but we’re trying, and your inspiration helps keep me seeing the good!

  37. I think that the ease of Facebook has created this effect that blurs the line between sharing and rampant narcissism. Think of some of your most “active” FB friends. Now, if they called you on the phone every time they updated their status, or showed up at work/school/whatever with pictures of everything they did last week, or weekend, or night, or seventeen new pictures of their kid, or insisted that you look at their bare pregnant belly, every single day – would you like that person?

    No, you wouldn’t. No one likes that person. That person is annoying, shallow, and self-absorbed; s/he needs constant validation from others, and generally is avoided like the plague. But somehow it has become acceptable to be that person online, because it’s not bragging, it’s “sharing.” Or, in the case of this blog, “praising.”

    That’s just my opinion.

  38. […] of our accomplishments because it can be seen as boasting.  (See Glennon Melton’s Post about Bragging Rights). Either way it’s really difficult to win. But the truth is you can win by being grateful for […]

  39. […] I highly recommend it. Last week she wrote a post called “Bragging Rights” – http://momastery.com/blog/2012/04/23/bragging-rights/ and it has really been on my mind ever since. In the post she talks about how she and her husband […]

  40. […] us to remember that on Facebook and in other facets of life, people are showing us their best. They might even brag a little lot. But it doesn’t mean it’s the whole story. In fact, we know it […]

  41. Great post… Definitely something every parent, friend, family member, and Grandparent should consider. Though, believe it or not, Some grandparents need to exercise SENSITIVITY when bragging about OTHER GRANDCHILDREN in the presence of YOUR CHILDREN! Sure they may be proud of their other grandchildren, but when your children hear all about so and so’s grades are so good, they are in this activity and that, they did this at a certain age… blah blah blah… but they aren’t going on and on about them…. How does that make THEM feel? Pretty much like chopped liver…. Especially when they may have certain issues that their perfect cousins don’t have. You wouldn’t think that a Grandparent of all people would do this… but it happens MORE OFTEN than you think! It’s heartbreaking to watch. They may not intend to be mean…. but they don’t hear the way their bragging sounds to others… especially to the children who are being left out.

    • Wow, I wish my in-laws understood what you were saying! I have wondered if they talk to the others in the family with pride, the way we hear it about the others. Anyway, I just wanted to say you make such a good point!

  42. Thank you for writing this. I am an overly sensitive person and I compare myself to others all the time. When blogs first became popular I refused to read them because it was as painful and obnoxious as reading a daily Christmas letter:

    “Our family is perfect for so many reasons. Let me share some of them with you…blah blah blah…”….”And we had the best day EVER…see how much fun we had? see how my kids are smiling and happy? Yeah, they’re like that all the time! Our whole life is like this all the time!”….”And my husband just makes every day a treat. He does the laundry, makes the meals, rubs my feet and looks like a Greek God.. We’ve never fought and never plan to.”


    In retribution I recreated an anti-blog in which I mock my white-trash house and tell stories about things that go wrong. I never run out of material. My rule was that I would write things that either made people laugh or made them feel better about themselves. I never wanted to give out fodder for painful comparison. Then I started a private blog where I could boast about my kids and gave the address to the worried grandparents who I’m sure were starting to wonder about calling DCFS.

    Everyone has kind of mocked me for setting things up this way. One friend commented on my private blog how funny I am that I have to hide all the good stuff and not let on that we are a functional family.

    It wasn’t until Glennon’s post that I felt validated for what I was doing. And by the way, Glennon, your blog is my favorite blog I’ve ever read. You have a wonderful life with a gorgeous family but your blog isn’t about rubbing that in people’s faces. Instead it’s a truth-seeking, love-sharing, faith-producing blog full of laughter and warmth.

    Thank you so much for being real and raw and sharing your true self with all of us.

  43. […] am also very cognizant of talking about my kids in a group of moms (See Momastery for beautiful speculation on this issue.) I keep stories to a minimum even when asked […]

  44. I couldn’t disagree more with the opening quote. I think as human being we are all of these things. Most of us take on these roles in the normal course of our day. However, most of us aren’t liberal elites who feel the need to let everyone know about all the “good” we are doing. I hope more than anything that my kids are “successful”….not perfect but successful. I hope that they have success in relationships, school, work, happiness, parenting etc. I certainly don’t plan on telling them to be “mediocore”. You imply that success means that you have material success. Well, I do hope my kids achieve success that affords them the nice things and a comfortable life and I hope that they have beautiful, amazing children to share there success with.

  45. Much wisdom in your post and I agree. My kids are now 21, 18, 17 and 15. I may praise my kids more than what it sounds like you do, but the same attitude is what prevailed in our home. When we do praise them it is encouraging words — never bragging and never in a way that suggests some other parent should feel as if they did not do as good of a job as us if their child did not get as good of grades as ours, for example. We point out that we are proud of their hard work and diligence, not the actual grade. Our focus has always been on their character, so that is what we talk about in private and in public when the situation allows for it. This is mostly done with family. Or, I may post a fb status like: ‘Favorite Text of the Day: Nate to me — Mom, can you pick me up from school and we’ll go on a date?’ And in that way, I am letting him know what it meant to me, and others can see that he has a sweet heart, but I am not being competitive or even telling anyone else what they should think about him. No one wants to feel provoked into praising someone else’s child. I believe the kids also feel more affirmed when others praise them without it having started with their parents. But, I do believe they need to hear many praises from their parents – just in the right way and mostly privately.
    My whole point in writing was to say that I believe this has worked well for us and I wanted to encourage you in your conviction.
    Because we focused on our kids’ character, rather than accomplishments, my kids have often received good reports from others on how they relate to others or their respect for others. I have wondered at times if we should have put more focus and pressure on grades, because they all could have succeeded in that way more than they have, and it’s not like I could just point to their actions and say they were always perfect — so, I did have doubts. But, my daughter, who is 21, has shown me that she is carrying on the things we taught her – and it’s not because we ‘guided’ it, it’s because it is part of who she is and her own choices have proved that. I may still like for our kids to be a little more motivated to succeed in the ways the world as a whole sees success, but that is because we have struggled so much financially that I want things easier for them. But, truly, all in all, I would not change our kids’ kindnesses, love for God, good work ethic, courage, commitment, etc. for scholarships, awards, powerful jobs, etc…. If you get a chance I would love for you to read my short blog on my daughter – this probably shows exactly what I was talking about, and it’s one of the times I thought some encouraging praise was in order. It’s at http://rachelreneerose.blogspot.com/
    I am sure you are doing the right thing and you won’t find your 30 year old kids living in your basement :)

  46. G – perfect timing for me. I just wrote a blog post about how awfully hard first grade has been for my twins and me too. I realized that even in my grumbling there were parents who would be so grateful to even have the struggles that we have had – that even where we are would be easier than where they are at now, but still for me it was a hard year and I have to honestly write that history for my kids so that they know what it was like 30-40 years from now when they are sitting at the kitchen table with their own kids wanting to bang their head against the wall.

  47. I think much of my personal response to bragging depends upon the speaker’s intention. I sometimes feel parenting has become a competitive sport, where parents hang a child’s accomplishments around their neck without thinking about what is meaningful and important to the child involved. They excel because the alternative is not available to them. I’m looking forward to hearing you speak in Great Falls this week.

  48. Very well written. Brilliant writing. I see it a tad differently however. I actually smile when people boast about their children’s character and accomplishments (not in a belittling way of others though). I celebrate with them. This world is tough and brings a lot of tough stuff with it. So I believe that no one, especially a child, can ever have too many cheerleaders.
    I see the opposite problem. I see people constantly complaining about their children or spouse on facebook and especially twitter. The best advice I was ever given by my dad was “Public praise, private criticism.” It’s not that my husband or kids are perfect, but I think they should be allowed to make their mistakes or have crappy attitudes in the peace, safety, and confidence of our home.
    I would much rather read about Billy’s great goal in the soccer game than Billy being a complete terror and how mom can’t wait until school is back in session.

