You may know or have a child who is boastful. While this isn’t the worst of all character flaws to have, it probably isn’t something you want to allow to continue. Does it leave you wondering why children brag and boast? Your next question might be how to stop it.
Experts say children who brag may have self-esteem issues. They may lack self-confidence and feel the need to make themselves out to be better than they may actually be. It’s likely they brag about their achievements to make themselves feel better or make others appear not to be as good as them.
Another reason children brag and boast is because they haven’t figured out their place in the world. At school they may be the smallest, at home they might be the youngest, so there’s no place where they feel like they’re the best in anything. They need to feel important and don’t know how to manage it.
Some children brag or boast about achievements because they think people will like them. They don’t realize being boastful or bragging isn’t an endearing quality. In their desire to make friends and be liked, they don’t realize they may be pushing people aside. Rather than having the friends they want, they end up being lonelier than they were before.
Finally, some children become boastful or brag because they have a family member who behaves the same way. There’s a poem by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. entitled “Children Learn What They Live.” Even though being a braggart isn’t listed in this poem, it’s easy to see how children would learn this from being around one who is.
So now you know why children brag and boast, what can you do about it? One good tip is to do whatever you can to build your child’s self-confidence. Help them understand that no one likes a bragger and that bragging can make people avoid them. Rather than making themselves better than everyone else, help them learn to give others compliments for their achievements.
If your child does something deserving of praise, don’t withhold it. And let your child know you think they’re wonderful, you’re proud to be their parent, and that you love them unconditionally. They don’t need to make themselves feel better if they understand someone thinks they’re special.
Set a good example for the children in your life. If they hear you bragging about something, they’ll continue to think it’s alright for them to do it. You can acknowledge an accomplishment without making a huge deal out of it.
There are very few people who like listening to someone brag or boast about things. Why do children brag and boast? In many instances it’s associated with poor self-esteem. One of the best things you can do is be a good example. Other than that, let your children know how special they are so they don’t have to make themselves to be more than they are.