Humorous Suggestions for Toning Down Boastful Parents
Q: My best friend’s son is in the gifted and talented program, and she constantly brags about his brilliance. Any tips for me to get her to tone it down?
A: This is probably just the beginning of what your best friend is going to do to annoy the cuss out of you. But I do agree, the whole “gifted” thing is obnoxious. The name alone is ridiculous. It’s like having a special class just for the “beautiful” or the “clever” children.
Having one child in the gifted program and one in the “general population” myself, I’ve come to learn that the kids are pretty much the same across the board; the stark difference here is the parents of these “gifted” kids. Some are, quite simply, frightening.
This is the most intense, uptight and rigid group of people I have ever had to endure an Open House with. Usually it’s just me and a few other slacker-moms sitting in the back row ridiculing the PTA lady for her over-articulated welcoming speech and sad addiction to the Power Point clicker.
But when my son was moved into gifted, I went down a very solemn road at every parental meeting, with no one to make eye contact with when an eye-roll was clearly called for. And how could they make eye contact with anyone? They were all so diligently taking notes and jotting down memos about the various questions they were going to ask at the end of the assemblage.
Questions! I had had a martini with my friend Monique before arriving 20 minutes late so as to bypass the principle’s “We’re All So Glad You’re Here” speech and was totally engrossed in trying to stuff my not-a-size-four backside into my second-grader’s gnome-sized chair. So the only thing I got from that meeting was never wear a pencil skirt with Spanks to an Open House. But I digress....
The problem here is not really with the oddities within the school system. The problem here is with this friend of yours and how you can knock her down a peg or two when she gets all Biblical about her offspring’s mental dexterity. Evidently, she feels inferior to you and your (obviously superior) intellect, and as such feels the need to live through her child and his intellectual promise.
Now I can tell you how I would handle this, but it might not be your cup of tea. I would simply mock. Tease, taunt and insult your way to an open dialogue about how she’s secretly jealous that you won’t be spending your holiday producing a Science Fair project on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Laughter my friend, it’s what keeps us together.
Jeanne Martin is a freelance writer, graphic designer and mother of two kids and an onery chihauhua.