  49. Right on. I’m not sure what else to say because you said it so well.

  50. My parents bragged about my intelligence. ALL. THE. TIME. I often felt that I had nothing else to offer except my grades. My sister was the pretty one and I was the smart one. It beats you down. I grew up. I went to college. I had a career. Now I am a stay at home mom. My mother still lets me – and my kids – know how smart I *used* to be.

    I have 6 daughters now and what I want more than anything is for them to know they are worth everything just because they EXIST. But I still do brag on them at times; when they can hear me and when they can’t. One of my children is crazy smart. I look at her in awe and wonder where exactly she got it from. Another really struggles in school. Do I have different levels of pride for each of them? Not at all. I make sure to share with equal gusto the fact that one has skipped up two grades and the other was able to read a book on her grade level. I let them know how proud I am of WHO they are and how they reached this accomplishment rather than WHAT they did. And to others, I share. Occasionally on social media but more often in personal conversation. I know some may see it as bragging, but in my eyes bragging occurs only when somebody is saying “See, my kid did x,y, z so that makes them *better* than your kid.” That is not my intention. And while maybe I should keep my mouth shut just in case somebody sees my sharing as bragging and gets offended, I choose not to. It is more important to me that my children know I am proud of who they are and that I am not afraid to scream it from the mountain tops that my kids are amazing people regardless of anything they do, don’t do, say or don’t say. And at the same time I choose not to take offense from others. I have one particular acquaintance who never lets the opportunity pass by for her let you know how her kid is so awesome. She one-ups all the time. Your child rode a bike at 5; hers rode one at 4. Your kid got straight A’s; hers got A pluses! I have to choose not to take offense, because honestly I don’t think she means to offend. She just has a need to feel higher. Let her be. I am happy where I am. Nothing she can say or do will change that.

  51. I have generally felt this way, until I was blessed with a kiddo with down syndrome. And now I loooove when other mommas of kids with special needs brag about their kids accomplishments. What? You smiled? Awesome. You signed ball? So cool? You drank out of a straw? Amazing!!!! And then I realized that I wanted to celebrate all of these relative accomplishments of our kiddos – special needs or not. If there is a reason to celebrate, I say do it.

    • Absolutely!. Why not celebrate success? Everyone has success of their own, albeit different! I LOVE hearing about other peoples happy and joyous events!

  52. Glennon- you nailed it yet again– I love that you bring up topic to discuss that we your followers have secretly thought about but haven’t had the nerve to bring it up with others!

  53. Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with this topic as I have aquaintances who brag nonstop whether warranted or not warranted, I was cut from the cloth that you never brag. On the other hand, my friend told me that she never heard her own parents publicly praise her while her parents’ friends always bragged about their children – and it sent the message to her that she wasnt ‘worth’ talking about – it had negative ramifications. I think it’s probably good to be somewhere in the middle…dont stick around for those to brag around your kids about THEIR KIDS ad infinitum, but dont be a bragasaurus either. Ack.

  54. That was so beautifully spoken. Your children are lucky and so are the rest of us Mommies to “know” you!

    One thing is for sure…our little ones are going to inherit a brilliant world that rewards collaboration, conscience, compassion, and creativity…not competition.

    When it comes to my daughter….I praise who she is far more than what she does.

    PS: I was a straight A student and graduated Valedictorian of my class and NOT once has that ever been a factor in my life…

  55. Glennon,
    I truly appreciate Craig’s and your “no bragging” policy. When I was a kid I was a straight A student and was the teacher’s pet pretty much every year of elementary school. No, I wasn’t a suck-up. It was more of a way to feel good about myself. See, my father was a very abusive alcoholic and my mother stayed with him for 17 years. During that time, she had me and my two sisters of whom I am the youngest. My father was a teacher (strange combination- alcoholic/teacher- I know) as was my mother. Grades were important to them as well and for a while they were my focus because I would get praised for them. As I grew older, I HATED the attention. Grades became this superficial measure of success. I developed a “been there, done that” attitude and by college I was done with grades.
    Ironically enough, I have been a teacher for 13 years now. Being on the other side of the report card, I know that grades cannot possibly tell how smart a kid is so bragging about grades remains superficial to me. (And don’t get me started on standardized testing!) As a parent of a five year old, I’ve found that I have to keep criticism and bragging to a minimum. Never do I want my son to think that I love him for what he can do. I don’t want him to think I love the grades more than I love him. He is enough. Do I praise him? Absolutely. He’s fabulous- there- I said it. He is who God made him to be. Do I ever get upset when other parents brag about their genius children? Nah, especially because as a teacher I’ve seen those geniuses in action doing things their parents would be embarrassed to admit (Boogers are not food- LOL). In the end, it’s all good. I keep things in perspective by remembering that the same God who made me, made my son, and the boogie-eating geniuses. So doesn’t that make us all equal??

  56. Thanks for starting an interesting and important conversation… In our house and many others!
    I think what I want our son to remember, whatever he does or doesn’t do is that he is God’s beloved child. And so is everyone else! That is what I hope we can hold onto, and that is more important than any accomplishments, even great acts of kindness.

  57. Great post, I agree with it wholeheartedly. I was thinking about it more and especially about facebook, which seems to exacerbate these tendencies in some people. My friends do not post about their childrens’ grades (thankfully) but some post about every little thing their child is doing. I was trying to figure out what bugged me about this. I think it is this inward focus, on my child, what he/she is doing every day bla bla bla. They never post about other children, other people, a more outward focus. So my thing is, what are they teaching their children? That they are the most important person in the world, the focus should be on them etc. Definitely not a Christian message in my book.

    Also children are in many ways a reflection of ourselves, our parenting. So bragging about your children is in some ways bragging about yourself. You are the best parent in the world, can’t you see little suzy’s grades!

    In my book, telling a kid you are proud of them is totally different than announcing it on facebook. One is for the kid, the other is for you.

    Great post Glennon!

  58. I loved this blog and I am joining. Could not agree more about the bragging. My children measure their success by what they choose to attain it. I have directed them to make the highest choices for their desired outcomes and they have acquired them. When they did we quietly celebrated their successes and may I add their failures which were the same. They could not succeed without failing and learning what choices they made for that specific outcome. I just want to thank you for your insight and I have to admit I saw a psychic medium who told me that I needed to read some mom blogs and get acquainted with them and it’s changed my life and inspired me to write.. BTW he was amazing if you are into that sort of thing. http://www.urbansageny.com.. he SKYPES and phones. and is really a nice guy with amazing insight. and I am grateful he led me here.

