Friend constantly bragging about 20 mo old

AmyOctober 30, 2001

THis is a pretty minor complaint, but I would like to know how to respond to her.

One of my closest friends has a 20 month old who is probably smarter than the average bear for his age. That's great. My 10 month old is smart of her age, as well. But, I NEVER brag about her to anyone. I know all children advance at different stages, some do things sooner than others, etc. I just cannot STAND to brag about her latest achievements, etc. Not that I am not the proudest parent in the's just the thought in the back of my mind that would if i had a child that was always "behind" for her age. I wouldn't be bragging about anything then. I don't want my children to hear me bragging about one and not the other.

I know I'm not really making myself clear with my complaint. I guess I just need to know how to respond to my friend when she feels the need to go on and on and on about how smart her son is and how advanced he is for her age. I'm sure it's just insecurity on her part feeling the need to have something in her life to brag about, but it reallly bothers me. She has to literally ASK me what my daughters latest "tricks" are and what she's doing new.

I guess I just have a hang up about braggers!

What can I say to her to get her to shut up???

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I know a lot of first time parents who are the same way. I don't think they realize what they are doing -- it's just that this is the absolute center of their universe, and they are in complete awe of their children. I have to watch myself sometimes, and remember that not EVERYONE cares whether my baby pooped in the potty chair today. Ha ha. I think the best thing to do would be to just say "that's great" and then change the subject -- remind her that there are things to talk about other than her kid. Sometimes people -- especially stay at home moms -- forget about the rest of the world, because their lives revolve around their kids. I honestly don't think they do it to brag, or make other people feel bad -- they just forget that not everyone cares about their kids as much as they do. So, whenever you see her, have a few "conversation starters" at hand, so you can bring the conversation over to something else!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2001 at 9:03PM
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That is very wise advice. She probably doesn't realize she's doing it, she just doesn't know what else to talk about. She'll likely outgrow it on her own, eventually. But if you point it out to her, it's going to make her very self concious. Turn the conversation to other things you have in common, if you can still remember what those things are through the exhaustion of motherhood. :) Suggest a moms night out, with one rule, no talk of kids, total night off.

I have a neighbor who constantly brags about her husband! THAT is annoying. "He made chicken cordon blue last night, tonight he's making beef wellington, and he always does the dishes after dinner and maybe even a load of laundry....Is your husband a good cook? I am really so lucky." Why do I need to know what they have for dinner?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2001 at 2:28PM
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Goodness! I used to think it was boring when people would talk about work all the time. And the anthrax discussions are even worse! Kids I like. I don't know why reveling in their achievements is a sign of insecurity. Insecure about what? And the fact that she has asked about your child could be perceived as a sign of interest. Although I agree I wouldn't want toddler antics to be the sole topic of conversation.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2001 at 11:32AM
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    Bookmark   November 1, 2001 at 2:00PM
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I guess I find in general that people who feel the need to brag nonstop are insecure with THEMSELVES.

I'm sure people with slower than average children really want to hear about how smart/advanced or what a great disposition someone elses son/daughter has ALL THE TIME. The occasional positive comment is great, but to actally BRAG is a whole different story.

I don't know why you found the need to be a smart butt about the situation.There is a difference between being proud and being arrogant. Get a life chick.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2001 at 2:56PM
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Maybe YOU are insecure, and that's why you feel the need to be mean to people who respond to your posts?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2001 at 3:23PM
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I love children alot and really don't mind the bragging now, but when my children were growning up all the bragging got on my nerves fast...almost like they were comparing.

There is no way right now you could compare a 10 month old to this 20 month old. What would be bad is for someone with a child that was advanced (say a 15 month old parent with an advanced child) talking to a parent with a 20 month of child that has not achieved the talking ability etc. as the younger child. My children were very you want me to stop typing LOL!! And they were advanced in many ways for their age, especially my daugher. But I didn't carry on alot to people about them except to people I knew that would love to hear about them. Grandparents, Great Aunts unmarried , relatives without their own kids. Sometimes when someone kept on and on about their child I would chime in about mine too..when it got too much for me. I know I shouldn't have but at the time it seemed like the thing to do!
Some folks without children really don't care about your child's advancements -so why bother them with it. Some parents are way to much on bragging.. and talk constantly about nothing but their child.

So, it's not like people are knocking the child's advancements they are just tired of listing, or have no interest in it, but the parent goes on and on and on....Like they have a long lasting battery :o)

I though like to listen to children'a acheivement but like I said not everyone does. You can usually pick up if you pay close attention to the folks not interested they are the ones ignoring you when you talk about the child or other signs like them saying "Oh really!" "Oh really!" if you
lay it on thick about your child.

