Is your child a braggart? ‘I’m the smartest kid in school.’ ‘I’ve got more Lego than you!’ ‘I got a higher Math score than you did!’
No, your child isn’t being obnoxious. He’s just learning social skills, and he doesn’t know how to assert himself without putting people off. It’s also normal for them to start comparing themselves to peers, and react to another child’s declarations of pride.
A little bragging didn’t hurt anyone, but if he’s always competing with other kids, then it’s time to teach him to stop showing off.
Set a good example
Don’t gloat in front of your child. Instead, show him there are appropriate ways to delight in achievements. For example, don’t demean others or exaggerate the truth.
It’s better to encourage than to praise
Focusing on the process (‘Wow you really worked hard on that card!’) and not the product helps him have the right attitude to success. For example, if you always say, ‘That’s the best drawing I’ve ever seen!’ or ‘Your paintings are a lot nicer than your cousins!’ feeds a sense of competition and makes him feel he fails if he’s not doing better than others.
Teach him to be a good winner
Your child wins the race and you hear him tell his friend, ‘I’m faster than you!’ In private, tell him that though you’re proud he won, he shouldn’t make others feel bad. Help him feel compassion: ‘You feel bad when you lose, right? Imagine what would happen if your friend said that you?’
Go to the root of the problem
Is he bragging because he’s insecure about something or jealous of a friend? Helping him process his feelings will help him become more emotionally aware and to look for more positive outlets. (Read a related article, on what to do when your preschooler is being pushy.)
Teach him to admire others
Show him that admiring others’ accomplishments does not diminish our own. ‘We are all good at different things!’ Help him to see and praise others, and to laugh at his own weaknesses.
Photo from tonguesout.com