Do you friend your kids on Facebook? Do you "like" or comment on their Facebook posts and pictures? Would you accept a Facebook friend request from their friends? Facebook creates plenty of awkward moments for both parents and their teenagers. It also generates some teachable moments along the way.
I am Facebook friends with both of my teens as a way to check up on their virtual lives. I don't comment or like their photos or posts, preferring to treat their pages like a television screen, left to their own devices in a world of LMAO's and OMG's.
Recently I had a night out with a group of old friends; guys I have known since grade school, by my count over 40 years.
That's scary enough. Even scarier is our cumulative parenting expertise with 19 kids between us, toddlers to teens.
As for drama there was none. The police scanners were quiet and there were no drunken brawls. We had a great time, and at one point my friend Rick posted a picture on Facebook.
The next day My 14 year-old daughter saw the picture and "check in" (not a fan), smiled and began peppering me with questions:
How long were you there? How many beers did you have? What did you eat? Why did you go to a restaurant and then a bar? Why (judgmental tone) are you wearing that?
Here are three other realizations:
1) We're starting to talk about aches, pains and meds but are at least a decade from meetings becoming an "organ recital" before shuffleboard and canasta.
2) Before ordering food I think more about what's ahead. Today it's the dangers of an onion loaf. And burgers. And fries.
3) We took risks when we were young and turned out fine; each of us successful in our own way. In that sense getting together is affirming as I navigate my own parental waters.
If my teenage daughter had joined us she would have witnessed a group of graying, portly, balding, middle aged men eating, drinking and telling stories. Men with adult joys and challenges. Men who make each other laugh like little kids.
The irony of Facebook is that while building a list of friends you are prone to lose track of the real ones. It's about quality kiddos, not quantity. I am blessed with hundreds of acquaintances but a select group of close friends. That's what my daughter saw on Facebook and that's what I know to be true.
Are your kids on Facebook? How do you monitor you kids social media? Thanks for reading and I would enjoy hearing from you here, on twitter @gaulbill or on Facebook.