  59. I am newish to this blogspot and have enjoyed reading about your success with your book deal, growing fans, etc. and after reading these entries I can certainly understand why! I value your opinion already! It isn’t that I disagree completely with you on this pist as I understand your point here, but maybe I have a different feeling about bragging. I think we have become more “self centered” in many ways. I had this strange but awesome conversation with a random stranger while our kids were playing at a pool together while on vacation. He made this point about how when he was little, the entire town thought of you as “their own”, and now people only feel their own is their very own child. We are more self-centered, egocentric and interested in our own children and don’t delight in the honors of another child we have some sort of connection to – a friend’s child, a child in our neighborhood, etc. I couldn’t help but think that was a brilliant point and seemed so true. We “brag” about our own, but not so much other’s kids. Whereas in past times, the whole town or community was proud or bragged about the local football player’s scholarship, or the valedictorian that lived down the street, or the cute little girl that won the local beauty pageant or whatever. It is like a cosmic shift in thinking and I am uncertain as to the root cause of this shift, maybe it is because families move away from each other now whereas in past times we tended to live closer to one another giving it a feeling of knowing people just because of their last name. I just don’t know, but I do think it happened.
    I do have to say with 100% honesty, that I have never thought one time that when a parent posts about some achievement made by their child, my first thought is that I am happy for that parent/child. It has never ever made me feel inadequate as a parent, remotely jealous or anything but a warmth that another mom or dad takes such delight in their child’s accomplishments. I had never thought of someone else feeling this way, but it is obvious by the responses here that other parents can almost be insulted even by what they percieve as bragging. My mom often has said it isn’t bragging if it is the truth. She thinks people get bragging and facts mixed up. When your child is Valedictorian, it isn’t bragging to tell it, but a statement of a fact. Maybe that perception has molded my thoughts on bragging a bit in some way. She is more matter of fact about things like that, but perhaps that is not being sensitive enough. Or perhaps we should look in ourselves and our own lives for the beauty of our gifts and blessings, then we can enjoy the gifts and blessings of another’s life and share in their happiness with them instead of feeling like their happiness has anything to do with our lack of blessing in that particular area of our life. Does that make sense? A thought provoking post, and one that has made me more aware of postings I put on my Facebook wall. I do try to post the embarrassing stuff as well, and get 100 likes on those posts. For example, my husband took my family along for a business trip and we got to stay at the Ritz Carlton (which may sound like bragging and trust me, if it were on our own dime we wouldn’t be staying there!) but my post was about how my son (almost 5) shouted across the pool, “mom, I just went pee-pee in the pool”!! He has been potty trained for over 3 years now. So, I try and post the good, bad and ugly and I hope that helps if anyone feels like I am bragging about my kids! :)

    • I agree with your pool freind and I feel the same way, yesterday vs today. I also agree that a statement or fact is different than someone who is out and out boasting to “oomph” themselves. We know who they are. Anyway, I don’t feel the sense of community anymore. It has changed from “we” to “I” and “me”. Except for these Monkees. 😉

      My kids are grown so I can say that. I have seen the shift in people at least in my area. Since mine are not little anymore I could care less about the “Jones” anymore. I don’t see much tolerance or kindness anymore and that is sad. Very sad. Hopefully I’ll be dead and gone when the great US of A goes totally beserk and had lost all it’s morals and helpfulness.

    • I agree with you in that, when my friends post something about their kids that they are proud of, my first instinct is that is awesome, I’m proud of the little booger to! Because I am; I love my friends and thier kids. I’m happy when good things happen to them, and sad when hard things happen.
      It’s what friends do; I thought….but now I’m little paranoid.

  60. I can see your point, but I was a kid whose mom intentionally never bragged to me or about me within earshot. I was a model student and overachiever– yet my taste of accomplishment lacked the maternal approval I really wanted. She thought that I would just get it– how proud she was of me. But if a parent is willing to talk about their favorite sports team or their new favorite restaurant, they should also discuss (with the appropriate audience) the great stuff their kid brings to the world that only they can do. Being aware of someone else’s misfortunes and suffering is fine, but you can cheer on anything else that they do have going for them. That gratefulness can extend to anyone else. I agree that Facebook is not the place to make all of our kids’ accomplishments public. However, discussing your admiration of their hard work openly with the people that matter to your child is like fresh water in the desert to them. Try it sometime. Lisa

    • My parents were the same: no praise or acknowledgement to me and they NEVER ‘bragged’ to others. It was horrible and I think myself and my siblings worked excessively hard to try and gain that praise. When I think back to the things we have all accomplished and how little was made of these successes, I get sad for all of us. I won’t do that to my children. I let them know when I see their success, whether it be a goal in soccer, a well written story, or making peace with a classmate. I don’t brag (A LOT) to others, but I acknowledge my pride to them always:)

    • I see your point. I also see her point.

  61. I have been on FB for about 4 yrs now, what I notice is that my friends from Ireland post funny stories about their children, some post mishaps that happened to them or a funny picture of kids with food all over their faces. On the other hand, the majority of my American friends LOVE to ‘post & boast” as I call it- it’s always a prefect pictue of a perfect child. I think it’s a cultural thing.

    • I too have noticed this clear difference… I grew up in Ireland in a happy healthy home… I can’t even remember my parents ever praising me or boasting about my accomplishments… Though I always felt completely loved…. I’ve grown into a normal well adjusted adult … Many of my friends here constantly need to share how amazing their kids are… I’m just really happy to have three ‘average’ kids who are ‘mostly’ kind and thoughtful…

  62. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! You continue to perfectly write my thoughts, exactly! Ha!

  63. It’s not a judgment when you say how something they did made you feel happy, glad grateful. It becomes a personal reaction of yours and not a judgment on them.

    I got an ouchy when you said that if your child is in your basement in his thirties you will have to redefine success. Why do we have to define success? This is a human being with a soul that has a huge history and a very long future. You can’t categorize a human like that. I have family that would fall into that category and it has forced me to take a look at what I consider a successful person. Labeling like that at all is a problem. Let’s stop it all together.

  64. I think the thing that makes it different in today’s world than even 5 years ago is Facebook, Twitter, and all forms of social media. For years, parents have been celebrating their child’s accomplishments, but 99% of the time it was solicited. You’d be having a telephone-coffee date with a friend, and she would ask how little Johnny’s doing in school/soccer/church, and you tell her, and you ask about her kids in turn. That could be considered bragging, but really it’s answering the question and being a good friend. Because let’s face it, as parents, our children are a large part of our idenity.

    Now, thanks to social media, you can put the information out there for everyone to see without anyone asking for it, and people are “forced” to hear it (and yes, “forced” may not be the best choice of word here, but when I scroll through my friends’ status updates, it’s not like I can filter out those talking about their kids). So, people may feel bombarded with how wonderful everyone else’s children are doing and perhaps internalize it differently then the messenger intended.

    I’m the parent of a special needs child who has considerible physical disabilities, and I’ve felt hurt more times than I can remember reading my friends’ celebrations about their kids. But I have to remind myself that the person celebrating isn’t doing so to hurt me. Just because my son can’t play soccer doesn’t mean my friend in California shouldn’t post about her son’s great performance in his soccer game because it may make me feel sad. In the same vein, I know many families with children with similar, or worse, issues as my son, and it doesn’t stop me from joyfully proclaiming that my son sat by himself for 30 minutes on the floor (which was a huge accomplishment) or that he was able to self-propel in a new walker. I know it may sadden some people, but those friends also know that I’m not making those comments at their child’s expense.

    To make a long story short, I think the unsolicited nature of sharing can make it appear to be bragging, when it’s not.

  65. Wow! I love your blog. You have the gift to find truths that are deep within my soul, even though I haven’t always realized they were there.

    So bragging…I agree with everything you wrote, especially the exception – posting about your daughter’s kindness. There is another strange form of “bragging” I’ve encountered on the internet – especially on FB. Posting about medical issues. I’m not sure what I think about it, but it is something I’ve decided I don’t do. In the NICU there is a phrase, “preemier than thou.” It breaks my heart to think that parents in crisis could hurt each other by minimizing each other’s suffering. My son has had his share of health challenges this year, but I never post about them on FB. To start with, it is his personal information – yes, he’s 6 months old, but I don’t know how long that information will be out there. In addition, I know there are other parents who would cut off their own limbs if their child “only” had the issues my son has. …and I don’t want to trivialize parents who are scared, hurting or sad about their children’s health problems, even if they seem minor (to me) in comparison. It is so hard to parent a child who is hurting and I understand about reaching out for support, but not at the cost of trivializing another parent’s suffering.

