Parenting in the age of Social Media

Being a parent is challenging. There are no instruction manuals that come with your particular child. These precious snowflakes are individuals, and therefore, all very different. What we learn and how we learn to raise them is mostly trial and error.

I believe it is expected that we make mistakes, because that is how we learn. Your child will learn from mistakes as well, and most importantly, grow and mature from those challenges presented to them. It can be tough to experience at times, but making an error is a learning tool to be embraced, not an opportunity for you to be their superhero and rescue them.

The challenge here is allowing them to make those mistakes, see the consequences of their actions and then HOPEFULLY learn from those actions. If they don’t learn the first time, hopefully they have enough brain cells left to figure it out the second time. Providing these are not life-threatening mistakes, they NEED to happen. Your kid is not going to learn by you stepping in and saving them all the time.

Support of your child comes in many ways. I’m not condoning anyone to step away from their kid or to not be there for them. That’s just bad parenting. But, one way to help may be by lovingly pointing it out to them.

You will not be around forever – your child has to learn to figure things out for themselves and not depend on you to wipe their ass every time they have messy shit. This is life, messes and shit happen.

I remember a stupid thing that happened with one of our kids while we were on vacation. One of them found a hat that looked like Elmer Fudd’s flap hat on steroids. This was not a popular look back then for anyone but Elmer. This hat, flaps up, was huge and would be spotted from space if it were worn outside during the day. Flaps down it would look like a Boeing moving on the tarmac. The big guy and I stood our ground and wouldn’t buy the hat. Having our kid subject himself to his peers with that monstrosity on his head, we felt, would cause him ridicule and pain. Crisis averted, he moved on (kinda) to live another day without the added angst of being made fun of, although he still resents us for not buying that thing.

Or, if your grown child may be sharing every aspect of his/her life on a social media like, say, facebook, you need to have an intervention. Period. Sharing personal, intimate information of any kind will elicit responses. People will be kind and they will be mean. They may even be supportive, as you are and have been, but unless this is a lifetime made for tv movie, the drama and fallout could be devastating.

Here’s the thing. We all have problems. We all struggle with right and wrong, good and bad. Making that struggle public, sharing all you have going on with the entire world is not going to be helpful. Why? Because some of our “friends” on fb are not really life-long friends. People will say anything because they don’t have to say it to your face. Online support may be nothing more than someone fanning a fire and loving the drama they have just landed in the middle of. Trust me, I have seen this happen firsthand and it isn’t pretty. Feeling on top of the world because of all the support you have just gotten can easily turn to devastation when it comes to light that your online support was bullshit and now everyone you know is talking about what a train wreck those very same people think you are.




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