Parents, Stop Apologizing For 'Bragging' About Your Kid

by Melissa Gibson
Originally Published: 
A woman in a yellow knit sleeveless turtleneck bragging about her kid to her friend
Tim Robberts/Getty

Why do parents apologize for bragging on their kids?

“I’m sorry, but I need to tell you what Little Tommy did….”

“Shameless brag on my little one, unfollow if needed…”

“Beware, Mom Brag Post here!….”

Why, as moms and dads, do we feel the need to preface our good news with an apology? If my child is doing fantastically in swimming, do I need to put out a warning before I share that? Why do I feel the need to apologize beforehand? Am I not supposed to share that wonderfulness?

Because I’m gonna. How ’bout that?

Honestly, and I’m sure you notice this as well, I see this quite often on social media. At least once a day, I run across a post, picture, or update on someone’s child where the parent is gushing over something that happened or that is going to happen. It’s a sentence or two filled with exclamation points and emojis. Most often includes a picture of that little winner, letting us know that their Star Chart is getting more and more full.

And I love it.


I absolutely enjoy seeing and hearing about things kids are doing amazingly well. I hope moms and dads, grandmas and aunts continue to fill my feed with fantastic news, but listen …

Do not feel like you need to apologize for it.

Kids want to know that their parents or grandparents are talking highly of them. When word gets back to them? It is an absolute esteem builder and pushes them to do more. I have a kid who is very eager to please and thrives off public praise. You better believe she’s going to know I brag about her. And I make no apologies beforehand.

So why do other parents feel that they should?

Maybe others feel like the parental boasting is somewhat of a virtual “pat on the back.” A bit of a look at the kid I made brag. Well, maybe. But maybe not. I brag about my dog sometimes and I had nothing to do with his DNA. So, I guess it could be that they are giving their parental skills and DNA a big ol’ high five. But then again, maybe the lady is just proud of her kid and wants the world to know.

However, here’s something else to consider: when parents post about the lovely shiny medals, early talkers, and college scholarships, is that making my anxiety about my own kids’ achievements (or lack thereof) explode right out of my short little body? Perhaps sometimes. There, I said it. Maybe sometimes I feel a tinge of pressure when my friends post about college acceptance letters and scholarships. However, I don’t believe it’s because my child may not ever be at that level.

Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

It’s because I don’t want my kid to keep growing and be at that level.


Stay in the nest, my little birdies! College is expensive, and I’m in denial.

And what about those parents who jump for joy at achievements that others may find, for lack of a better word, “simple?” Perhaps moments like making eye contact and responding to someone who has said hello. Or not freaking out when being buckled in the car seat. Loads of parents are pretty dang proud of their child when he or she eats an apple with the peel still on, or orders their own food at a restaurant. Parents all around us and on our friends list have all sorts of different milestones in their lives, and they aren’t always ones you’ll see on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Thinking of what a wide range of milestones there are out there got me wondering something: Why, when we see the Classic Facebook Brag Post, is it easier for us to celebrate those little moments like overcoming a fear of new people, maybe, than it is to celebrate Little Jason’s 19th touchdown of the season?

I think I know why. It all boils down to improvements versus abilities.

Perhaps it’s tricky to read the Look What My Kid Did posts because oftentimes they are related to ability rather than improvement. Maybe that is what bugs us. Could it be the wording of our “hooray for my little one!” posts that causes others to roll their eyes? Would the reactions of our friends and family be different if we simply changed our wording a bit? Like …”Last year he was brand new to football, but after all of his hard work, he threw his 19th touchdown tonight!” If we focused on the improvement rather than the ability, maybe we would step on fewer toes?

But then again, why tiptoe around others when being proud of our own kids? Every single person in this world has something they are good (even great) at or improving upon. From trying broccoli for the first time (even though that texture is flat out awful) to scoring the most goals all season in basketball. From finally wearing shoes without issue to a full ride scholarship to Yale, it’s all worthy of going on a virtual “Star Chart.”

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And I want to know about it. I give you permission to go all out with bragging on your child, whether that be an improvement or an ability. Tell me how great your kid is. Please.

Because honestly? I think it’s beautiful that you’re proud. And when word gets back to your kid that you’ve been bragging? Well, that will put a big ol’ feather in their little cap.

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