In 2013, the word of the year was “selfie,” but I believe the word of the decade, of this social era, is share. We are always sharing — be it recipes, fashion tips, reviews, or vacation highlights. You name it, and my bet is someone has shared it! That’s especially true for parents. It’s part of the job description, after all. Parents share the good, the silly, and the tragic. However, despite our instincts to be open books, it’s actually true there are things parents should never share about their kids online.
Last month, Wendy Williams went on national TV and said her 13-year-old teenage son doesn’t like her. She was clearly in pain, and the confession was emotional for her and her audience. But as much as Wendy may have felt like the victim in her situation, by doing what she did, she made a victim of her son with her own words and her grief. If Wendy Williams had come to my house and cried on my shoulder, I would have poured her a glass of wine and commiserated with her over the woes of motherhood. She could have called, emailed, texted, or sent me a Facebook message or a direct message on Twitter to seek one-on-one counsel and comfort. Point being, communicating privately and trading stories of woe makes sense. But when Wendy took to her bully-pulpit, she wasn’t a heartsick mom. She was a bully. I think moms often get the short end of the stick, but that doesn’t give us the right to air our child’s dirty laundry all over the airways or the inter-web.
Now, most of us don’t have our own talk show to speak on, so we can’t embarrass our children this way. But one thing we do have is social media. A social media platform is like a community, one where we exchange ideas, express passions and frustrations, and seek recommendations and advice. But just because we can post things doesn’t mean we should. We have to remember exactly what we tell our kids: that the Internet is never really anonymous, but it is forever. As parents, we need to recognize that what we say, and what we reveal about our lives — including our parenting issues — speak to the lives of our kids’, not just our own. We want our kids to be respectful, tactful, considerate, and, most important, mindful of the impact of their words, so we need to lead by example.
You can do just that by following this list of 10 things parents should never share about their kids online.
You can also play it safe by not posting these 9 photos of your kids online.
10 Things Parents Should Never Share About Their Kids Online 1 of 11
Sometimes, being an open book isn't a good thing. Here are 10 things not to share about your kids online!
Your Kid’s Relationship Problems 2 of 11
These days, kids are online navigating social sites a lot earlier than the prescribed age of 13. You don't want to make a difficult situation worse by posting about difficulties online for other parents or their peers to see. If you want to air your troubles with your kids in an effort to seek counsel and support, take a friend to lunch, don't take to your Facebook page ... or your talk show.
Your Kid’s Disciplinary Actions 3 of 11
A bad grade, school detention, or even a teacher reprimand is your child's private business. Keep in mind colleges, even high schools, are vetting the social pages of student applicants. Don't be surprised if they check yours, too. Harvard will see your child's official transcript; they don't need to see your child's unofficial stumbles along their educational journey.
Your Kid’s Bad Habits 4 of 11
We all have habits that we are less than proud of. As adults, we can make the informed decision to share them with our digital community in a self-deprecating manor, but our kids aren't there yet. Let them evolve at their own pace — without potential peer condemnation.
Your Kid’s Accidents 5 of 11
Wetting the bed. You would think that this doesn't need to be said, but I have seen postings about it. It really doesn't matter if the child is too young to have his or her own social account and therefore isn't reading it. They will grow up. Now, I'm not talking about generalized potty training discussions here. Those have their place. I'm talking about school-age kids struggling with bed wetting. Let's face it: elementary school is hard enough.
Your Kid’s Bodily Fluids 6 of 11
I understand the instinct to seek sympathy when your kids are sick, but don't paint the picture with too many details. Bodily fluids, from throwing up or getting diarrhea, belong in the bathroom, not in your newsfeed.
Your Kid’s Period 7 of 11
Menstruation is a big milestone — a game-changer in fact. I absolutely understand the impetus to talk with your community about your daughters' crossover into "blessed womanliness." But if you ever want your daughter to talk with you about anything private ever again in her life, the only periods that should be in your updates about her should be at the end of a sentence.
Your Kid’s Sprouting Hair 8 of 11
If your son wants to post a selfie of his first whiskers, you can click "like," but the urge to draft an update about those first sprouts of hair under chins, under arms, under under, should be kept under wraps.
Your Kid’s Heartbreak 9 of 11
Keep your son's or daughter's breakup to yourself. Young love is hard enough without having your heartache openly discussed amongst your parents' friends. Until it is time to make the engagement announcement button up your lip ... or just occupy it with a pint of mint chocolate chip.
Your Kid’s Legal Issues, Real or Perceived 10 of 11
Please don't emulate Madonna, who a few months ago posted a pic of her teenage son and friends posing with a bottle of alcohol. To be fair, she says they weren't drinking, but there are still many who don't believe her. But even if your kid did get into an actual legal scrape, there are plenty of consequences to be dealt with without adding social media shaming to the list. You don't want your kids to post pictures or updates on their social feeds that could endanger a scholarship, a relationship, a job, their freedom ... so don't you do it either.
Your Kid’s Confidence 11 of 11
Don't out your kid's friends. If your chld relays the bad behvior of a friend or classmate, don't post the story. Even if you don't use names of the kids or the school, you may very well set your child up for ostracism, or worse, retaliation from interested parties. I'm sure you have plenty of stories of your own.
Additional work from Miss Lori can be found at MissLori.TV, Wearetherealdeal.com, YoungChicagonista, and TheChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn.