Rule #7: Make Sure Your Kid is Obnoxious

in Rules of Parenting

kid showing off something

The only thing he's showing off is obnoxiousness.

A confident child is a wonderful child, which means you should frequently remind your offspring that they’re gifted, talented and more unique than average children—especially their friends and kids spawned from the Great Pool of Extremely Average who attend regular public schools.

Precocious offspring elicit joy wherever they roam. Everyone loves a child who is incredibly smart and shows it by reciting all he knows at every possible opportunity.

If They Know It, Show It

Reinforce your child’s academic swagger by reminding him to showcase his talents. Great examples to implement from an early age:

Display worldliness. Encourage your child to deliver his order entirely in Spanish next time you’re at the Taco Bell drive-thru. The employees will be tickled with the concept and probably play along. Your car arriving in the parking lot will always be a welcome sight.

kid playing piano and not looking

Why don't you get good at playing with your eyes open first...

Perform impromptu recitals. Everyone loves music, so there’s no doubt that all of your adult friends will be enchanted at your next dinner party when you treat them to your child’s robotic butchering of their favorite Beethoven songs…over and over again.

Correct adult grammar. If a close friend comes by to share bad news with you, and says, “Jane and me are facing foreclosure on our house, and there’s nothing we can do,” your child should feel free to interrupt and chime in with, “That’s not right, grammatically speaking. You should have said, ‘Jane and I…’”

Your friend will be glad he came, and your child’s contribution will be just what he needed to cheer up. (Adults love grammatical brazenness.)

Be generous with advice. When you take in your brother after his messy divorce, let your child know it’s perfectly natural to offer Uncle Larry guidance…and maybe even some motivation. There’s nothing quite so stirring as a 10 year old suggesting that you need a diet, breath mints, Breathe Easy Nasal Strips and a higher-paying job. Your brother will be out of his rut in no time.

These habits will help your children grow into opinionated adults who are always known for having something to bring to the table. Even if no one wants to sit with them.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna November 9, 2008 at 6:58 am

I think this might be the best nugget of advice yet. And damn if I’m not going to apply every morsel of this ideology to my budding precocious child. If only we could aspire to such greatness.
By the way, this post made me laugh so hard, I might have peed a little. :-)


Lucy October 27, 2009 at 7:11 am

Have you ever encountered this horrible little poem?

by Judith K. Schulze

Golly! I just took a test
That says I’m different from the rest.
What am I? Well, I must confess…
I’m “gifted.”

The psychologist said right from his heart,
“I fear that you are rather smart
And from this day you are to start…
Being gifted.”

I think I turned six shades of green
And developed pains down to my spleen.
I asked, “Whatever does it mean?
This word ‘gifted’?”

He said, “You have a high I.Q.
I wish, my child, that I were you!
Why I’d give an arm or leg or two
To be gifted.

My thoughts immediately went adrift
And each idea I did sift.
At last I said, “Give me my gift.
Then I’ll be gifted!”

He laughed for all that he was worth
And nearly doubled up with mirth.
“This gift you have you’ve had since birth.
You’ve BEEN gifted!”

I thought and then when he was done
I asked, “Am I the only one
In this whole school or under the sun
Who is gifted?”

He named the two or three percent
Of students who to classes went.
And then I knew just what this meant,
About gifted.

It could be the best news I’d heard,
But then I thought about a word
And screamed, “But, must I be a nerd
If I’m gifted?”

He laughed again when I was through.
“My child, you’ll always be just you
But smarter than all except a few
‘Cause you’re gifted.”

“Will I be perfect? Get all A’s?
Make the Honor Roll? Get lots of praise?
Have no homework nights and easy days?
Well, I’m gifted!”

“No, others may expect such things;
Just do your best. Be sure it brings
True joy to YOU! You’ll soar on wings
And enjoy being

The annoying gifted kids in my son’s school took it as a license to be even MEANER to the ‘regular kids’. It ought to be outlawed.


Lucy M June 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

Not the above Lucy! Just saying.

Anyway: I grew up correcting grammar as a knee-jerk reaction. My parents never let myself or my younger sister get away with “good” vs. “well” (ex: I did WELL, rather than I did GOOD) and they’d correct us all the time – which at least means we both were pretty decent when it came to telling that sort of thing apart come grade school. I have no doubt it annoyed others, however, although I don’t think they meant for us to start correcting others (and my sister doesn’t). I still find myself correcting people without meaning to (usually family and friends, which is worse than a stranger) and my grandmother usually snaps at me and tells me she meant to say GOOD, thanks very much (…which makes it even more fun to correct her).

Of course, I still get corrected whenever anything I say is incorrect. My parents sort of raised us to be sarcastic smart-asses, though. They’d take everything we said super literally to the point where we’d be ridiculously specific, or they’d be sarcastic with us until we sassed them back (to a point) – I’m not sure, really. We’re just a largely sassy / sarcastic family in the way we speak to one another, although we’d be in big trouble if we spoke to anyone outside of the family that way.


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