Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Parental Showboating

Parental Showboating

Showboating; one who seeks attention by ostentatious behavior; showoff.

I read an article this week in one of our local parent magazines that really made me mad. I have thought about it since Sunday (when I read the article) and have been rolling the words around. I read the article a few more times and decided that I understand the perspective of the writer, but she failed to produce the other side of the coin.

The author talked about how she seems to observe countless parents who seem to speak loudly in public places about how well their children are behaving. The proud parent then casually looking around to see if anyone else is noticing what a great parent they are. Her thought process seems to be that as parents we need to see that parenting is hard. We need to see the reality of parenting a difficult child. We need to see the stress in our faces as we chase down a child who does not listen, instead of these publicly proud parents.

I read the article three times and I asked myself if I do this. Am I a showboating kind of parent? Then I asked myself if I observed some of these kinds of parents? And I then understood why this article rattled me. Yes I am that kind of parent, only I have never thought of it to be showboating. As I raise my voice in delight over good behavior it’s because it’s a moment of obedience after what seems like weeks of day in and day out of trying to bring home a simple act of obedience. It’s that braggy and proud moment when your child climbs to the top of the play mountain, feeling so proud of him. Yes, I am a good parent. Are my acts of outward enthusiasm there for the taking by other parents? ABSOLUTELY!!

But then some of my most profound parenting moments have come from watching a stranger take the time to enjoy, do a little dance, and embrace ever so proudly their own child. I am not talking about the braggy kind of parent who says, “oh look at junior he is the best kids in the park, his teeth are pearly white because he brushed five times a day, and his diet is nothing processed”. I am talking about that parent who yells across the play ground…”jon-jon you did it baby, you made it across the cross bars.” Every parent struggles, it is a given.
I personally have never thought that these people are braggy or acting in a way to draw attention to themselves, but if they are I am typically the first to compliment, or ask questions about how they taught their child, or observing how they talked to their child.

I come from some really bad early upbringings. I was not just from dysfunction; it was just plain and simple…bad!! For me to watch and observe is a blessing in my process of parenting. So I say hats off to those Parental Showboating types. You never know what struggling mom is going to hear you and think better of how they parent, learn from you and may even come along side to tell you that you are doing a terrific job. Blessings to all the moms, elizabeth


  1. Whoever that author is, it sounds like thay are describing Mrs. Olsen from Little House on the Prairie. :) I don't think I have ever encountered any parents that sound that way. I have encountered the ones your talking about though. The ones that are so happy that there child is finally listening or has just got something they have been trying to do. They are not saying it for themselves, they are saying it for there kids.

  2. I didn't know about Showboating before reading this post. I do congratulate my son when other people are hearing but its as you say....he really deserved it. I certainly wouldn't want other people watching me though.....I'm too self conscious for that.

    Sometimes I wonder if my blogging about my son constitutes bragging. I hope its not interpreted that way......

  3. I bet the author had no children! It seems like the people who write stories about parents who make mistakes have no children and just sit in judgement.

    I like to think I do talk about my children when they are well behaved. It is good for them to know that I am proud of their good behavior. I try no to talk about their bad behavior to others beacasue that would completly embaress them and they would loss trust in me.

    I do understand the parents that do nothing but brag about how wonderful and perfect their kids are with the soul purpose of making the rest of us feel stupid. That is a whole different story.

    Thanks for you comment about my booking picture (I think). It was pretty funny. :)

  4. besides the fact that telling your children you are proud of them only helps to raise their self esteem. Especially when done in public...I see nothing wrong with that and I certainly don't consider it showboating... If all they hear is criticism or nothing at all...they will only wonder if they are pleasing us in any way at all.... AUGH!!!!!!!

  5. Not sure I've noticed showboating much. Maybe I'm just not paying attention.
    In regards to your Emerson-I am in awe. Funny that I am because I know how capable the man that we serve is. Just sometimes I hear something like this and think "wow!"
    And all of God's men said Amen!!

  6. This was a marvelous post. I think that praising kids is part of real parenting. When my kids are doing well I do praise them. That doesn't mean all is fun and games but it means that they have parents who delight in them.

  7. This is strange... I thought that we were supposed to be doing positive re-enforcement these days...


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