At some point, it’s inevitable that mommy (or daddy) bloggers will grapple with the question of how much they should write about their kids online. Sure, it’s cute to talk about changing diapers and staying up with your colicky baby, but what happens when the kid is old enough to read and doesn’t like his tush being the subject of a blog post?
Joel Stein doesn’t care whether he embarrasses his son, Laszlo, online (note: that is not Laszlo in the photo). In fact, he seems to get a kick out of it. In his recent post at Babble Voices, Stein writes, “I have committed unimaginable crimes against my son. I have published stories in which I call him a pussy and a wimp.” He has written about his son’s circumcised penis (in fact, he wrote a whole blog post about how his son likes him to pour water on it) and gleefully mocked his son’s nut allergy and asthma. Nice, right?
Stein rationalizes that it’s okay because it’s hard to predict what will piss people off (true) and because most people don’t mind if their parents tell embarrassing stories about them as a baby (not so true). He goes on to say that “you can avoid much of the trouble if you run things by the people you write beforehand and give them veto power, which I will do with my son.” But obviously, there is no way for his son to veto any of the things that Stein has written about him before he was able to speak.
Over at Strollerderby, Katherine Stone addresses the issue of writing about your kids online:
It has become clear to me that as my kids get older, I will continue to write about myself as a mother but I have to be very careful about sharing the trials and tribulations of my children. It’s a fine line to walk. Yes, I’d like to be able to blow off steam and commiserate with my fellow mamas, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of my kids’ emotional health. I expect I’ll ask for permission from them to write about certain things, and if they say no, that’s that. Pre-adolescence and the teenage years are so vulnerable, and I want to take care that I don’t make that time worse by embarrassing my kids online. Who knows? Maybe I’ve already done it. I hope not.
Fellow MomCrunch blogger Lori Garcia recently wrote 5 Things Her Son Hates That I Blogged About. She says that her 4-year-old doesn’t mind being blog fodder, but that her 9-year-old is increasingly shy about being featured on the blog. Of course, kids generally become more self-conscious and private as they get older. One might even question whether a 4-year-old knows enough to give permission in the first place. But at least Garcia’s son is presumably old enough to understand the concept that mommy writes about him online and other people can read about it. Stein’s son is clearly too young to know what’s at stake.
So how do you embarrass your kid online? Talk about how he likes to have water poured on his penis. Call him a wimp and a pussy. Make fun of his allergies. Just follow Joel Stein’s example.
How much do you think parents should reveal about their kids online? Have you ever embarrassed your kid online?
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