    • This really touched me. As mum to a child who spent his first three months in ICU and another 3 months in hospital in his first year, I knew *exactly* what you meant by preemier than thou. It is very awkward to be on both sides of that line, the child who is doing “better” than other children and the child who just keeps struggling when others are moving on. Thank you for sharing such insight and sensitivity as you put words to this experience.

  66. You nailed it, Glennon. Thanks for living thoughtfully and so inspiring the rest of us, too. And way to GO, Tish!!

  67. As a teacher and as a parent, I couldn’t agree with your philosophy more. Great, fabulous, wonderful, terrific post. Amen!

  68. Sometimes the posts I most want to comment on are the ones that leave me speechless. This is one of those posts. Bravo. I hope to carry this attitude in to my own family.

  69. The bunny/carrot drawing sums it up perfectly, well done!

  70. “Snooki DID get a book deal” — Ah, yes. Things like that remind us that all in life does not make sense. Still, you should be proud! But grateful will certainly do.

  71. Oh. for the first time, I heartily disagree with your post. I think we should celebrate successes (and acknowledge failures), of ourselves as well as our children. The problem is not “bragging,” but comparison. Comparing ourselves to others becomes toxic for all involved. The answer is not to hide and put up walls. It’s to stop comparing.

    But I’m an idealist, not a realist.

    There’s a poem, “Our Deepest Fear,” by Marianne Williamson, quoted by Nelson Mandela, about having the courage to be great. I’m not sure I agree with her entirely, but I agree that many of us are afraid to be great — probably because it’s socially inappropriate. And I wish that could stop! Hiding our own light because it might make someone else feel bad is still hiding our light. Isn’t the answer to celebrate the light of everyone?

    And the thing is, success IS relative. If we truly accepted that, someone else’s success wouldn’t make us feel badly about ourselves. Success for one child might be scholastic, for another coping with a disability, for another kindness. Couldn’t we all celebrate what is great about our unique child (and self)?

    And true, when I’m agonizing because my child has an obstacle I wish I could remove, other people and situations might trigger my pain. But it’s pain I’ve got to work through. It’s grief and loss that comes with lost expectations. That grief will be there whether someone else celebrates their own abilities or not.

    Sadly, I probably do offend people when I rejoice in my child. I don’t mean to. But like someone else commented, I celebrate him out of my own joy and delight, without thought of comparing to anyone else. In that rational state of mind, I’ve found I can rejoice with other moms about their kids as well.

    As I said earlier, this is my ideal, not my ever-present ability nor reality. But an ideal I like to strive for.

    • “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

      i don’t for one second think that G’s message is saying to hide your light or dull your shine or more importantly your chilren’s lights/shine. but to mindful of how we shine our light.

      i do think marianne’s inspiring words are appropriate here. because i do find it interesting that we (people) are so quick to empathize during tragedy or heartache or over sad things (misery loves company?), but not in joyful moments (sometimes)? is this a reflection on the person who is sharing their joyful news or on us and our ability to receive it and share in their joy?

      i want to cry with my friends, pray with them, love with them and celebrate with them. all the ups and downs. the good and the bad and the ugly. a delicate balance… and trying to impart that wisdom to little people… a mighty challenge.

      btw, i heart marianne williamson. A LOT. she is also the author of one of my go to i am woman hear me roar books: a woman’s worth. read it men and women everywhere!

      • I did’nt know this poem, but it is beautiful and rings true to me, thank you. It says better than I could have said what I’ve been thinking about letting our light shine :

        And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

        It’s like saying “Hey, look what I did : if I can do it, you certainly can do it too !” in state of “Hey, look how great I am : admire me !” …

        In the end, it all comes to the difference between “I am like you” and “I am better than you”

  72. OH this is a struggle for me! I often hate to read my friend’s blogs because it’s all gushy-mushy “My kids are awesome” stuff and it makes me want to vomit. Honestly! It feels like the online community–FB, blogs, whatever, has become just another way for us as women to one-up each other…”I ran 2 jillion miles in half an hour today!” “I volunteered for 50 new things this afternoon!” “My kid is better than yours because of a, b, and c!” I confess to being SO guilty of this myself. But sometimes I do it just because I want to be like “Hey! Over here! I’m not so bad myself! And my kids ARE better than your kids! So there!!” I mean, everyone thinks that their kids are the best in the world, right? Can’t we just agree on that and move on and stop talking about it incessantly? Some things are definitely to be celebrated. But I believe there’s a little meanie inside all of us that posts braggy stuff because we KNOW it will make someone else feel bad. And as much as we may hate to admit it, there’s a little evil part of us that feels GOOD when someone else feels bad. There, I said it. Does that make me horrible to admit that? So I try to limit my FB comments about my kids or my own accomplishments. Because I know my motives and most of the time they are FAR from pure. Far. FAR. And I won’t even start about how ridiculously over-praised kids are these days. I’m no Tiger Mom but she had some VERY valid points in that book. It’s worth thinking about.

    • It absolutely does not make you horrible to say what a lot, if not all, of us are thinking (either consciously or not). Fellow moms on fb and elsewhere have made comments that are clearly passive-aggressive digs at mothers doing things another way, it’s really making me want to get away from fb and blogs completely.

    • Agree with your comment on so many levels. Yes, yes, yes.

    • It’s a little bit horrible to post comments that purposely hurt another person. Just a reality check. If you are doing this…you kinda suck, and you should stop.

  73. Please fellow monkees, please indulge me as I add more than my two cents here. I wrote a poem that is sort of related to this discussion thread called “awesome”. it was inspired by facebooking, values, success and all that jazz:


    when i was born i was awesome. my mom and dad tell me i always commanded attention and could howl and scream into the dark all through the night without stopping. by second grade i memorized my nursery rhymes in my second language. and by fourth grade i could write my name in cursive. my full name, first middle and last. i learned my times tables ten times as fast as the other kids. i understood what a hypothesis was within minutes of my teacher telling me what it meant. i’ve been mix matching philosophies, methods, theorems, experiments and experiences ever since. by junior high i tested pavlov’s theory on cerberus in a comic strip format for creative writing. in ninth grade i was fluent in english, french curse words, chose a german name and could fake a virginia southern belle accent. at fifteen i could mountain bike and skate board, skin my knees and get back up to go down hill even faster. between 18 and 20, i discovered spring break and a debit card. i backpacked europe. i danced and drank caribbean rum. i swapped out unicorn sticker collections for CD collections with artists like coltrane, pink floyd, patsy cline, leonard cohen, bob marley and the smashing pumpkins. i convinced a fancy engineering department to pass me, and an engineering firm to hire me. it wasn’t fancy. i later financed a small sedan and then a townhouse in the suburbs. after that i was unstoppable. i was the american dream. i ate vegetarian dinners in five star restaurants, shopped at organic farmer’s markets, paid for cable television, made charitable contributions, held short conversations at parties because dialogue had long been dead and everyone preferred tweeting what was happening anyway. i won’t twitter but that hasn’t slowed me down one bit. i might pick up golf on the weekends, go to church on sundays besides christmas or easter, spring clean, tivo oprah’s last season and write about it in a blog, buy a lottery ticket because its an american pastime then drive a mercedes benz convertible with a cream leather interior and sparkle my bling in your face. unstoppable. totally awesome.

  74. I agree to a certain extent – however I wonder how much of a “need” for praise is genetically, fundamentally imbued to us as humans. Being made in God’s image, we can simply look to the original, unflawed basis of our design and see a Creator who loves, desires and DEMANDS praise and worship. Obviously we are NOT God and NOT worthy of anything resembling the level of praise he deserves. Nonetheless, I would make an argument that achieving a healthy level of direct praise that balances intent, effort and outcome is an integral element of parenting.

