Grandma’s Guidelines to Facilitate “A Truce in the Bragging Wars”

MommyUntil I read Bruce Feiler’s column, “This Life,” in the Sunday New York Times, February 3, 2013, I did not know there were bragging wars between mommy bloggers and daddy bloggers and other mommy bloggers and daddy bloggers, much less than “A Truce in the Bragging Wars,” the title of the article.

Bruce Feiler begins: “Mommy Bloggers (and their daddy counterparts, too) agree about almost nothing.  Some favor co-sleeping; others do not.  Some favor banning video games; others do not.  Similar disputes surround breastfeeding, vaccines, cursing and whether it’s O.K. to force-feed your child broccoli.

But a rare consensus has emerged on at least one topic.  What subject could possibly be so clear-cut it has elicited once-in-a-generation unanimity?

That parents should stop bragging about their children.”

Wow!  “Clear-cut.” “Once-in-a-generation unanimity.”  This is heavy.  He does admit at the end of the article:

If there is to be a truce in the bragging wars, it’s because both sides want the same thing: reassurance that they’re doing a passable job at something that’s very hard.

The best part of the article is number 8. of Mr. Feiler’s list of guidelines for bragging.  You guessed it; “Bragging to Granny is Allowed.”

Grandma does not care about the other eight of nine guidelines, but if you are a Mommy or Daddy who missed Bruce Feiler’s funny and informative column, here they are: (1) Brag about how good a child you have, not how good a parent; (2) Brag about effort, not accomplishment: (3) Brag in context, not that your life or child is perfect. (4) Follow “the bragging formula” of each boast should come surrounded by three negatives; (5) Don’t brag about something everyone else struggles with; (6) In-and-out brag, doing it quickly; (7) Avoid double bragging—use your child’s life to draw attention to your own past glories and (skipping 8 for a moment)(9) Bundle brag, bragging about the whole family who is doing well, as one unit.  And the magic number 8, one of Bruce Feiler’s guidelines to address “ONCE –IN-A-GENERATION UNANIMITY in parenting is worth repeating in its entirety:

8.  Bragging to Granny is allowed. Everyone agrees that boasting to your own parents is not just acceptable, it’s desirable.  Mr. Meltzer says: “There is, of course, the Grandparent Exception.  You can brag all you want to the child’s own grandparents.  And grandparents can—and will—brag back.  This isn’t a choice.  It’s nature.”

I love that Bruce Feiler decided to quote Brad Meltzer, who I learned in the article has written two nonfiction books about children, in addition to his wonderful fiction best sellers.

I love THE GRANDPARENT EXCEPTION.   Here are Grandma’s four guidelines to Facilitate Number 8 in “A Truce in the Bragging Wars.”  Here’s how to brag to Grandma:

Grandma NEVER gets tired of the daily I phone picture.  My younger daughter takes a picture of my grandchildren every day and sends it to the grandparents, close friends and relatives.  She adds funny or silly captions.   This brings the grandchildren to me every day and makes me a part of their daily lives.  I have discovered the many things I can do with these pictures on my I Phone: I can hit an icon and save the picture on my phone; I can hit an icon and send the picture by text; I can hit an icon and send the picture by email.  I can brag.  I cannot tell you which icon it is.  Every time I figure it out seems like the first time because I am so mechanically challenged.  Of course, I print the pictures to put in the children’s annual photo album.  Yes, their albums are large and include pictures of their lives, in addition to me in their lives.  My older daughter does the picture thing too, more targeted to events and activities a few times a week, but she and my younger daughter’s husband are great in sending frequent short video clips of the grandchildren from their I phone.  I have seen bits of basketball games, swim meets, piano recitals and just plain fun.  Yes, sometimes it makes me sad that I am not there but I must watch each about twenty times until I almost feel that I am there as they live far away.  See, I tempered the bragging  using seven of nine of Bruce Feiler’s guidelines in one paragraph!


I should again pay a little closer attention to the nine guidelines in the truce in the bragging wars.   I guess Grandma using Bruce Feiler’s nine guidelines too cannot hurt.  But, are there bragging wars among grandmas?  No, I do not think so.  Why?  Here is my next tip:

Okay, I must admit it.  I am also listening carefully to learn.  We forever learn.  Grandma lessons.  We Grandmas each give them to each other, with the deserved bragging.  When you get to our long (never old) ages, we can brag.  We deserve it.  The reward for hard work of parenting is the joy of grandparenting.

So,  Mommys and Daddys,  Grandmas and Grandpas, please brag to any Grandma you want.  I expand  Mr. Feiler’s number 8. to “Bragging to ANY Granny is allowed.” Give us one bragging tidbit in your parenting or grandparenting of your child or grandchild that we can pass along.  You may not realize it but it helps us Grandmas  improve our own grandchildren’s lives.  Your idea or tidbit can also give US something to provide “reassurance” to our children “that they are doing a passable job”  at the hard job of parenting. Every day, listening to you all, we grandmas learn a Grandma Lesson to add fullness to the lives of our precious grandchildren with



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