Every parent think their child is great! I mean they just can't help it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2001 at 11:28PM
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Well Amy you described this person as a close friend. That is why I figured her interest in your child might be sincere. Also it is interesting you would describe your close friend's behavior as arrogant. I would tend to give her the benefit of the doubt and figure she is enthralled with her child's development, rahter than assume she is both insecure and arrogant. I *do* have a life, , and I wonder if your quickness to take offense is part of the problem.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2001 at 12:38AM
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I think you're just bragging about not bragging.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2001 at 1:40PM
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You took the thoughts right out of my head, only typed them down better.

Trish: Quickness to take offense? Having someone totally critize me for something that is truly bothering me---Yes, I take offense to that.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2001 at 4:01PM
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Your way of handling your child (ie not bragging) is fine -- I certainly wouldn't criticize that Amy. However I was defending your friend, who you seem to ascribe bad intentions to. I think if she is truly your friend you would give her the benefit of the doubt and not believe she was arrogant, insecure and somehow competing with you. Indeed you seem to find a lot to take offense to. Personally I enjoy hearing about my friends' children and don't assume they are playing a game of one upsmanship when they revel in their achievements. We are all aware that our children our the most handsome, brilliant and lovable because they are ours. If you chilled a little yourself you might be able to relax and enjoy the people you describe as "friends." The way to stop talking about children is to change the topic. Or change friends.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2001 at 5:03PM
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Sounds like you are a bit jealous of your friend. HONESTLY!!! If she were really your friend, you would be happy for her and her child advancing and hitting milestones. Be proud of her and congratulate accomplishments, AS WELL AS WITH YOUR OWN CHILD!!!

Seriously though, your jealous behavior is just going to make your child insecure like you. Stand up be proud of others and your own child. TEACH YOUR CHILD. BE STRONG. SET AN EXAMPLE! (No matter how annoying it may be :) )

    Bookmark   November 2, 2001 at 6:28PM
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LOL chym!!!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2001 at 10:50AM
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Good advice Tinkerbell!!! I must keep that in mind when I'm around a certian neighbor!!! *hehehehehe* I think i must agree with some of the other moms tho...I don't think its done consciously. Its funny I just asked my spouse if when i was at work if that was all I talked said yes. I think the Lady who said they talk about it not to brag but because its their life was absolutely right. Tinkerbells suggestion to have a list of things to talk about is excellent and I think I'm going to use that myself!!! I know I'm soooo guilty aof talking about my daughter but now I am running my spouses business and have an internet business that keeps me hopping....i now have tons more to talk about!!! Maybe she needs to do something like that or join a playgroup or something...lots more to discuss then!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: My business

    Bookmark   November 7, 2001 at 1:18PM
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I think you should just respond by saying that your child just recited the alphabet backwards in 5 seconds, doesn't need a calculator to do any type of math, has just been selected for the next Olympic Games for the 50m butterfly, and is in the running for the next Nobel Prize. I'd love to see the look on your friend's face....might just do the trick by subtly getting your point across to her!!!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2001 at 10:13AM
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Jodie, that's the best advice so far! It seems to me that Amy's real gripe was the her friend would go on and on and on. She never seems interested in how Amy's children are doing because she hardly gives Amy a chance to respond. Besides, sometimes you don't want to talk about the children all the time. Amy, your friend is just someone who completely monopolizes the conversation. I say, change the subject! And let me tell all of you something, people who do this do NOT outgrow it. A friend of mine has two daughters 19 and 17 and we all dread it when she pulls out the photo album at EVERY gathering to tell us how smart, how beautiful, how talented, how wonderful her daughters are. We know they are the best because the Mom's been telling us since they were born. It gets old, FAST. If you are going to brag about your children, give the other parents a chance to talk about their children too. And if someone is being a bore - CHANGE the subject.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2001 at 10:45AM
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I can understand where you are coming from. I just hope in a few years when I possibly will have a Grandchild that I use good judgement around people and don't constantly talk about my grandchild's achievements. Not saying I won't be the Nana that doesn't whip out the photo album with the pictures of the child and tell some of the cute things he or she says or does but I will try to retrain myself from overdoing it!
(I hear Grandparents can be worse than parents LOL)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2001 at 12:46PM
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Actually the friend asked about Amy's child but she assumed there was a mean competitive motive behind the questioning.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2001 at 11:46PM
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My ex sil use to do this. Her son was only 2 months older than my daughter and he crawled at 5 months and walked at 9 months and talked at 10 months etc. My daughter didn't crawl until 11 months but did walk at 12 months and she didn't talk until almost 2. She threw it in my face all the time making small jabs.. Is Kaitlyn walking yet? Maybe you should do this or do that etc or maybe you should work with her more etc. Well fast forward a few years and they are both 7 and my Kaitlyn is reading books like TAles of fourth grade nothing, superfudge, little house on the prarie etc and he can read just a few words, She gets straight a's (I don't know about him as she goes to a private school) and she is working on multiplication and he can barely add so my point is is that when someone is looking at the 2 of them now noone is saying "wow he walked at 9 months and talked at 10?" They are saying about my daughter "wow what a reader and wow how bright"

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 1:24PM
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I guess I would not interpret such a question as a jab. I am comfortable with my toddler progressing at his own rate and don't feel competitive with others even if they are faster at things.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 9:10PM
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Here's the first thing I thought of . . .is this friend a SAHM? I know that when I was out with others I found myself talking about my son all the time. It was just that he was my life. He's my job, 24/7 and I don't get a break so a lot happens and I like to share. I mostly only share cute stories with the grandparents but sometimes with others. I also can't make up stories about exciting things that happened during the day that don't involve my son, the cats, cooking or cleaning or something I caught on TV. Maybe she's reaching out and trying to talk to someone. If she's actually comparing her child to yours, it's a little differnt. If she's just excited and happy about being a Mom and her little baby, don't knock her. That's not bragging. I would call that talking to your friend.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2001 at 8:43PM
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It's a conversational skill, to be able to change the topic of someone else's monolog in a friendly or at least diplomatic way. Their topic could be anything, which is why it's a general skill and not restricted to 'bragging' per se.

Concentrate on your breathing, count to 10 internally or whatever you need to do in order not to feel too frustrated or angry or irritiated. Then try to add something that can take the conversation in a slightly different direction. It can still be about whatever the child did, only in a more general way; or about something else which might be at least a little related even if it's a bit of a tangent. Asking a question in that way can sometimes work to change the topic and let the talker keep on talking.

Sometimes, especially with something that feels to the listener like bragging, aknowledgement can curb things. A simple kind of 'he's lucky to have you and you him' or something else that kind of pats her on the back verbally. Basically, give her some feedback that lets her feel like someone else on the planet notices her efforts, and her child's little new successes.

Different people have different habits of expression, and different interpretations for what they hear. Try to grant your friend any benefit of the doubt because she may not be intending to be tiresome, or to brag. What you hear may be her best attempts to convey information about what's new for her child or in her child's life. Even if your method of delivery is very different try to react to her as you would like people to react to you when you try to share information about your own child.

general conversational techniques will work, or be gentle with her and share your feelings (don't forget she is a 'friend' and a human being who is probably doing her best, just as you are even though she may have a habit you find irritating)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2001 at 7:08PM
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I just had to chime in here and say I know exactly what you are going through. I have a friend that does that same thing. My son is 3 months older than hers and I feel like every conversation is a contest I don't want to partake in. If I tell her something about my son, the next time I talk to her she will 'one up' me with something else. I hate it. Prime example: A lady once stopped me while I was at a track meet and gave me her business card, said she was an agent and had done ads for local companies (Fred Meyer was one). She was interested in talking to me about my son. I took her card, but never followed up on it. I told my friend about it and she was excited, but the next time I talked to her she told me a lady stopped her while she was shopping at 'Nordstrom' and told her her son could be in 'Baby Gap' or 'Old Navy' commercials. Knowing my friend as well as I do, I didn't believe it for a second, but let her go on and on about it. It is frustrating.

I have tried numerous times to change the subject, but it always comes back to the same thing.

Hang in there Amy. I know what you are going through. It is tough....some people just don't understand.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2001 at 4:29PM
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I have 2 boys, and 2 of my best friends are single w/ no kids. I of course think they are the brightest, cutest, most wonderful boys in the whole world and love going on and on about them to just about anyone who will listen...LOL! If we are out for a girl's night or just sitting around chatting, my friends will actually say, "ok, enough about potty training, leaking boobs, labor pains or whatever". If you are good enough friends, you can probably say something like "ok, enough about kids, let's talk about adult stuff" or something like that.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 9:26AM
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My SIL has a DD who's 5 months older than mine and she is one of those people that brags about her DD or compare her DD to mine at every stage of development. I have known her for 11 years and unfortunately, she is one of those people who can dish it out, but can't take it. So, after all this time, I have learned to not to respond to things that bother me and will very quickly change the subject when she starts comparing the 2 kids. I do talk about my DD just like every mom out there, but, there is a difference between talking about your kid and bragging about him /her.

I guess ignoring or tuning my SIL out when she starts bragging or comparing is my way of dealing with an annoyance that I cannot wish away.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 12:17PM
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My neighbor friend calls me every time report cards come out to tell me how her daughters grades were and to inquire about how my son's were. Talk about competitive! It gets old fast especially when her daughters grades are no better than my sons. I know she wants to brag but I really couldn't care less about how her daughter is doing in school - my son is on the honor roll, too, but I don't feel the need to call everyone and tell them. These kids are in HIGH SCHOOL! When she asks about my son's grades I simply say, "he did very well" and change the subject. But she wants specifics on what grade he got in each subject. The worst is when the kids take the standardized tests and she calls to tell me how well her daughter did. I find it very boring and shallow on her part. This is their only child and I know that she is proud of her daughter. I am proud of my son too, but I don't think it necessary to phone the neighborhood when the grades are posted. I can only imagine how she hounded the neighbor who lived here before me when her daughter was a toddler!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2001 at 10:58AM
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