  75. I agree with your friend! Brag away! Let your kids hear how much you like them! it makes them feel soooooo good! And we all need to feel that way more often!

  76. Sometimes when I post something on FB or share with someone other than my kid’s grandma, it is to share my joy! There have been other times when it’s involved bragging. The difference is what’s in my heart/head. But, as far as keeping things private to avoid hurting someone else, I don’t know… It’s an interesting idea. It kind of takes responsibility for other people’s feelings a lot. I mean, who knows who will be reading or hearing it and what they would think. Someone else may be happy for you/your kids. I think bragging in front of someone who you KNOW would be hurt, would definitely be a careless and hurtful thing to do, but holding back everything at the possibility of hurting others. But wait, I just remembered that your blog is read by so many people that there is bound to be someone who would be hurt by their loss. Like so many other people said, every parent is different & every child is different. It’s nice for me to see that so many of us parents are just trying to do what is best for our kids & family! That is a good sign! Love!

  77. Guilty as charged.
    I sometimes share on FB about the athletic accomplishments of my daughters. I even post videos. Crap. I’m an offender of the worst sort, aren’t I?

    They are all 3 competitive gymnasts, and naturally gifted at the sport. My hubby and I feel blessed by this, and are incredibly proud of them :-) The reason I share, or ‘brag’–I actually abhor that word–is because my entire family lives 2000+ miles away from me, but they are all on FB and that’s how we communicate easily. I’ve honestly never considered the feelings of my other mom friends with respect to my postings because they do the same about their little ones. We virtually “high five” each other through “likes” and smiley comments. I promise to be more aware, because right now I feel like a complete schmuck.

    As far as grades go, the hubby and I feel the same as you and Craig do. If we know the girls are trying their best, then that is good enough for us. Our oldest struggles with math, but aces all the other subjects. Math is, quite literally, a bitch for her. It was for me too, so I am very forgiving. Our middle is one of those kids who gets A’s without trying. She has, I think, a photographic memory, which will come in handy as she meanders through her life. Our youngest daughter, is only in Kindergarten. Interested in learning, enjoys school, has lots of friends. And I pay painstaking attention to the “citizenship, effort and behavior” grades. So far, we have been able to celebrate every report card. Can’t ask for more than that, right? :-)

  78. Lots of responses to this! I’m not surprised at all. It’s a subject that people feel strongly about. As I’ve thought about it, here are my feelings.

    Every child is different. Every parent is different. Every child needs to feel loved in different ways. I have two boys that are VERY different from each other. I want them to feel loved for being who they ARE. Not by comparing them to each other. My oldest is very smart with school things. He remembers everything. My second son doesn’t remember things easily, but he is amazingly athletic. Do I love either one more? No.

    I don’t think it’s the praising or lack of praising that’s important. I think it’s what we SAY to our children about it. What they understand by our being “proud”. By TELLING them that I am proud of them for getting an A on a test, but in the same breath TELLING them that I would have been proud of them if they had gotten a C or an F. By TELLING them that I’m proud of them for scoring a goal in the game, but in the same breath TELLING them that I would be proud of them if they hadn’t scored ANY goals. The point coming across that I am PROUD of them for everything that they are. That I LOVE them no matter what.

    I often tell my kids that I love them NO MATTER WHAT. Always. No matter what they do or who they are. I might not always love the choices they make, but that changes NOTHING about my love for them.

    Those are my thoughts. I think that everyone thinks differently and feels differently because of the way they were raised. They way they felt as a child.

  79. I am new to Momastery and am just loving it here. I just wanted to say to you, Glennon, that I notice you consider yourself highly sensitive. I, too, am this way and I’ve marveled over the years at how the word “sensitive” is at once a weakness and a strength.

    Being sensitive often means being hyper-sensitive, meaning your feelings get hurt very easily. This has always been considered a weakness in my world–perhaps because my parents considered it that way. And truthfully, it’s not a great trait to have in a business setting or with friends, really, because you can find yourself always upset, or you can make people feel you’re weak, need to be handled delicately, etc., which may grow tiresome.

    But yet “sensitive” also means you are keenly attuned to other people’s feelings, and that is very positive–it means you’re caring, empathetic, kind.

    So I’ve wrestled with this term for myself for many years, trying to decide if it makes me special or meek or crazy. I think perhaps all three! :)

    One of the things that came to mind when I read your post is that, because you are sensitive in the positive way, you have chosen to be so very careful about what you say and do so as to not hurt anyone. It’s an admirable quality, truly.

    Yet as a fellow sensitive type, I’ve also learned that just because I am sensitive does not mean I am perfect. In expressing my own joy, amusement, outrage, pride or sadness, particularly in a public forum like Facebook, I just might hurt someone. It would be entirely unintentional on my part, and very upsetting to me if I knew who I hurt and how. But I realize it may happen because for everything we say, every opinion we express, every story we tell, there’s the potential for another “sensitive” person to take offense, feel jealous, internalize the message, what have you.

    And so I realized that I can’t go through life never saying anything at all out of fear of hurting someone. Then I wouldn’t be me. I’m a writer and a communicator, both professionally and deeply in my soul–it’s what I get paid to do but more importantly, it’s what I am MEANT to do. To silence myself out of fear of ever hurting another sensitive soul would be to “hide my light” (thinking of the verse of scripture about letting your light shine…) And I would be entirely pent up, unhappy, unfulfilled. I would also deprive the people in my life from enjoying me and my unique gifts, just as I enjoy them and their unique gifts.

    So the answer for me has been to be as impeccable as possible with my word and my words, and never intentionally say anything to hurt or offend, but to also accept that I just might hurt of offend through the sheer act of expressing my thoughts, and to forgive myself for it if I do. AND, to forgive others if they hurt or offend me.

    I believe you should feel free to share honestly whatever is in your heart–whether you’re proud of your children’s grades, their effort, their achievements, their citizenry or their joyful spirits. People who care about you will want to be a part of that. And if it happens to make another person envious or makes them feel inadequate, know that you did not intend that outcome, and forgive yourself for being any part of it. Then move on. And by all means, keep expressing your joy, because clearly, we all love it!

    • Love it Megan! You’ve put into words what I have been struggling with. “Intention”….yes!!!

      • Thank you, SandraA! Have you ever read Stephen Covey’s observation that we judge ourselves by our intentions but we judge others by their actions? I found this to be such a profound revelation when I first stumbled upon it. After giving it much thought, I decided it rang very true for me. With this in mind, I first try not to judge anyone at all. But if I feel the need to judge, even silently, to consider and deeply ponder the person’s intentions rather than their actions before making the judgment. The exercise is really powerful. As a highly sensitive person, it has given me a tool to become less frustrated, hurt, confused, offended, etc. by others in almost every situation. When I look at their intentions and put their actions aside, I can almost always find goodness (and likewise, if I conclude that someone’s intentions were actually bad, I’m more clearly and confidently able to put some distance between us.)

    • Well put, Megan. I’ve been thinking about this post. I’m not sure if it is really about praise or lack of praise for kids and parents’ decisions about it both at home and in the public eye, or an anthropological study about facebook, “facebragging” specifically. I’m sure our social behaviors around public praise in many forums find their way into Facebook too. It can be another vehicle we use to judge others, ourselves, compete with one another, etc. Or it could be true sharing.

