I am not the type to cast aside family members because they irritate me. I do, however, appreciate suggestions on what I relay to my son about his wonderful school performance. I need to offset the beating he takes from relatives like my sister who honestly believe that one "B" on a report card is the same as "failing."
As for your sister or anyone else who will consider him failing unless he is tops in everything he does, calmly but firmly tell them that you do not wish your son to feel unduly pressured to live up to their academic standards for him. Explain that you want to see him continue to be a child who loves to learn, not a child who believes he is a disappointment to other family members unless he performs up to their expectations. Your son is old enough to be told that many people see accomplishment only in terms of what they believe is significant achievement. Tell him that you know it might bother him to hear his aunt always pushing him to do more and better. Don't try to make your sister look bad in the process but do tell your boy he can learn to let her comments roll off his back because, after all, "We know how Auntie is about these things don't we."
If you really feel that your sister's and other family members' negative comments are beginning to affect your son too much, I would suggest that they come with you to a family therapist so you all could work this out in an unbiased setting. You might also ask them to read Martin Seligman's "The Optimistic Child"; an unparalleled book in its examination of what creates and keeps a child optimistic, thriving, and resilient. You'd benefit from reading it as well. It has many practical suggestions about how to keep your son feeling good about himself and his life. Thanks for writing.