How to handle bragging? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 7 Old 03-23-2010, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
Seie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,472
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My 6 year old just started school last summer and while the rest of his class are still going through letters and sounds he figured out pretty quickly what it was all about and is now reading. It doesn't interest him much - he just does it.
He has a pretty good idea that he is smarter than most kids. I didn't tell him this, but a lot of people point it out and he sometimes uses phrases such as "It's because I have a good brain" or "I'm a smart boy".
So that's one thing. Those are really just factual statements of truth. But lately he is starting to talk about being the best in his class at this and that. Then it's reading. Then it's finishing papers first. And most recently it's rollerblading that they do in the afternoon. I'm not even sure it's always true. But the way he sees it he is better at almost everything and if he isn't it really really upsets him - even angers him and for instance his friend C and him both have a specific game for their Nintendo and C plays it better. DS really had a major fit when he found out and it seemed that he felt pretty worthless not being able to win this particular game.

I guess my question is - how do I deal with the bragging when it is so obvious that his self-image is very dependent on being the best at stuff? I always tried to give him a good basic sense of being loved for who he is. And right now I just feel like I failed. Any ideas/input very welcome.

Single mom to ds(8), dd(6) and ds(5)

Seie is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 7 Old 03-23-2010, 09:06 PM
joensally's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,830
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I'd really recommend Dweck's book Mindset. I found it really interesting.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

joensally is offline  
#3 of 7 Old 03-23-2010, 10:07 PM
no5no5's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,557
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Modeling is a great strategy. For instance, if I lose a board game, I am disappointed, but also happy for the winner. If I am working on something that's hard for me, I talk about how it's hard and how I'm so glad I found something challenging. I talk about how different people find different things to be difficult (and for this it helps that DH is dyslexic). When DD encounters something that she has to work at, I talk about how great it is that it's not easy.

We don't do school, so we don't have the competitive atmosphere that is inevitable when kids are graded, but I imagine that you could work these same strategies into talking about school. If he says he is the best at something, perhaps you could say something like, "Oh, it's too bad that it's so easy for you. Maybe you need harder work." It's not only true, but it shows that you care about his performance but are indifferent to his rank (the "best" or "fastest"). It emphasizes that you care more about learning than about perfection.

I also want to say that you haven't "failed." Some kids are simply prone to perfectionism. Gifted kids who find school easy but who crave challenge may challenge themselves to do perfectly. Or they may challenge themselves to be great at everything. So harder work may be another part of the solution here. Oh, and you might talk to the teacher. Some of this may be coming from him/her, and that's really not cool.
no5no5 is offline  
#4 of 7 Old 03-24-2010, 12:57 AM
Linda on the move's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 11,577
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Seie View Post
I guess my question is - how do I deal with the bragging when it is so obvious that his self-image is very dependent on being the best at stuff? I always tried to give him a good basic sense of being loved for who he is. And right now I just feel like I failed.
He's only 6! He's way too young for you to have failed at anything!

I'd keeping working on the issue with his self-image being dependent of being the best. I'm not sure how, exactly, but that seems like the root problem. It's a very limiting belief and one that I think that many gifted kids really struggle with as they get older.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is offline  
#5 of 7 Old 04-02-2010, 04:13 PM
whatsnextmom's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Your son is pretty darn normal in this reguard. Spend a day at his school and you'll find that most of the boys brag about themselves. You probably don't notice it as much because we don't think twice about a child saying "I'm the fastest runner in my class!" A child saying "I'm the best reader in my class" seems so much more shameful.

I have a 9-year-old son and you should hear how he and his friends talk. You'd think they were all genius superheros lol. The trick is to teach appropriateness and sensitivity to others. Everyone has talents and limitations. People are sensitive to their weaknesses and you should be considerate about what you share with others. It's important that able children be in activities that require work whether it's learning an instrument, playing sports, doing a play, ect. Smart kids need to experience the "big pond" sometimes as opposed to always being the big fish in a small one. My DS was not so good at 6 in the inappropriate bragging department but these days, DS rarely slips up.

Understand that there is a time and a place for males to fluff out their feathers and strut around (every other male animal on the planet does it.) If DS is at the lunch table with his buddies and they want to have the "best belcher" contests I KNOW they have when no adult is around... I have no problem with that lol.

Married mom, DD 18, DS 15, and a Valentine's surprise on the way!
whatsnextmom is offline  
#6 of 7 Old 04-02-2010, 11:08 PM
meemee's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,633
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
yup one more person saying just let it go.

a friend helped me clear this up. i notice with most kids 5 is a year of huge change. HUGE. subtle growing up mental and 'adult' type changes. sudden maturity. they are getting used to the great world that has just opened up to them. their steps out of babyhood. little hood.

6 is about power. about seeing how you fit into that world. understand the differences.

is he wrong in what he is saying? he is speaking the truth. we - as defined by our culture - call it bragging. he is not allowed to talk about his accomplishments, yet we have to 'brag' about ourselves anytime we go to find a job or any leadership position.

is he bragging? truly!!!

i was at the same place as you when my dd did it. and my friend asked me one question. was my dd wrong? did she indeed do those things? is that truly bragging? or is it recognising their place in society.

it is a stage. they will note the difference. and soon that interest will pass and it no longer will stand out. my dd used to answer questions saying 'because i am a smart girl'. well she IS!!!

today she doesnt care about her smartness. her teacher is v. fond of her and loves pointing out things about her - along with other kids - but with whatever little info i have i can tell he has a partiality towards my dd. she 'shrugs' it off. it no longer is important in her radar. there are things she can do 'because i am smart'. period. nothing else.

i discovered with my dd - who was esp. telling her friend who was particularly bad at that thing, that all it was about was did you know i can do that. not hey look at me, i am so great.

 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
#7 of 7 Old 04-03-2010, 12:38 PM
chaimom's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 481
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My opinion is that you should be praising the effort, not the outcome. Sure he's smart-- but did he work hard? Did he overcome an obsticle? Did he have a good time?

There's research that shows smart kids who are constantly told how smart they are often shut down when faced with something difficult. And no matter how smart they are, they will eventually need to try hard to reach their goals.

You might consider trying to reframe how people deal with him.
chaimom is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 15,633

36 members and 15,597 guests
agentofchaos , bananabee , cagnew , debby.tae , Deborah , emmy526 , greenemami , hakunangovi , happy-mama , heyxxmcfly , hillymum , IsaFrench , Jeannie Stauffer Greene , katelove , Katherine73 , kathymuggle , lab , mckittre , Michele123 , moominmamma , MountainMamaGC , NaturallyKait , NoLongerJovial , rightkindofme , RollerCoasterMama , rubelin , sciencemum , shantimama , Shmootzi , Solanatins12 , sren , VsAngela , womanlyhips , zebra15
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.