      I have a lot of conflicted feelings here. I think that so many people think little of themselves enough already, so the more ways we can build each other up in positive ways the better. And that that starts at home. But I recognize that there needs to be a delicate balance between building someone’s ego up positively without destroying others. There are ways to celebrate “healthy happy” kids with a good life without hurting others who are living a less than picture perfect ideal life that we might think. My family and friends in Africa will often respond to a lot of my complaints with, “First world problem, talk to us when you got real issues”… it stops and makes me think all the time, but I don’t let it take away from whatever it is I decide is a real issue in my life as I know it :)

      I think my parents have done (and are still doing) a great job. We were taught the lessons that praise is earned, and even when it is earned the “right way” it may never be acknowledged, no matter how much you worked hard for it or scream for it. And that that is okay if you feel good about what you’ve done be it academic, behavioral, spiritual, or whatever. Remember why you are doing whatever it was at all. That is more important.

      In addition to these (and many other) lessons about pride/praise/etc., one really important lesson my parents taught us was that you can’t let anyone else define success for you. EVER. That was a danger zone. That meant living for someone else and that wouldn’t work. EVER.

      Other reasons for my conflicting feelings, as a writer, I believe you need to have an insane ego. I have to believe that I have something worth saying, writing, sharing. I have to believe in what I write. Back every word because it comes straight from my bones and soul. (I’m melodramatic… I’m a poet, forgive me)

      Now ego is a bad word to some but I strongly believe it equally encompasses both the negative “conceit” that comes to mind for many AND the more positive “self-esteem”. And the latter is lacking. Boy, if more people loved themselves and had a healthy EGO the world would be in a better place. Maybe we, as society would place more emphasis on the peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind in each and every one of us rather than the money, houses, cars, popularity, etc. that we use to build up our sense of worth.

      So facebook… what an anthropoligical study gem. When I first joined one of my friends said be sure to write witty posts, so you get a lot of likes and comments. I’ll help you pick out out perfect pics to share… etc. I thought to myself great… here I go signing myself up for another vehicle where we can all judge each other, compete against each other, etc. I named one of my first albums, “My Niece is Cuter Than Yours”… this came off as snooty and crazy to some, but to those who really knew me, they took it as my commentary and knee jerk reaction to the FB world. If we were facebragging, i was going to humorously (i had hoped) go all in. I figured if this what was FB was all about, then let me join the superficial party… but then I started to think. Maybe like all things, it will be what I put into it. I can talk about the causes I love and support, I can connect with friends and family I may have lost touch with. Let me not dismiss this a big old yearbook competition. Who gets the most signatures, likes, friends, etc. wins. Let me make this FB that works for me. I do want to share in my friends and family’s ups and downs, however much they want to share it on FB.

      Okay, I’m rambling… I’ll stop here. Just wanted to say that you made a great point.

      Glennon, this is another great post! Making me think real hard and I’m not even a parent! I can’t imagine the task of shaping a little person in the world. I’m an aunt and I get it a little, but it’s really not the same. What a challenge you mamas and papas face, glad there are so many who mindful of how to navigate this territory for their own children/families and for others in the greater human family. This is all part of how we need to nurture and love on one another.

      There I’ve said enough. Bye y’all, I gotta work!

      Okay, I’m rambling.

    • “So the answer for me has been to be as impeccable as possible with my word and my words, and never intentionally say anything to hurt or offend, but to also accept that I just might hurt of offend through the sheer act of expressing my thoughts, and to forgive myself for it if I do. AND, to forgive others if they hurt or offend me.”

      Me Too, sister, Me Too.

    • Like this comment too :)

  80. I can’t remember my mom saying “I am proud of you”. Her words have always been “I did’nt expect less from you”. I know NOW that this was her way telling me how proud she was, but as a kid, all I heard was “The best you can give is the less I expect”. It depressed me because I thought that I could never ever give her more than she would have expected ! How could she ever be proud of me if the BEST I could do was just the LOWEST result she was waiting for ? How could I surmount her expectations, how could I surprise her by being better than she thougt I would be ?
    Of course I knew sho loved me, because, you know, she’s my mom, moms do love their children, it’s nature, they kind of have to. But I also knew that love and pride don’t necessarely go hand in hand.
    Let’s be fair : I was kid number 4, long long after number 3, and Sister 2 was VERY smart. But in time Sister 2 was born, my Mom was so young and isolated from other moms that she did’t really realize HOW smart Sister 2 actually was ! So she took it for regular. Maybe, after that, having a “normally” gifted child or two showed her the difference. And we just had to look at her being amazed of Sister 2. It was hard, but it is a part of who I am now, it shaped me.
    My struggle now is to not be too much like Sister 2, because she has a character that is faaaar away from Monkeedom. I love her because, you know, she’s my Sister and I wish her no harm, but I realized with time that we are too different, and that both of us are happier if we don’t get too close. We hurt each other all the time, and I don’t wish to hurt her, nor being hurt by her. She has a family of her own now, she is happy, that is all that counts for me. I am too. Let there be peace.

    • Frenchie,

      Wow. My mom has started to say these EXACT things to her grandchildren…MY KIDS! Whenever I tell her their accomplishments, or they themselves tell her of them, she responds with “well, I didn’t expect anything else.” Nothing takes the wind out of your sail than that response. I internally sigh and go to my dad who instead acts genuinally enthused, even though he has heard these accomplishments before. Feel your pain girl.

  81. Hello–I am a long time reader, first time responder. I have four children, and if I sent you our family photo you would quickly become aware of two things–they are not all biologically mine and some of them have needs that are not typical. Having one child with autism, another that soars through school, one with athletic prowess and one with a muscle disorder, we are very careful of what we consider worth comment and praise. Book smarts and athleticism are God-given gifts, and it is right to be grateful for them. Kindness and compassion are choices of the heart which will win me over every time. At report card time I tell my children that I know they are working hard, also a choice, and I am proud of them for that, no matter what letter is in the little blank. Have you heard of Tom Pease–children’s artist? If you are able, listen to his song, “So Many Ways to be Smart” It was like our family’s theme song.
    And as the mother who left two parent teacher conferences in tears and with an aching heart, and then came home to read on FB how everyone had fantastic children with fantastic conferences, I want to thank you for your compassion. God bless.

  82. Right on as usual, G. Another thing that really bothers me, being someone who has both suffered through infertility and the loss of a child from cancer is when moms say things about how much their children bug them. I’ve seen moms on the last day of school start counting the days until the first day of school in the fall. I’ve seen them post about how they want to sell their children at their garage sale, and all sorts of other painful things. I understand every mom has days and moments that try her patience (I have four boys – ’nuff said) and hopefully people are just trying to be funny about it. But when I read these things, it just reminds me how much I would give for one more day with my precious son. One of the reasons Momastery is such a breath of fresh air among mom blogs is that you don’t bitch meanly about your kids like some others do. Thanks for your gentleness.

    • Kathy, I appreciate how you feel and it’s nice to get your perspective. However, I am a mom who is barely making it through the day without crying because of the challenge my 3-year-old is right now. I have posted on fb, jokingly, about trading him off. I was just looking for understanding and needing an outlet for the ache I feel. Perhaps it’s not the best way, but I’m not the best. I’m just trying. Ease up on the people that have different challenges than you. They need gentleness too.

    • Thank you Kathy for that much needed perspective. I have been guilty of making comments like that myself. And I have also been hurt by people’s bragging about their children’s accomplishments when I have a daughter with special needs who will never enjoy those types of accomplishments so I can somewhat relate to the pain you must feel when you read things like that. I hear you.

  83. It’s so strange reading your post today. Those have been my EXACT feelings on the subject of bragging on your kids. I never brag on grades, but I think it is ok for your child to hear you telling other people about nice things your child has done for someone else. Praising them for being good and caring people really is important. Every time the moms from my son’s school post their children’s GPAs on facebook, it makes me wonder what am I doing wrong. I guess the bottom line is that just as every child is different, every parent is different. I have to believe that my “different” is ok.

