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Oneupmanship driving me crazy, any ideas on how to handle this please?

(15 Posts)
VelcroBaby Mon 21-Apr-14 19:01:30

Currently on holiday with a group of friends and friends of friends, plus our kids who all get on pretty well. However one boy, age 9, can't seem to say anything unless it's to tell everyone else how their experience / funny story / possessions are nothing like as amazing / shocking / good as his.

It's wearing a bit thin (understatement). I suspect he is a bit insecure and his mum is a friend of friend so I don't feel I could say anything to her as I don't know her so well. I don't want to raise it within the group as that's not fair to effectively start bitching about him but I can see that it's not doing the child any favours and my own dc are clearly finding it pretty tedious, as I am. He does it to children and adults alike.

Is there any way of saying something lighthearted to try and show this behaviour up a bit? Ie get him to realise what he's doing without slapping him down. We have another week to go!

EasterSundaySimmons Tue 22-Apr-14 07:01:58

You'll probably end up looking mean if you say anything.

You are probably correct, he feels insecure and whilst it may look as if he is boasting, it may be something that he does in order to make himself feel better and fit in with others.

If you say something like, ."oh, I might have known you'd have done something bigger/better/brighter", you are effectively bruising his ego. A child's ego is different from an adults and hurting a child's feelings without knowing the full background of his circumstance could be damaging and distressing.

Simply explain to your own children that some people feel the need to boast about things they have or have done. It's not really polite to boast and you would like them to be quietly appreciative of their own things and achievements and the best way to deal with the boy who is constantly bragging is to say, "you lucky boy" in response to each new boast and then move on to another subject.

It isn't your place to correct the boy as it will look as if you are rounding on him.

He may well be lacking in social skills and as he gets older he will understand that there is a line between boasting and bragging and being proud of his achievements.

Bunbaker Tue 22-Apr-14 07:13:26

My BIL does this all the time. He comes from a humble background and is now an insufferable snob. His finest moment was when we were at an Easter egg hunt in my auntie's garden and we were given hard boiled eggs for a game and then had to use them to make egg mayonnaise sandwiches. There was salad cream on the table. He said scornfully and very loudly "of course we only use mayonnaise in our house". This from the mouth of someone who had never eaten mayonnaise until he met my sister. Everyone just cringed.

EasterSundaySimmons Tue 22-Apr-14 07:50:20

I think it can be difficult for children though. We praise them and tell others of their achievements and want them to have a high self esteem.

Then we shoot them down in flames if we hear them, 'bragging'!

It can be confusing for a child to know exactly when telling others in an informative way turns into boasting.

Most of us stay quiet when an adult starts boasting because we don't want to 'feed' them and give them more attention.

When it's a child, we either harshly dismiss them which gives way to them feeling hurt or we ignore and they blithely carry on unaware they are seen as being insufferable.

Thirst way is to focus on your own children and how they present themselves to others and hopefully the other boy will pick up that he is the only one bragging about things.

VelcroBaby Tue 22-Apr-14 20:04:10

Thank you, you talk a lot of sense. It's a good lesson in forbearance for us all!

Mintyy Tue 22-Apr-14 20:07:40

I'm afraid you just have to ignore if the culprit is a 9 year old. Why on earth are you letting it get to you so much? The only people who can teach him otherwise are his parents - if they aren't doing anything and you won't say anything to them then just ignore or avoid as much as you can.

Honestly, it sounds like a tiny problem. You dislike this child but don't let it become a big thing that spoils your holiday.

VelcroBaby Tue 22-Apr-14 20:34:30

It's annoying Mintyy because no one can say anything, from "ow I just hurt my knee falling off the slide" to "I once had a lovely holiday in France" without his instant response (even if he wasn't the one you were talking to directly) being "that's nothing I once fell off a really massive slide onto my head and it hurt more" or "well it's not as good as when I went to Bognor Regis and rode on a donkey".

Fair play if it wouldn't annoy you, but it annoys me and my dc and like I said I suspect it's not making him popular with anyone. But I'm not about to talk about him to others here, I just wanted to vent and see if anyone had a good way of conveying to him, nicely or jokily, that this behaviour is wearing as that would be great. Other posters were very helpful in providing perspective and I've thanked them. Happy now?

Mintyy Tue 22-Apr-14 20:37:56

Happy now what??

VelcroBaby Tue 22-Apr-14 20:41:40

Happy now I have explained why it is getting to me. As you seem to have a problem with the fact that I have a problem, first-world though it may be.

Mintyy Tue 22-Apr-14 20:42:22


EasterSundaySimmons Wed 23-Apr-14 02:01:08

On a lighter note, the thread has brought back a very old memory of my first ex and one of his work mates.

The work mate had seen and done everything and bought the t shirt. He was a funny guy, nice but odd and he got a lot of stick for the rubbish he spouted.

He claimed to have travelled the world yet was clueless about many cultures or geographical locations. His final downfall came after he watched a film with a few of his workmates, including my then partner, and he proudly announced at the end of the film, "I've been there", when he thought the credits revealed the film location. Made in Panavision! He never lived it down!

Nandocushion Wed 23-Apr-14 03:31:09

This drives me up the wall and I can barely hold my tongue for even two hours of a playdate when I have to listen to it - DS(6) has one friend in particular who does it constantly, and at least half of his boasts are flat-out lies. You have my admiration if you are managing to put up with it over a holiday.

I'm surprised a 9-year-old hasn't been corrected out of it by his parents tbh.

MexicanSpringtime Wed 23-Apr-14 05:13:59

I find turning things like that into an affectionate joke helps in this situations. A friend of my daughter used to always pepper her stories with "And I screamed", and we all made it a joke, not at her expense I hasten to add, and she calmed down.

Chottie Wed 23-Apr-14 05:34:30

He's a 9 year old little boy who obviously feels insecure for some reason. Just ignore it and be the grownup. It seems to me that you are reading far too much into this. Leave it to his parents.......

ivykaty44 Wed 23-Apr-14 05:52:19

I would just let him know that he needs to be careful not to upset other people who have not been so lucky as him as they might get upset at not being so lucky to have had a donkey ride in rhyl. Say it sincerley that some people will not have been so lucky and they might get sad.

He will probably ignore it but you never know, said gently enough and with compassion it may help

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