Here’s a great way to ruin your child’s digital footprint. And their self esteem

Let me tell you something about living with teenagers; it’s Hormone City and that place is not always packed with sunshine and happy times. Teens are moody and emotional underdeveloped adults. They take risks and they rebel against their parents while still leaning on them for support and protection. They sulk, they grunt and they process things in a different way to those with a fully developed frontal cortex. (They are also pretty awesome)

And it has always been that way. Even back in “the good old days” where discipline reigned supreme, we seem to have forgotten that teenagers were always tricky subjects.

It may help to remember the words of Socrates who spoke about teens in the late 400’s BC saying “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Sound familiar? Pretty much like your average teen in 2016. Teenagers have always been a handful to deal with. Probably always will be.

But maybe this mum forgot that when she took to Facebook to write a “tongue-in-cheek” ad trying to get rid of her teenage son.

We all know that when the going gets tough the tough go to Facebook to show their kids who’s boss and to give their self esteem a little blow at the same time.

Parents taking to social media to shame their kids is not new. It’s a tried and tested formula that has the “upside” of going viral so mum or dad can gain some likes on their Facebook page. Sadly it has the potential to damage or ruin the child’s self esteem in the process.

It may be cute and light and you may perceive it as quite funny but it’s about another human being. One who needs his mother on his side as he navigates the sometimes tumultuous journey of being a teenager.

It’s an important part of parenting to know the line between yourself and your offspring and while you get to tell your narrative you don’t own your child’s story. There comes a time when you have to let go. It is not your right to treat your child as an object you can parade on social media.

Imagine your parent or your boss, or anybody in a position of power in your life put up a comment about your perceived bad attitude or behaviour and then sent it out to their friends and colleagues to ask them for comment.

It’s not just soul destroying to see your faults or arguments up in lights, it’s also knowing those lights will never switch off. You don’t get to take stuff down from the Internet. As parents we’re meant to teach our children about the importance of creating a meaningful and positive digital footprint, not one filled with shame. Going out of your way to ridicule your kids or embarrass them hardly sets them up for life.

There are people out there who say posts like the one this mum posted help other mothers feel less alone, they point to the fact other parents derive some sort of comfort knowing they are not isolated in their struggles with the grunts and the moods of their teenagers. But, as a parent I know that it’s not all about me – sometimes we have to put our children first.

Trying to shame them online is not putting your child first. It never is.

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