Surviving smug parents

This week I'd like to offer a service to all fellow parents - free of charge, of course.

This week I'd like to offer a service to all fellow parents - free of charge, of course. I call it my smug parenting survival kit. Essentially, it relies on the old adage "if you can't beat them, join them".

You see, experience tells me that the best way to counter all those smug parents out there is to out-smug them. See their smug and raise them smugger. (Incidentally, if at this point you find yourself asking how to tell if a parent is of the smug variety, you've clearly never encountered one).

First up, I advise affecting an air of nonchalance in front of said smug parent as you casually mention that your two-year-old spoke a whole 10-word sentence the other day, did the washing up unaided, dressed themselves, or even used the potty willingly as if it's an everyday thing, which it may be. But I have my doubts about most some of these.

Secondly, if you ever find your child behaving in a way that attracts positive attention from those around you and you're in the midst of the smug parent, adopt a look that says "Oh that old thing? They do that all the time." (See last week’s column for assistance in the art of non-verbal communication).

Another top tip is to insert the word "little" before using your child's name whenever possible. This conveys both a strong sense of their darling nature and underlines how advanced whatever achievement you are about mention is.

And finally, if you're still not getting the reaction that you and your prodigy deserve and you find yourself continually out-smugged, I suggest writing a newspaper column about it instead and hoping that your smug parent friend reads it.