Bragging on Facebook – Annoying or Acceptable?

A while ago, my friend Louise relayed that she was horrified to learn that a woman she knows “unfriends” people on Facebook who brag about their kids a lot. Louise explained that she loves sharing news about her children and also hearing about other people’s kiddos. While I couldn’t agree more, I completely get where her friend is coming from.

I don’t have a problem with parents who use their status updates to talk about the cool stuff their kids do. But there is one condition – I better be hearing some of the bad stuff too. I love learning that little Johnny won MVP in the championship game, but I hope to also hear when little Johnny is sent to the office for giving his teacher the finger. If I’m getting all of the good, and none of the bad – well, that might qualify as annoying. If all I’m hearing about is your fabulous life, adoring husband and academically gifted children, I’m either rolling my eyes or throwing up a little in my mouth. If sickly sweet is the only thing being served up, I can find it hard to stomach.

It’s also interesting to consider what accomplishments we see as ‘bragable’. I’m as thrilled as the next parent when my kid manages to get balls in nets or cross finish lines before the friends do. Sometimes I’ll post about my pride. However, I do try to focus my bragging moments on the stuff that really matters – when they do something kind, thoughtful or empathetic. Those are the things that are worth sharing and celebrating. I recently posted on Facebook about my 12-year-old son who had offered to help my 97-year-old grandfather with a rather unpleasant task – one that most adults find difficult. Offering assistance to his elderly great-grandpa – well, that was brag worthy. Seems Facebook agreed – I’ve never seen so many “likes” in my history on that site.

My friend Stephanie recently posted about her father and I think it’s a shining example of appropriate bragging.

Stephanie SassyModernmom:
Can I just brag about my Dad? A 70-year-old man. Retired. In pain every day. While “wintering” in Florida, he spends every single Monday building houses for Habitat for Humanity. How cool is that?

What is your tolerance for bragging – annoying or awesome?

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217 Responses to “Bragging on Facebook – Annoying or Acceptable?”

  1. Louise

    Sharing details about the big and small things that make parenthood so rewarding? Absolutely! But I think, as Julie’s post suggests, we don’t need to hang onto friends whose outlooks don’t align with ours. I use humor and honesty in my posts and I know it resonates with my fellow parents and even with those who don’t have children. And for the record, Julie and I remain steadfast Facebook friends ;)

  2. Julie Ellis

    Totally agree! I see similar things with people who actually complain all the time. I think it is about balance. (And hope I can retain that!) :)

  3. Yukari

    I agree Julie. If the bragging is vanity-based, it’s a major turn-off for me. However, your status about the kindness of your son – I “like”ed and commented – was absolutely brag worthy. One of the sweetest status I’ve seen.

  4. Nay

    I’m about keeping it real-some days they do things that are brag worthy and other days they communicate through fart noises. And that’s just DH! Ha. In all seriousness, for my boys, it’s all part of the package and I love reading/hearing/talking about it all. Nobody’s perfect – including my children and I’m fully aware of that. And just in case I forget, you’ll remind me. lol

  5. Alison Kramer

    i LOVE bragging and would actually not share “bad” stuff about my kids online. I feel like anything that could be seen as bad, is really theirs to decide to share with the world.

    When they do amazing things, I like to share them. As they have gotten older, i ask them before i do, to make sure it’s okay with them. I know they wouldn’t want the world to know if they were in trouble or something went wrong, and i wouldn’t want to embarrass them.

    i do share my own stories of messing parenting up online, as much as I share what I do right – but i think that is my own story to share.

    My 2 cents :) Great blog Julie, as always :)

    • Julie Cole

      I think you make a great point about privacy. People have different levels of comfort when it comes to sharing…and as the kiddos get older, it’s a game-changer for sure. Thanks for your contribution Al!!

  6. Candace

    Good topic Julie! I share all sorts of stuff about my life, that includes my daughter. Like Alison, I wouldn’t post anything anywhere that would embarrass her in any way. She’s 9 now and has discovered Google. She is often looking over my shoulder and reading when I’m online. Her stories are hers now.

    • Julie Cole

      Yeah, nothing that would ever embarass them here. I find I actually use it as almost an online baby book….funny things they say and cute stories of how they interact, etc. I think one day I’ll have to collect all of my FB status updates and hand them over and say “here’s your baby book!”

  7. Stephanie

    I don’t mind the bragging, but I’m with you….I don’t need to hear about how wonderful or amazing a child is every single day. I think most kids are fairly amazing, so it should go without saying.
    I much prefer to hear about the real, authentic moments going on in one’s life.

    Oh and yes, the comment about my Dad on my facebook page received more likes in an hour then any other status update I had ever left.
    Thanks for the shout out! Brag worthy”)

  8. Kelly Tibbets

    Agree, the good, the bad the ugly. If I have to hear about someone poopin’ on the potty I better hear about when someone poops their pants! LOL! Great post.

  9. Steve | Web Direct

    Great post. Love the humour. :O)

    Anybody who unfriends somebody just for bragging about their kids probably wasn’t someone that you would want to be friended to in the first place.

