STFU Parents: Pretentious Parents Whose Kids Are Impressively Advanced

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If there’s one thing parents seem to agree on these days, it’s that their kids are gifted. Well, maybe not other people’s kids, but their own kids, for sure.

This begs the question: If every parent thinks their own kids are exceptional, isn’t it possible that none of them are? Or that a few of them are, but the bar has been considerably lowered so that every kid can feel ‘special’? It’s no surprise that we live in the age of “participation trophies,” but most of the time, I wonder if those trophies are being doled out for the sake of the kids, or the sake of their parents’ fragile egos?

As a parent, part of a mom or dad’s job is to teach their kids how to do basic tasks like brush their teeth, tie their shoes, and write their name, and when a kid finally picks up on something, which could be anything, most parents’ immediate reaction is to say, “Great job! You’re a super kid and a super SMART one at that!” This attitude extends beyond parents feeling proud of themselves and their kids; it’s also about wanting to show off to their peers. Much like animals who enjoy flaunting their prowess in the wild, parents are eager — sometimes too eager — to give themselves and their children props just for being capable, intelligent beings who can walk upright, eat food, use the bathroom, and know when to say ‘thank you. Not that those aren’t worthy triumphs, but when parents choose to declare EVERY small victory as a massive success, it gets to be a little grating. And everyone knows the number one place to fill people in en masse about a kid’s impressive advancements or a series of A+ parenting achievements is on social media. Even when that advancement refers to bodily waste it’s worth telling the world, because when a kid’s language development is very impressive, that information should NOT be kept private.

1I’m always in favor of applauding a kid’s progressive grammar, but really Mary, is it THAT impressive? Maybe it seems superb right now, but does a two-year-old saying “I pooped” actually make him “very impressive” in the long run? Or should that even matter? To the parents who are couching their kids’ ever-changing habits, preferences, and minor daily milestones as extraordinary, what matters is the here and now. Sure, David might incorrectly relay that he “farteded” 20 seconds after correctly saying he “pooped,” but what the hell does that matter? He said it! He’s a genius with verbs and his language development is impressive. Case closed! 


DID U KNOW that most breastfed and baby led weaning babies won’t eat food out of a jar because it has no texture, no flavor, no umami profile, no Michelin star, and sometimes it’s not even organic?? 100% true. Babies are extremely discerning, and the reason for that is that they’re so young and pure, they innately know what’s good and what isn’t. Applesauce out of a jar? No thanks. Not for Carly’s little foodie! She’ll take her apples 3 ways: 1. with couscous spiced with curry, 2. sautéed with a little butter and a few ounces of authentic Cuban rum, 3. pureed with lemon juice, fresh ginger, and a spring of fresh rosemary, served over peppery arugula. THAT’S IT. Don’t come at her with some nasty preservatives and ugly corporate jar labels. She’s a foodie in the making, which means she knows when she’s being force-fed some fake shit. Trust me — Kim’s baby Evelyn is the same way, and Karey’s older child Brooks can’t even look at a jar of baby food without getting triggered. Oh, and did you know that Linda’s great granddaughter loves quinoa? When are all of these kids going to join forces and open a restaurant, already?! They’re all such instinctive FOODIES! It’s truly mind-blowing that they’re each so exceptional about the exact same subject. Did I mention that Tess is short for Tesslyn, and she has a sibling named Kyton? Being different runs in the family, I guess.


Erin’s comment here really touches on what today’s column is about. It’s not just that seemingly every parent on Facebook has remarkable kids, it’s the idea that behind every remarkable kid stands an equally remarkable parent. Of course, it’s natural for parents to gush about how amazing their kids are, but how much of that gushing is a reference to their own outstanding behaviors or intellect? How often do parents need to brag in a pretentious manner on social media about what their kids can say or do, when the majority of us know that they’re only trying to make themselves look good? Also, as a matter of curiosity, do we think that a parent gives her child a foreign and/or hard to pronounce name as a respectful nod to another culture, or so she can go around correcting everyone’s pronunciation for the next several years? Momsplaining and pretentious posts about how “advanced” kids are go hand-in-hand. Or, should I say, main dans la main.

4.I don’t know much about the background of this submission, but the submitter wrote, “This girl was insufferable in college and has become even more so since becoming a Mommy♡♡♡♡ (Ugh). Today’s “Pronunciation Lesson” had me cringing so hard.” Maybe if parents weren’t so quick to share their pretentiousness with their Facebook friends, their updates wouldn’t come across as arrogant back-pats. But as it is, so many parents post updates that spell out their kids’ “genius” — or their own — their friends can’t decipher whose kids are sincerely gifted / talented / foodies-in-the-making and whose kids are average, being raised by parents who desperately want them to stand out from the pack. It’s perfectly fine to be an average toddler, and it’s expected that most kids won’t display some kind of “gift” until they’re older, so why are parents so obsessed with making sure their kids reach some desired marker of success before they can even construct sentences? What is it that compels parents to be so concerned with impressing their friends via their kids’ perceived achievements? Let’s take a look at some examples posted on Facebook and attempt to understand.

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