Be proud by all means but try doing it in private

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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There are many reasons to be proud of your children. But some parents do like to bleat on about it.

From the very first baby and toddler group you attend you will meet ‘those’ mothers who excitedly tell you how their child is eating quinoa and butternut squash for tea, or who have written their name in macaroni, or something.

‘Oh look’, they will cry, ‘Matilda has taken three steps even though she’s only six months old!’

Well, great. That’s what every mother wants to hear isn’t it? When your child will only eat mashed banana or milk (at the age of three) and can’t be relied upon without a nappy, other parent’s moments of pride can lead others to do something rash.

My favourite moments are when a child misbehaves in public. Nothing too awful, but things that obviously embarrass their parents.

Last week I was in a clothes shop and a mother was dutifully chatting to her daughter about what kind of socks she might want. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the child’s only response was ‘poo, poo, poo!’

The mother was mortified, I was greatly amused. After all, in 10 years’ time that same parent can have great fun embarrassing her back.

But there are some moments in your child’s life that you can be truly proud of.

School plays, assemblies or simply achieving a school target, can be great moments to celebrate.

I still maintain, though, that these are largely best kept to within the boundaries of your home.

One friend of mine likes to list all her child’s great sporting achievements on her Facebook profile for all to fawn over.

Of course, I am genuinely pleased that he is doing so well, but I don’t think I need to read incessantly about it. And don’t expect me to join in the celebration when he swims eight lengths.

I am very proud of my own children’s achievements, though. And I won’t bore you with them – promise!

Achievements are very personal things. But I was thrilled the other day when my son and older daughter both expressed an interest in joining in with a sport I have enjoyed playing for more than 20 years.

Having agreed with my team that they could come along to our practise, they excitedly trotted along with me and then very ably joined in, trying hard to pick up the rules and techniques to play Ultimate Frisbee.

What thrilled me the most was the fact that they got so much enjoyment out of it. We played for around an hour and a half and I expected them both to be a little tired and emotional. But instead they chatted animatedly about how much they enjoyed it.

Neither were naturals at the sport, but their thirst to get better and to continue playing made me genuinely proud.

Here were my two older children playing the sport that brought me and their father together, gave us many happy weekends at tournaments both home and abroad, and helped us meet many people from around the world (who we are still in touch with).

If my children can find ‘their’ sport and do the same then I will be happy. Oh, and proud.