Childrearing

STFU Parents: Parents Who Brag About Their Kids’ Achievements On Facebook

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A few years ago, I wrote a column called ‘My Kid Is Awesome,’ which is practically its own category on the STFU, Parents blog. In fact, the blog was inspired over five years ago in part by a mom friend of mine who was tired of reading about how amazing and intelligent anGIFTED!! her friends kids are. (Well, according to them, and maybe some arbitrary test scores, I dunno.) When you’re a parent, you’re bound to be fascinated with each and every achievement your kid makes, whether it’s eating like a champ as an infant, pooping on the potty for the first time as a toddler, or getting that first ‘A’ on a report card in grade school. Every move a child makes for the first several years of his or her life is celebrated with applause, smiles, pats on the back, ice cream treats, and yes, updates on Facebook to make the achievement all the more official.

For a certain set of parents, Facebook is the ultimate baby book. Forget about scrapbooking about these milestones and having no one around to see your handiwork! Facebook (and Instagram, and Pinterest, etc.) has made it possible to share each and every crowning glory from the very small to the monumental, literally the second something happens. The second a kid ties his shoes for the first time, or memorizes thePythagorean theorem, or sings in the talent show, hundreds if not thousands of friends, relatives, former coworkers, and random acquaintances who have never even heard of your kid will know of his or her brilliance. They might even get to watch a video, if they’re lucky. And because so many of us tend to “Like” our parent friends’ updates about their kids’ achievements out of a combination of both joy and pity (sorry, that’s #realtalk), parents are encouraged to share more. Did 50 people “Like” the update about little Nevaeh’s report card in the fall semester? Well, then, why not show everyone how well she did in the spring semester! And let them know that she’s improved her Spanish considerably (más mejorada!), and fill them in on her newfound love of dolphins! Seriously, she’s obsessed with dolphins and knows everything about them! She knows more about dolphins than any kid in her class, FOR SURE. And isn’t everyone delighted by that compelling piece of information?

Not really, no. It’s not that parents’ friends don’t care, exactly, it’s just that there are so many kids being posted about in the average adult’s newsfeed, it’s tough to keep track of them all. It’s hard enough remembering their names and ages and favorite Katy Perry songs, let alone recalling what grade they’re in and how they’re doing in school. And I suppose that’s precisely why some parents pummel us with this prideful information — so we’ll know and remain informed — but honestly, unless your kid is extraordinary, most people aren’t clamoring for updates. (And if they are, they probably go by the names “Grandma” and “Grandpa.”) So now that school is back in session, I thought I’d highlight some examples of achievement updates that parents might think their friends need to know, but that they can actually keep to themselves. Don’t be a braggart on social media, parents. It might make you feel like a great parent, but it can also make you sound like a dick.

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