June 26, 2015
Parents need boundaries too…and sometimes children need to be the ones to set them
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and my six year old son sat in the living floor playing with our puppy, trying to teach her the game of fetch. Thinking it was cute; I did what any other parent would do, grabbed my phone and snapped a picture. My son quickly glanced up and said, “Please don’t put that on Facebook, mom.” That’s when it dawned on me, in many aspects of life children have no privacy, no respect and no freedom to be who they are because anytime they do, we view it as something to be shared with the world.
We’ve all seen it, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty, scroll through your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) and you’re bound to see kids that are happy, sad, sick, healthy, being disciplined, having fun, trying a new food, playing a new game, enjoying a new pet, taking a bath, having quiet time with a parent, experiencing their first day of school, last day of camp, first kiss, visiting the eye doctor, panicking at the dentist, throwing a tantrum, etc… The list is never ending. Then, scroll through any blog or parenting website and you’re bound to find articles written against the parents that over share every detail of their kids’ lives and how annoying it is to writers that argue it’s their account and they can share what they want when they want of who they want. But, where’s the article from the kids? When or where do they get a say so?
I get it…I get it, I promise I do. Kids are kids; parents are parents. We are in control, we make the decisions, what we say goes…all because we said so. I understand all that. I also understand that in order for children to give respect, they also need to receive it. As a twenty-nine year old wife and mother of two, I can honestly say that I would be beyond mortified if someone were to snap pictures anytime they wanted of anything that I did and post it online for the world to see. Not that I do anything that I’m ashamed of, but first of the morning pictures with gooky eyes and messy hair? Not a site for the world to see. Being sick, running a fever, hacking-up a lung and curled up in bed? The world doesn’t want to see that either. In the bathroom, using the toilet, too…okay, you get it! If we were to post half the pictures of adults that we do of kids, I couldn’t even imagine the uproar it would cause.
Our world has become so advanced, so modern, so instant…that literally everything we do becomes viewed and judged by the public. We teach our kids to be independent, to love themselves, to be comfortable in who they are, yet we post everything they do for someone else to see how many “likes” it can get. I know there are times that we, as parents, post pictures for a long distance relative to see or when our child does something we are particularly proud of. But, often I think it’s more just to show ourselves off rather than our kids. To prove to people that don’t even matter that we can buy our kids new toys or take them on fancy trips; that we are good parents who take time to read a book, work a puzzle or do a Pinterest project. It almost makes me wonder, if some of the things we do “for our kids” really even mean as much if we have to get the worlds approval after.
Things like this makes me miss the old days. Those times of snapping pictures on an actual camera that held film that caused you to wait several days for the actual pictures to be developed, only to glance through them and store them in a shoe box to be looked at years later when reminiscing. Days when our lives were private, when kids could be kids without being publicly exposed, ridiculed, praised, judged or viewed.
This isn’t about what parents post or how often they do it of their kids. The majority of those on my “friends” list are those with children, and honestly I never thought much over what they post of their kids. I glance, think “oh how cute” or “oh how awful” and go on about my day. But that one statement from my son, struck me differently for some reason. It put him on instant edge, he put his guard up. That special moment of being comfortable in his home, in his living room, playing with his puppy turned in to him no longer being able to be himself, because mom may post it online for everyone to see. To me, that’s just not fair.
Children need boundaries and limits. But, that afternoon, I realized that sometimes parents do too, and maybe when it comes to some things, our kids should have a little input on them.
*You’ll notice throughout this post I used words such as “we, us, our”, because I didn’t write this to judge, point fingers or ridicule. I’m guilty too. Scroll through my Facebook photos and you’ll find many pictures just like the ones I wrote this about. However, that one moment…made me think differently about my future posts.