  84. There is some super interesting research that completely backs this theory up. I came across it a couple years ago in a book called Nurture Shock and it blew my mind. It so goes against what I would have thought and yet when I read it it completely rang true to me. Here’s a link that talks about some of the research about this. We talk to our son about how hard he tried instead of the outcome – and we started doing that all because of this research. LOVE this post! Laughed out loud about the “we’ll see if our kids are all living in our basement in their late 30s” part because I think that sometimes. Going against the old (broken) grain is always a little risky but somebodys gotta do it!

    Heres the link:

    • Glennon, seriously read this book that Ginger has referenced, Nurture Shock. It is a phenomenal read. You’re hitting the nail on the head when it comes to your attitude about grades. Praise the work that they did to earn the grade they got…that is something they can control. If you praise their “smartness” or “awesomeness” this is says that this trait is outside of them, and may be taken away.

  85. Hi Glennon, I love this post. I, too, am tired of the braggers. I, too, consider success to be not just straight A’s– but being able to get along in the world– having friends, being KIND and having empathy. Those are traits worth bragging about. My 6 year old is speech-delayed. I don’t know when/if she will be in a position to present at a science fair, so yes, it absolutely devastates me when I see others bragging about their kids science fair projects. I have high hopes for her and she’s come so far, but sometimes her being able to tell me about her day is a miracle. I don’t post it on FB because I don’t want others to judge– but her telling me about her day is ice cream deserving… not necessarily a report card of straight A’s.

  86. While I appreicate the comments for and against bragging…I think most people on here have lost sight of what “bragging” actually is. Celebrating accomplishments is not bragging. Praising your child in front of others is not bragging. Sharing joy is not bragging. Those things are about sharing life and love.

    Bragging is different than sharing your joy. Bragging is that person on facebook (or at church, or at the supermarket)…that can’t go 10 mintues without telling you how awesome their kid is. Not because they are proud of something their kid has accomplished and want to share the joy, but because they get off on others knowing that their kid did something great.

    Bragging is that person who doesn’t just say “Yay! Billy scored a goal at the soccer game! I’m so proud of him!” but instead feels the need to say “My Billy is so amazing he scored a goal even though he’s the youngest person on the team because he’s such a talented athlete and is clearly a star player!”

    Bragging is that person who, when I shared my joy that at 10 months old my baby finally got her first tooth, felt the need to remind me that her little guy already had 6 teeth by the same age.

    That is bragging. Bragging puts others down to build the bragger up. Bragging is seeking praise from others who aren’t freely giving it.

    And, I think my examples are extreme… I think all people brag a little bit every now and then, and as others have stated that is probably not necessarily a bad thing in iteself. But, let’s all just take a minute to recognize that sometimes bragging hurts others… and be conscious of it.

    Let’s also recognize that we all know those people who are so incredibly annoying with their bragging it’s irritating, and vow not to become like that.

  87. WoW!!! I am SUCH a bragger I have to admit! However, after reading your article, I will think long and hard about ‘what’ I choose to brag about. I am so dog-on PROUD of my children.. They are just plain AWESOME.. but would I love them any less if they were not so awesome? NO. And to be honest, they aren’t always so awesome… the tantrums, bad attitudes and fits are part of their everyday life & at that time, I don’t brag quite so much.. :) But my heart overflows everyday for my babies.
    Also, how right you are….I do notice my how my 11yr old daughter runs to me to show me a ‘good’ ‘grade and how she withers away when she brings home a ‘not so good’ one. She feels me and her dad will be disappointed and possibly our love will somehow be lessend? What must we be teaching her?
    This has given me alot to think about. I appreciate your insight and thoughts!

    • And now you’ve got me thinking…..I am not so much a bragger, but a complainer of my kids. If I “share” the struggles with my children’s attitues and tantrums, why shouldn’t I share more of their accomplishments? I am proud of who they are every day, even if its not a good day.

      • I’m with you Beth… I’m so busy trying to be humble and focusing, sadly, on the negative. I need to use positive reinforcement more. I loved this post and I’m loving the comments too!

  88. A very good friend of ours is a play therapist. We did a ‘parent-child relationship training CPR-T class she was running as she offered it for free to us, as friends, and we said yes, as we are prone to do when free things are offered. One of the biggest thing the fancy play therapist said who is so famous I can’t remember his name, is not to praise our children. That praise continues to make children feel their love in conditional, while honest acknowledgement ‘you worked hard on that’ ‘you’re proud of the grade you got’ are much, much more affirming to a child and help them develop instrinsic motivation. I could go on, as there is a lot more in this whole line of though – but suffice to say, I’m right there with you AND you have research to back you up (b/c like any psychologist he does research)…which I could find if desired. I’m just too lazy to email my friend right now to ask. I have noticed an incredible difference when we tell our boys what we notice, rather than what we think. When we take a moment to really hunker down to their level to see how frustrated, or excited, or confused they are by something and just reflect that back to them. I remember the first time we ‘tried it’ on my nephew, he was about 7 and my husband, after listening to him talk about a project at school (I think) said, ‘you really worked hard on that’. He visibly straightened a bit taller, his eyes lit up a bit more, and he said ‘ya, I did!’…suddenly so much more proud of himself. That’s a gift. It’s not that we can’t give our kids praise, but I think being really noticed and affirmed runs much deeper than praise.

    • Isnt “You worked hard on that” or “You are proud of the grade you got” a form of praise?

    • I think the research to which you are referring encourages parents to praise only things that are under a childs control, not intrinsic characteristics. So “im so proud, you worked really hard on that” really encourages and motivates children, but “you got a good grade, I’m so proud of how smart you are” is not effective. A child can’t change their intelligence. They can change their effort. There are multiple studies to support this.

  89. My oldest (14) is a straight a student. He doesn’t try, he is polite, wonderful kid that every teacher wants.

    My second oldest (11) is a c-d student at best. He tries his hardest and still needs a lot of help. He is a very sweet and loving boy who is friends with everyone and who is always willing to help.

    Both of my boys are “brag worthy”. I don’t talk much about them with other moms.

    My second son doesn’t have a diagnosis but he has 10 markers for aspbergers. It hurts my heart when people say that I am so lucky to have my oldest son because he must be easy, and how hard my second son must be. Guess what BOTH of my boys are “brag worthy”.

    Side note I have 2 girls too but they are another story :)

  90. I’m glad to see multiple reactions posted, and not just “Yes, G. you are right, and awesome.”
    Because I feel it is dangerous to always base what we say on what others might think. And I say that as one who, like the rest of us, has suffered many pains in life, as well as experienced many joys.
    I have had many friends and family share their pregnancy success while I was in the throes of infertility. And I don’t think that just because I felt pain meant they shouldn’t share their joy. There are cycles in life.
    Part of friendship and community and family is sharing in and accepting both the pains and the joys of others. If we can’t share our joy because we’re worried that others might be hurt or think it’s bragging, then the people we are talking with do not truly love us.

    • I once heard “Anyone can be sorry for you if you are feeling bad, but it takes a real friend to be happy for you if something good happens to you” Is it what you meant ? I totally agree :-)

    • I SO LOVE this post. A real test of character is being able to see through your own pain to celebrate someone’s happiness or through your own happiness, feeling someone’s pain. If adults cannot do this, how will our kids ever learn?

