I was just reading an article on perfectionism in children and it was talking about the importance of playing up person strengths and downplaying competition. It reminded me of a huge pet peeve of mine that I have about dh's aunt. Whenever she sees my 6-year-old ds, she always makes some comment like, "I bet you are the best reader in the whole class" or "Are you the smartest kid at school?" or some other thing like that. It really bothers me. Ds never really responds because I'm sure he's not sure how and I have responded at times in various ways, but I'm wondering how you would respond to something like that (if you would at all - maybe it's just me that has issue with it).
I think saying, "I do MY best" or "He does very well -- he really enjoys XYZ" is enough. It's no one's business, not even family's what the kids' grades are in school. To me, that's like asking someone how much money they earn at their jobs. Who cares? Isn't it more important that they're ENJOYING what they're doing, whatever that is? I'd remind the nosey people that that's where your priorities lie, maybe with a little reminder that the most successful people in the world are those who are happy doing what they do.
Or you can just act like she's obviously not as smart as you thought, and say, "He's the GREATEST at EVERYTHING -- how can you not know that???"
I think it's okey to give kids that kind of complement as long as you wont push the kid to do things too much. Make them do what you want in a way that they will enjoy it. :D
Living is great but being a MOM is even better
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While I agree that the comments are lame and not the most helpful way to speak to a child, if this is a relative that I seldom saw, I would teach my child some appropriate ways to respond and leave it at that. Your DH's aunt has very limited input to how your child turns out -- it's the way you and your DH speak to your son that really make the difference. Your child will have so many people say so many things to them over the years, and most of it just washes away.
My kids are teens, and if I could go back, I wouldn't get so worked up over so many things -- my kids were stronger than I realized and they didn't need every interaction with every adult to be perfect to find their own strength.
You could teach your son to respond with a big smile and saying something like "I do well, and right now I'm really into __________________." And just pivot the conversation to something he wants to talk about.
But make this about helping him find his strength and his voice, not about trying to make the world he lives in perfect. He doesn't need a perfect world.
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