When you have a child you do become invisible behind their achievements, wants and needs so maybe this is a parent's way of saying, 'I'm still here, look at me' but they would do better to get their attention elsewhere. Performance parenting is not the ideal way of proving to the world around you that you are using good parenting skills.
Parents are judgemental - ask anyone who's been to a toddler group and you'll hear cringeworthy stories of the in-depth comparison parents make about their young children. 'Is Jonathan still not sleeping well? Samantha has been sleeping through the night since she was two weeks old.'
And the competitive nature of new parents is shocking too. 'Lily adores avocado and quinoa. No, she doesn't eat Cheerios. She much prefers the organic veg box salad I make.' 'Is Peter still not speaking? Tabatha can sing all of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and she's not one year yet.'
The competitiveness from one parent in a group seems to set off a Mexican wave of megaphone mums and dads announcing their darling's cleverness at ear-splitting volume.
Talking to your child is great and parents of babies, in particular, are encouraged to have those inner dialogue one-sided conversations with their child long before they can speak. It helps you and your child - you through otherwise isolation and your child hears words in context and realises having a conversation is normal and good. But saying everything so darn loudly that the whole room/train carriage/building/street knows you and little Johnny are looking for the car keys/mobile phone/your sanity is simply too much. A conversation with your child does not need to be a public performance.
When you read to your child do just that: read to your child not for the whole room to hear.
Of course it is good to praise your child when they do something well and to help their self-esteem but, again, this is not something you need to bellow to everyone within earshot. "What a beautiful painting, Matilda! You have wonderful artistic skills." is for Matilda and not her whole class to hear. Unless you are bragging and that's just not nice. Yes, people will turn round when you shout, "Well done, you clever boy!" but they won't be impressed when they see your son hasn't actually done anything. Yet you keep on saying it more loudly each time.
There is a subtle line that parents cross when you can see they are no longer really talking to their child but to those around them. It's a plea in public saying 'Please make us proud!'
What your child achieves is amazing. They will astound you every day as they learn more but do not shout at a children's birthday party that 'Sonya can speak Cantonese with the Nanny.' Or 'Samuel is reading Moby Dick before breakfast.' That isn't pride that's boasting.
This has become the ongoing running commentary of middle class life. Don't blame the kids as it's not their behaviour that's a problem, it's the parents.
Here are a couple of great blog posts about this subject: