Facebook Bragging About Kids: Yay or Nay?
By Kara Martinez Bachman
Facebook bragging. We’ve all done it at some point. But where, oh where are the lines drawn? Does it become “too much” when we shower praise on our children via social media? Is “too much” defined by the phrases we choose, or the tone of our posts? Or, is it more about frequency of posting?
Well, we asked some parents this very question.
Mississippi Gulf Coast resident Shelley Mooar is mom to 13-year-old and a 20-year-old girls.
“I think milestone items are awesome,” she said, “but some things become undeniably obnoxious, such as the every-nine-weeks straight A’s public victory lap.”
“My children and family know how proud we are of our girls,” she continued. “The occasional public accolade is fine, especially when the accomplishment is extraordinary. Straight A’s and perfect ACT scores are awesome, but they’re not necessarily extraordinary. I don’t say this because my kids aren’t straight A kids. I say this because bragathons are completely annoying.”
Mooar took it a step further: she believes such “bragging” reflects upon the character of the parent,
“I do believe chronic public bragging indicates some sort of personal issue that could be explored,” she said.
Lance Stodghill, a dad from Houston, Texas, tends to agree.
“I like seeing a few items mixed in about kids because they are such a big part of friends’ lives,” he said. “It gets lame when it is the only thing in their lives. My son told me not to tag him, so that stopped.” “I don’t really post much about my kids,” he explained. “My kids are so awesome with scouts, school, swim team, swim coaches, acting [and being] funny little geniuses that I rarely brag about them on any media. Those that know them already know.”
Just as Stodghill’s son requested to not be tagged in posts, Jennifer Schroeder, of Forth Worth, Texas, worries that Facebook posts might come back to haunt. Schroeder is mom to three children, aged 12, 13 and 16.
“One thing I’ve wondered about lately with regard to parents posting about their children, whether bragging or not, is how the kids feel about it as they get older,” Schroeder said.
“I’ve seen some posts that I think would mortify my children if I posted something similar,” Schroeder continued. “For example, in the parent Facebook page for our high school marching band, the parent of a freshman girl had questions about proper attire for the band banquet. She proceeded to post pictures of her daughter in several dresses that they were contemplating. My 16-year-old daughter would feel humiliated if I put such pics on Facebook for the parents of her peers to see.”
Schroeder said kids should have some say in what is posted. Even with the best intentions, as in the example above, the judgement of a parent might be a little bit off, or at least, not aligned with what most teens consider to be “cool.”
Mandeville, Louisiana mom, Shannon Ernst, is parent to 16-year-old Julia, who likes to sing. Ernst’s attitude about “brags” is a bit more forgiving of herself and others. For her, the bragging is equivalent to support, and perhaps even building a future for her child.
“I post about Julia’s voice progress and accomplishments because so many college professors and coaches have friend requested me to follow her progress as she aspires to sing professionally,” Ernst said. “I also post a ton because my family does not live here, and we all keep up on social media.”
“I never post anything that would hurt another person or put my child against another,” she explained. “It also serves as an online diary for me. She’s my only child, and I cherish the timeline pop-ups.”
Also a resident of Louisiana, Laurie Bonura is mom to three boys, aged 13, 15 and 17.
“This is something I’ve actually worried over a lot lately,” she said.”I don’t like when people brag constantly or post their kids’ report cards. But I think it’s appropriate when they do something extraordinary and unique. Honestly, those extraordinary posts are sometimes the only positive things in my feed.”
She did confess that she worries sometimes about her own posts.
“But lately, I find myself bragging WAY more than I think anyone should about one of my three kids,” she said, adding that one of her sons has had a “rock star of a senior year.”
“I feel obnoxious,” she said, examining her own social media behaviors with honesty. “And I feel guilty about spending so much social media space on only one of three kids. But at the same time, I feel like he is just having an extraordinary series of events right now.”
“Nevertheless,” she added, “people probably want me to shut up about him already. I guess I figure people can just scroll past if not interested. If I’m being honest, that’s what I do for some parent brag posts about kids I don’t really know.”
As is evident from the opinions of just these few parents, there’s little agreement on what’s appropriate and what’s not. One thing’s for sure, though: a bit of moderation and good judgement never hurt anyone in life, and it’s probably no different when it comes to social media.
Kara Martinez Bachman is an author, editor, and mom to two teenage kids. She has posted on occasion about their accomplishments and just like most parents, has wondered whether she is being annoying.