    • I love this response. I find I’m hurt when I don’t get to hear the successes of relatives and friends children. I have a SIL with whom I am close but never tells me about her children’s successes. I find myself wondering why I don’t get to share the joy. Am I not “close enough/important enough” to hear the exiting news. To me it feels exclusionary, not protective. I want to share and be shared with. Both the good and bad. That to me is what community and family are all about

  91. What a thought provoking post! I have to say, I think what really stood out for me was that you seem to place more value on the compassion and effort your kids put into things rather than their “achievements” in school, or sports, or anything else that you can be awarded a medal for. My first child is just over 1, so we haven’t had too much to brag about, and I can’t say for certain how we’ll handle things down the line. But I love that you guys placed extra emphasis on being a good person and making somebody new and lonely feel accepted, because that’s the kind of thing that RARELY gets acknowledged in life, but really probably should be. The world could use more caring empathetic people, and maybe it’s time we all did a little more congratulating when our children show that they’re understanding that concept, and spend a little less time worrying about what their report card says. Are they doing their best, in all aspects of their life? Then I’d say that’s pretty successful, so matter what grades they get :)

  92. Thanks so much for this thought-provoking post. I will think twice when I just so happen to “mention” my kid getting into honors English after reading this. Something I will work on for sure. Thanks for the kindness and honesty all wrapped up in one. Makes it easier to take when you realize maybe you’re not being so kind yourself.
    Keep it up!

    • Mention away! It’s a great accomplishment for your kid.

      Somewhere in this world there is a kid that struggles with English, and another that is a genius in it. Such is life.

  93. Soooooo, does this mean you don’t think Snookie deserved her book deal?!?! LOL-could not resist! Good fodder for discussion and evaluation, Glennon!

  94. This is the reason I didn’t post on Facebook that I was pregnant or make my profile picture my ultrasound or pregnant belly. For all of my friends who are struggling to find a partner, get pregnant, have a positive adoption match, be OK with the decision to not have kids, or anything in between, it strikes me as cruel to log in and be hit over the head with those visuals. I think there is a way to celebrate my joys without reminding someone else of her sadnesses, and Facebook doesn’t seem the way to do it.

    Thank you, as always, for another thought-provoking piece, Glennon!

    P.S. Glennon, I went to UVA with Sister and have read/watched you from afar — so happy to “meet” you on these pages and grateful that your share your gifts with the world.

    • Abby,
      Wow, you are a sensitive person (in a great way!) I think it is good to share the major events in your life with your friends and family. And major events can range from a health pregnancy to really tough days with the kids to catastrophic losses. I respect the fact that you are sensitive to those who do not have children. Some of the women closest to me have not met the right partner or have not been able to become mothers for a variety of reasons. I feel like we enter this club when we become moms and the world of mommy blogs and facebook “brags” and photos can alienate some of closest sisters. We obsess about children and parenting sometimes and lose sight of life outside of being parents.

  95. Thanks for this recent blog! It has really made me think about what others may think about what I may have said or posted about my children. I usually am careful as to what I say or post but now even more so just knowing that yes, there may be some feelings ‘hurt’.
    I myself have two very different boys. One who is very academic and athletic and the other who has speech apraxia and low muscle tone, and an array of problems with his legs. These problems have somewhat affected his academics and athletics but sometimes I find it hard not to ‘ brag’ when he’s made a goal in soccer or finally started reading because of his struggles. But most people are so happy with us because they know of his situation. But like you said, maybe it’s not bragging, maybe it’s being grateful. Maybe theres a fine line between the two sometimes.
    Thanks again for your blog. For all of them. They are very insightful!!

  96. i think there are positives and negatives to every situation. in answer to your question “will this hurt anyone” if you apply the same line of thinking in your article, the friends’ parents your daughter was with at that time may be thinking “why wasnt my daughter the one welcoming the boy? did we not raise her to be a warm, caring, and inviting person?” as a parent, i certainly hope that our society is not so self-centered that we all cannot take joy in a child’s accomplishments–whether they are our child or not. i also hope everyone could agree that “accomplishment” has different meaning for each and every child AND parent. but if that how we have evolved, and we do go down the road of not praising our children publicly, we need to be careful of what this means in the future.

    i almost feel like its part of human nature to love and want praise–it is kind of a self check that you are on the road you want to be on. i am sure when someone says you are a great writer, it makes you feel good, especially in a public forum. you have put a lot of time and effort into your craft and to be acknowledged that you are good at it, has to, on some level, make you feel good–like your hard work is paying off. to have this happen in a public forum in some ways validates that this person is being truthful and honest–they are not just saying that–which heightens the good feeling. as a child, you can apply your same argument in the post. how does a child feel when they hear other parents bragging publicly and their parent is not? can a child really understand the noble intentions behind not bragging? or, is there a part of them, even the smallest little part, that maybe questions why mommy and daddy will say all these great things in private, but never in public? what does that do to a child’s relationship with the parent and what does that do to a child’s self esteem?

    what happens when that first boy comes along that maybe isnt a great catch, but he very publicly states her beauty, intelligence, his love, and his pride for the young lady and the young lady has never experienced such a feeling? said young lady is more likely to enter a negative relationship. as a parent, i have to ask, do i want my child seeking that attention from someone other than her parents, family, and close friends?

    in a very ideal world, children would understand the complex concepts behind your great and admirable intentions above. but, in the real world of social overhaul, will they understand it? if so, will the embrace it and not look for praise in all the wrong places?

    • Hmmm. I have to say I disagree. That’s all

    • I think maybe there needs to be a distinction between bragging to other parents on Facebook and praising/acknowledging your child’s strengths. I’m guessing that Glennon doesn’t go online to advertise if one of her kids makes a great goal in a soccer game, but I bet she’d still tell the CHILD what a great job they did. I can see your point if we were talking about never praising children at all, but I don’t think that was what she was saying.

      • Perhaps I misread. I thought there was limited praise inside the home and no bragging outside the home other than to grandparents. Trust me, I left Facebook, strictly because I could not control what was posted about my daughter. Photos of get-togethers, etc would have tags, or friends would post, “XXX did the cutest thing today at lunch” and tag me in the post. I want my daughter to determine what information about her life enters the public domain. Facebook was getting way too large for me to do this, especially with people who posted things that do no protect their pages. So…I get it :-) What I am saying is not sharing your child’s accomplishments with aunts and uncles and cousins and friends seems a little extreme and I do think there are negatives that could arise from this situation, esp is Aunt Jane brags about Joey and Sara all the time. How would a child feel to hear about the wonderful things her cousins are doing and to never hear mommy or daddy reciprocate with the good things said child is doing? I would think that takes a mental toll on a child. While I think what Glennon is doing is a personal decision she has put a lot of time and thought into AND she has made the best decision for her family, I also think acknowledging that there are potential big negatives to this decision is a healthy thing to do for her readership. Not every reader who takes this idea and runs with it has the perfect home and extended family recipe to make it work and work well for the child.

        • You are making some great thoughtful points. Here’s what I think. My mom was a bragger to her close family about my brother and me. Her close family were always trying to one up her, and I felt this as a child. So, the bragging was not productive. My dad’s family were not explicit braggers and did not seem to one up eachother at all. This felt safe to me, everyone was loved, not compared. Any ‘brags’ that were made were celebrated, but not bombarded with ‘one-up-ing’.

    • I think your comments are just fine, and I get what you’re saying.

    • ” i certainly hope that our society is not so self-centered that we all cannot take joy in a child’s accomplishments–whether they are our child or not”

      AjPeng…great statement, along with your other comments.

      I feel sadness that there is so much thought to whether praise can be expressed.

  97. This post really hits home – thank you so much for writing it. I have a young son, so I haven’t yet had to deal with report cards and the parenting community as it relates to such. But, on my blog, I have strong opinions (at times), but have always tried to be very respectful (mindful, if you will) of different views. I encourage an open dialogue so long as everyone respects differing opinions. And so, this idea of being grateful for what I have (in a larger sense), rather than being proud of the things we do … well, that strike a chord for me. I’m grateful I read this post, so I can begin to think about my presence among my family and friends and online community. Thank you.

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