    Let’s face it, we all think our kids are great and want to shout about it.

    One of the reasons that parents don’t like to post about bad things is because they think it will reflect on their ability as parents. yet they are quite happy to brag, probably not realising that it is achieving the same job.

  10. wendy

    I do post a lot about my kids. But not the really personal stuff. Especially with my school-aged son. Some of his friend’s parents are on my facebook, and I wouldn’t post anything that he wouldn’t tell his friends at school.

  11. Stephanie

    I post his achievements because I am proud of him, and I think it is good for his self esteem to get acknowledgement of these great things he has done. I don’t post the bad because that would be doing the opposite. I would not want anyone posting my faults for all to see. I also post so our friends in other parts of the world can see what he is up to, kind of like a baby book like someone said.

    • Julie Cole

      FB is such a fantastic way to share with friends and family living far away….and they really do want to hear the good stuff!

  12. Lisa

    As a parent of a child with special needs, it can get annoying and discouraging to read others’ bragging. Often times, my child has to work extremely hard to achieve something that other kids achieve easily. But I would never post these achievements because it would embarraass him to ever read it. I like reading others post about things of character their child has done rather than just mere achievement.

    • Julie Cole

      I’m so with you on the character stuff…that’s the stuff that makes me most proud. And from the special needs parent perspecItive – I totally hear you….

  13. Kim

    I really think the most important part of the bragging is keeping it real and authentic. And asking ourselves WHY we are bragging about little Lucy or Johnny in the first place. To me there is a huge difference in bragging because you are so darn proud of your child…and then bragging because you want to be seen as the parent who has this wonderful acedemically inclined child. The latter is the one that I cannot tolerate.

    I have kids with special needs so my bragging could be seen as everyday experiences for some, but when we get out of the house on time two days in a row…you betcha I am going to brag about that…LOL

    Great blog…definately food for thought!

  14. Karen

    I definitely don’t try to sugar-coat my life, but I hold back more of the “bad” stuff as my son gets older. I’m very cognizant of the fact that his online reputation started before he was even born and I don’t know what things from his digital past – that he doesn’t have control over – might influence someone’s opinion of him at some point later in life.

    It may seem overly paranoid given the number of people online and the vast amounts of data, but if it’s out there, I can’t pull it back. If it isn’t out there, I don’t have to worry about it.

  15. Kris

    I’m glad to hear this perspective because sometimes I feel like other mothers do not want to hear the negative stuff at *all*!

    I agree it’s best to have a balance…

    I like to share about my kids’, especially when they say really funny things (who doesn’t want to start their day with a good LOL?). But yes there are times it’s great to get advice from friends-who-are-also-parents about kid issues that are more serious too.

    In my experience, I’ve actually found that moms can be really judgemental about *any* negative status updates!

    Maybe this is partly because FB (and other social media) is flawed in how it is set up… The “like” button, so easy to click (while NAKing or otherwise unable to fully respond) does not have an equivalent to show support for non-cheerful posts.

    This can lead moms/women to feel like no one answers them when they post about less “happy” topics, and therefore, they might feel they *should* only post about the good stuff (the easy stuff, the shallow stuff, etc.).

    I have noticed this pressure (not just from the practical set up of the media, but for other reasons as well, like people getting tired if you have life stressors that go on longer than expected) and therefore have a separate filter set up for close friends who want “all the details”.

    JMHO (as someone who has thought a lot on this issue!) Thanks for opening up the discussion!

    • Julie Cole

      interesting comments re: FB….it is difficult for people when there is no response at all. I’m going to pay closer attention to the negative vs positive response! TY!

  16. Dee Brun

    Oh I LUV reading and Posting the bad stuff the most…Makes me feel totally normal and that everyone else is messing their kids up as bad as I am…Great Post.


  17. Karie

    Bragging in moderation, I think! People are proud but some people over do it! I would personally not post any of the bad stuff. People’s life on fb often looks better than it is – everyone should remember that! When people post pics of a trip, they’re posting the highlights, not the fight they did with their spouse or kids! haha What I don’t really like is people posting about private matters especially a negative situation, tagging me in unflattering pics haha and not a fan of chain facebook messages.

    • Julie Cole

      so true! I remember someone asking how I always get good pics of the six kids all looking at the camera – my response of course was that I didn’t post the 100 bad shots it took to get that one good one!

  18. Greta Branch

    I wish more people knew how to create Facebook Groups so bragging could hit a target audience, not the entire friends list. Parents of Special Needs kids don’t need to be reminded of their children’s limitations. I agree with the comments about respecting kid’s privacy in regards to positive or negative postings. I tend to question parental motivation in terms of chronic bragging. Is it for validation? Trying to prove a point?

  19. Alysha

    I don’t mind reading status updates about my friends’ kids but it is all about the tone when it comes to how well I tolerate bragging. If the update sounds “holier than thou” then it gets me annoyed. If the parent is proud of their child for doing something they think is awesome and the tone is very neutral, then I tolerate it. I like to share things about my kids and it is mostly positive (I think one should share negative stuff in person or in a PM) but I share some of the disappointments too so people realize that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows! Lol

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