Bragging 101
Author: Clay Nichols

Stop it. Don’t pretend you don’t like bragging about your kids; we all do. Two things that are equally hard to do: not screaming at your kids in private and not boasting about them in public.

Facebook has made it so, so much easier to brag about your kids because you don’t have to listen to yourself. You just throw up the photo of the offspring hoisting the trophy and bask in the pixelated glow, unabashed.

But the real bragging, authentic bragging, bragging that means anything is done face to face, where you can see the lights dim in the other parent’s eyes as they reflect on their own child’s more meager accomplishments – that’s the kind of bragging I’m talking about.

It’s been my experience that most parental bragging falls into categories or styles. Most parents will move between the different styles of boasting depending on the situation and audience, but usually have a “standby” or “base” style of telling everyone how awesome their kid is.

Brag anglers
A default technique popular here in the south because of the veneer of courtesy. Lead with a question. Then pounce. “How did Betsy do in the crochet competition?” Then, BOOM.

Stand-up brags
Lead with a joke or some self-deprecating nugget before getting down to the real business of bragging. “I knew she sold the most cookies in the county, but leveraging that to start a hedge fund? I didn’t start my first hedge fund till sophomore year!”

Head-shaking shame brags
This brag usually starts with a feigned look of concern regarding the high-achieving child. “Sally needs more balance. I told her she shouldn’t donate blood and teach SAT prep classes in Spanish at the same time.”

Bald-faced boasts
My personal favorite. I respect the guy that has his kid’s resume printed up as a t-shirt. A guy who dispenses with the usual sideline small talk and launches right into a summary oration of Junior’s latest triumphs.

Me personally, I use them all. Why? Because, to be perfectly honest, I’m the best. Not to brag or anything.

Clay Nichols is one of the founders of and co-author of “DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood: Pregnancy and Year One.” He lives in Austin with his wife Kim and three children.

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