Interacting With Hypercompetitive Parents

Every parent is proud of their kids. You know it, and I know it. Let’s be honest here; my husband and I were so proud of our oldest daughter the first time she went number two in the potty all by herself that we called our parents, all the aunts and uncles, and sent mass text messages to all our parenting friends (because they understand our excitement). This is perfectly normal – if not a little gross and a lot disturbing. However, some parents are more than proud of their kids, they are hypercompetitive. If your three-year-old can read her sight words, her three-year-old just finished reading the entire seven book Harry Potter series – by herself. Before you start judging hypercompetitive parents, you have to understand what it is they are really saying as they continuously try to one-up everyone else.


There are two types of insecure parents who turn to hypercompetitive mode when they are with other parents. The first insecure mom is the one who has nothing going on in her own life worth talking about and she feels the need to showcase her children’s (sometimes imaginary and slightly misleading) accomplishments to make herself feel better about her lack of accomplishments.

The other insecure parent is the one who is just in need of attention. This is a parent who is not comfortable with herself, and who is so insecure she thinks that the only way people will like her is if she is perfect; and if her kids are perfect.

Dealing with Hypercompetitive Parents

The next time you sit at dance class watching your daughter as a hypercompetitive mom tells you all about her kids accomplishments, remember that what she’s really saying is that she’s insecure and in desperate need of your approval.

The worst thing you can do – and believe me, I know this is not always easy – is to stoop to their level. While there is a natural level of comparison about children among parents, making it into a competition is never good, and allowing someone like this to get you started bragging about your kids’ accomplishments is never going to end well. Just smile the next time a hypercompetitive mom makes up yet another story about her perfectly normal, not very exciting child and tell her you think it’s great that all kids develop differently and at a different rate.


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