I absolutely HATE for a parent – or both – to hype their child when someone else is talking about theirs. YES, you read that right. I get upset for not just myself but other parents as well. It’s nothing like saying, “Let me tell y’all what my baby did. She wrote her name today for the first time.” Only to hear another parent say, “Y’all know Jasmine been writing her name since she was three and knows her ABC’S.” I just want to yell “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Good for your baby but now you look stupid because you took the light off of a child because of your jealousy.
I remember the first time it happened to my parents and I. Well, the first time that I can remember at least. It was Christmas and honestly the first and last time that I recall this side of my mom’s family getting together for the holidays. Everyone did their usual passing gifts around and embracing one another. Then, it was time to give a gift to the child who maintained good grades all school year. I remember the cousin who made the announcement spoke so highly of the child then said, “and that child is…” and it was me. I was so happy, but it was short lived. As the applause died down, I heard someone say, very loudly, “I just wanted y’all to know that *doesn’t insert cousins name* had a good report card and she….” I WON’T EVEN FINISH. I can’t remember exactly what was going on in my head, but I was a little confused. I was left feeling like I did something wrong. Like I didn’t deserve the gift I just received. I didn’t understand why my cousin did that nor why 1) was it that serious 2) why as an adult they would want to put a kid down so theirs could look better and 3) why my cousin didn’t feel like a complete asshole. Later on, I remember hearing my parents talking about it in the car and how upset they were, so I knew I wasn’t crazy in the way I felt. It was wrong and this happens all too often, but in many different ways.
We, as humans, progress as we grow. I mean, it’s human nature. But it’s unfair to feel like you can’t be proud of you or your child’s accomplishments because others aren’t happy that the spotlight isn’t on them or they’re just miserable. I had it happen to myself and saw it happening to others and then it hit me as a parent. I will NEVER FORGET the way in which it happened because it was done to both of my children. Long story short someone compared my children to other peoples children who were progressing faster than them. No, I wasn’t speaking on the progression of my children however for someone close to them to basically overlook the progress they had made pissed me off. I don’t feel like there should be a competition especially when it comes to the progression of infants. They’re going to walk, talk, and do everything else in their own time. Just because you see a child younger than a child you know – especially one you’re related to – doing so much more doesn’t mean point it out to that child’s parents. And especially not in front of the other parents. I’m not exactly sure what people get from doing things like that, but does anyone ever stop to think about the children’s feelings?
When someone mentions how smart their child is, don’t start trying to make your child sound smarter. When someone mentions how independent their child has become, don’t start talking about how your child started years prior. When you see a child, even your own, moving faster than another, don’t down the parents by throwing that in their faces. When you feel comfortable enough to belittle children or take the shine off of them to make you and/or your child look better… IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT YOU. But it’s not just parents because my cousin did it to me. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, “best friends”, godparents and more do it too. I have been a witness especially with my children and too often. You can’t even image the pain I feel listening to the same people that tell my kids, “I love you”, turn around and make them look so small in front of others. Thankfully, my kids don’t understand it and that is what has helped me.
I wish nothing but the best for the progression of every child, every person really. I’d simply prefer for people to stop being so salty because their child isn’t the center of attention. I understand the pain and frustration of people trying to down your child to make theirs look better. It doesn’t matter how many times they say, “No, I didn’t mean it like that” because THEY DID. I know it’s easier said than done but keep those people out of your life and away from your kids. I don’t care how long the two of you have known each other. It’s one thing to cordially speak about your children together, sharing laughs and similarities. But it’s another thing to try and have your child outshine other kids in front of a group of people.