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Competitive/pushy conversations - how do you deal with them?

(71 Posts)
normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 15:28:50

I've noticed a pattern where a friend will say "My DC weighs X now" or "has X number teeth" or "eats olives" or "has gone up to the next car seat now"..... etc etc and it just changes according to the stage of development.

I find myself getting irritated as either a) DS seems behind and I feel vulnerable, or b) DS is 'ahead' but I can't say because I'll look like a dick!

So I just smile and say "great" or something like that...

The culprits are usually the same handful of people (who I can't avoid) and I sometimes find myself just going quiet because I'm not sure what to say.

I'm aware that this will go on forever to the point of 'my DC has an astrophysics degree' and beyond so I'd like to know now if others are bothered by this stuff and what they do, to help me deal with these people for the next 20yrs plus!

BitOfFun Tue 19-Jul-11 15:31:01

Tempted as I might be to say "Great, mine doesn't talk aged ten and shits on pouffes", I tend to restrict myself to "Great", much like you grin. What else can you do?

normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 15:36:20

grin bit of fun, I might try that! I did wonder if it was my problem that I was irritated, and others didn't feel it. I'd love a polite way of just steering the conversation elsewhere...

smallwhitecat Tue 19-Jul-11 15:38:52

Message withdrawn

normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 15:44:05

That's a really good point, small white, with old friends it's completely different, I wonder why? Maybe because mother & baby groups throw together a weird concoction of folks (I include myself) with nothing in common except their similarly aged babies.

And I even recognise that the worst boasters are the ones I know for a fact feel very insecure. Doesn't stop it annoying me though!

Pinkjenny Tue 19-Jul-11 15:45:21

My eldes is now 4, my best friend's is 5, and her dd has been in Reception for the last year. And is, by all accounts, the Brain of Britain.

I just sound really enthusiastic whilst inwardly rolling my eyes. A lot.

smallwhitecat Tue 19-Jul-11 15:47:58

Message withdrawn

normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 15:58:50

How reassuring that I'm not the only one.

I'm all for pride in children's achievements, but not when it seems intended to show how much better they are than other children...

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Jul-11 16:10:33

I think the only way to "win" these conversations is to not join in at all. So just say "Great" or "That's lovely" or "Mmmm has he/she?" and don't give in to the temptation to tell them how your child compares if you feel they are just doing it to boast, as that will just encourage them to use your child as a yardstick for the next piece of development.

It's different if you have actual friends, and happen to discuss what your DC are doing, or if someone genuinely asks you what your child is doing because they are concerned about their own child's progress and want to know what is typical.

But the competitive parents just want reassurance that they are doing it best, and they'll keep on wanting it even when their child is an adult!

QueenKate Tue 19-Jul-11 16:16:06

My I don't really give a crap comment is usually "good for you" - I use it on SIL all the time.

HalfPastSeven Tue 19-Jul-11 16:17:29

MY DC are a bit older. A parent of a child in DS's class was boasting about how many teeth he had lost already (and it was defintiely boasting). I would normally just say "that's great", but found myself adding "I hadn't realised that was a sign of advanced intelligence".
To be fair, she laughed.

normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 16:25:18

Well said mum in Scotland... I do have that moment of temptation to join in because I want to 'stick up for' DS, in fact that's probably one of the reasons it annoys me - it brings out something I dislike in myself-my initial instinct to compete.

I love those comebacks, one day I'll have the guts/ presence of mind to use them!

girlafraid Tue 19-Jul-11 16:31:04

My sil is like this - she is a sad individual with no life and that's why she does it.

I did once lose it with her and suggest she contact mensa as her child crawling at 8.5 months was clearly a sign of quite extraordinary intelligence. Just made me sound like a bitch though!

LaWeasel Tue 19-Jul-11 16:41:35

If you are at the stage of not knowing each other very well maybe she feels like she can only talk about baby stuff? (and baby stuff is pretty dull and repetative after a while even if it's not boasty...)

Try starting a conversation about something not baby related and see what she's like then.

exoticfruits Tue 19-Jul-11 16:50:01

Just stick tosomething vague like,' they are all different', and change the subject.Don't get drawn in by making a response. Sound like a broken record and she will get the point-hopefully-eventually.

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 19-Jul-11 16:51:54

I tend not to notice when people are being competitive with me. Are you sure she's being competitive about these things or does she, infact, have very little to talk about other than her pfb? I have noticed that some parents of babies, sometimes, can be ever so dull to talk to.

HoneyNorwegianRidgebackdragon Tue 19-Jul-11 16:54:01

"really, how lovely! <genuine smile>

then laugh about them later with your real friends and save the best ones for Mumsnet.

exoticfruits Tue 19-Jul-11 16:58:16

Alternatively just try saying 'I'm just enjoying the stage they are at' and change the subject. Honey is right-get you own back and post the best on MN!

violetwellies Tue 19-Jul-11 17:03:48

My Sil is like that, from she never had any problem bf, to the length of he dc's eyelashes (I kid you not) never mind the state of the garden or my unwillingness to cook (I do cook, I'm a good cook -its just my lack of response to her half arsed comments lead her to think I dont) I never rise to her comments snd frequently fantasize about her early demise smile

normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 17:35:27

Seems to be a sister in law theme coming out! Mine is fab, thank god, I only get this crap from acquaintances.

The irony is that if people aren't boasty I love pointing out the fab/entertaining things their DC are doing, it's part of making your friends feel good and enjoying stuff together innit.

But show me a pushy parent and I clam up.

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Jul-11 17:41:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BonzoDooDah Tue 19-Jul-11 17:53:26

Say "that's nice"

One of my favourite jokes:
There were these two women in the hospital ward, each having just had a baby, and were resting in their shared room.
The rich woman looked at the other woman, cuddling her baby, and said, "For my FIRST baby, my husband gave me a diamond ring."
The poor woman looked up from her babe and said, "That's nice."

The rich woman went on, "For my SECOND baby, my husband gave me a fur coat."
The poor woman again looked at her and said, "That's nice." and went back to adoring her baby.

The rich woman continued, " For THIS baby, my husband gave me a Rolls Royce."
The poor woman simply replied, "That's nice."

Incensed that she wasn't more properly impressed, the rich woman asked, "Well, whatever did YOUR husband ever give YOU for havin' a baby?"
The poor woman answered, "He sent me to elocution lessons."

"Elocutions Lessons? Whatever for?"

"Well before I used to say 'F*ck off' but now I just say 'That's nice' "

Octaviapink Tue 19-Jul-11 18:56:44

This is one reason I tend to avoid mother-and-baby groups.

blewit Tue 19-Jul-11 19:22:15

I have found it's ten times worse when they're school age and doing after school activities. The competitiveness to get their dc in the next class up for dancing or swimming is ridiculous. In one of our classes one mother made such a fuss that her dd was put up to the next group, leaving no space for the girl who was actually ready to move up and now has to wait another term. The one who was moved up too early is now struggling and wants to leave. It's bizarre. Every time there's an end of term badge, they all ask "what did yours get". One particular mother gets really cross if her 3 yr old isn't getting the same badge as the 5 year olds in the class, who have been attending two years longer. It's just bonkers.

normalshmormal Tue 19-Jul-11 19:36:37

Oh I'd forgotten about the swimming badges blewitt, we're getting that already, they're 8 months old ffs!

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