When is it okay to brag about your child?

1. Brag about how good a child you have, not how good a parent you are. Adriana Trigiani, the best-selling author of “Big Stone Gap” and “The Shoemaker’s Wife,” says she’s most annoyed when parents trumpet their child-rearing skills instead of their good fortune. “I’ve noticed when parents brag, it’s usually a reflection of their wonderful parenting skills and not their child’s natural abilities,” she said. “When I see people like Donald Trump on TV taking full credit for how his children turned out, that’s the kind of bragging that gets under people’s skin.”

2. Brag about effort, not accomplishment. One of the signature parenting ideas of the last few years — praise effort not achievement — applies equally well to boasting. Brad Meltzer, who wrote “The Fifth Assassin” and two nonfiction books about children, says he doesn’t mind if parents talk about their children’s passions. “If you say, ‘My kid loves reading,’ that’s O.K.,” he said. “If you say, ‘My kid is the best reader in his grade,’ I start the hate machine.” He added: “It’s the difference between murder and manslaughter. It’s all in the intent.”

3. Brag in context. Mr. Meltzer says he generally doesn’t mind if parents brag, as long as they don’t pretend they’re Stepford parents and their children are little angels. “I want to hear the bragging in the context of real, gritty, poopy life,” he said. “If you’re trying to sell me your perfect life, the hate machine starts humming again.”