Tag Archives: Parent

Is Sharenting Harming Our Kids?

As a parent whose children came of age prior to the social media boom, I often congratulate my husband and myself on our impeccable timing.

We lucked out. Of all the stresses inherent in child rearing, certainly the use and abuse of social media is high on the list.

I mean the parents’ use and abuse.

Here’s the question I ponder sometimes. If I had been able to share information about my young children on social media, would I have?

Of course, is my answer.

Might I have been one of those parents guilty of a little too much “sharenting?”

Entirely possible.

Sharenting?

Sharenting is a recently coined term referring to parents who share information about their kids on social media and is mentioned in this report from the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Based on a survey of 569 parents with a child or children ages 0-4, the study found that 54% mothers and 34% of fathers discuss child health and parenting issues on social media.

What do they discuss? Sleep issues, nutrition and eating tips, discipline, daycare and preschool, and behavior problems, among others.

So, what’s the big deal about parents reaching out to others to seek advice and support? What’s so bad about wanting to share a questionable photo on occasion? Maybe, after a long day in the trenches, parents need to vent. Or share a laugh.

Totally get that.

As a young mom, I would have enjoyed chronicling the special moments of my three kids on Facebook. Bath time, for instance, or losing a tooth, or blowing out birthday candles. I would have found comfort in a community of parents with similar issues and concerns. If I was in search of advice, or I needed to share a chuckle, why not blog about it, or post on Facebook?

Harmless enough. But what issues? What about tantrums? Or potty training? Sibling rivalry? Meltdowns after school?

That’s where the sharenting line in the sand is blurred. Where should that line be drawn, especially when your kids are too little to have a say in the matter? And even if you get their permission, what does a four year-old know about the implications of sharing personal information on social media?

Is Sharenting Harming Our Kids?

What seems benign now could be a psychological tsunami someday, with aftershocks for years to come We parents are essentially imprinting our kids’ digital footprint in the sands of time without their consent, with no understanding of the potential ramifications down the road.

Preserving memories, or obsessive behavior?

I have seen photos that make me squirm, like a photo of a child pale and glassy-eyed with the flu. I have seen children with frozen smiles whose parents seem to document every bit of their daily activity. Are we forcing our kids to pose instead of just be in the moment?

Photos can be deleted. Not so easy, however, to remove blog posts and Facebook conversations about bed wetting and bullying and discipline issues at school. Does that set our kids up for ridicule? Even if their names aren’t used, I mean, all you have to do is Google the parent’s name and there it is. It is there. Will this come back to haunt not us, but our kids?

I don’t have the answer.

In its early days, social media was a fun game with few rules and boundaries. Now we know that there is a dark side. With that in mind, is it incumbent on us parents to err on the side of safety and keep our kids’ information off the Internet as much as possible, until they have the maturity to make these decisions themselves?

Or is it too late, and our children’s digital profiles are but a Google search away?

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A Special Wedding Anniversary

Happy 64th wedding anniversary to my amazing Mom and Dad!

You read that right. Sixty-four years!

A special wedding anniversary for two special people.

If you met my parents, you would find it hard to believe they are old enough to have been married this long.

They are young – young at heart, young in appearance and spirit, and as deeply in love with each other as they were on their wedding day 64 years ago.

wedding anniversaryIt seems that every year we ask them their secret. My mom usually demurs and my dad makes a joke, but this year I wanted to pin them down.

What is the key to your marital success?

Mom: Mutual respect.

Dad: Having wonderful children.

wedding anniversary

What is the best thing about your spouse?

Mom: He is smart and funny.

Dad: Her beauty inside and out. Also, our compatibility — we see things the same way.

wedding anniversary

What advice can you give to other married couples?

Mom: Be affectionate with each other. Enjoy a close relationship with your children and grandchildren. Have fun.

Dad: Be tolerant of moods.

wedding anniversary

Their love has made our world go round.

There is no greater gift than growing up in a house filled with love and laughter. My brother and I know how lucky we are.

My parents’ happiness simply comes from enjoying life … together. They share a passion for art and Broadway shows, Penn State (where they met and have remained active alumni), reading The New York Times every day and The New Yorker every week, animals and in particular my dog Duncan, energetically supporting their community, and of course, their family.

wedding anniversary

wedding anniversary

Their genuine pleasure in being with each other is obvious. My dad often remarks that my mom is the most beautiful and most gracious woman in the world (she is). And my mom still laughs at every joke my dad makes (as do I. He is the wittiest person I’ve ever known).

wedding anniversary

They are adored by their children and grandchildren who are grateful for them every single day. To say they’ve been an inspiration is an understatement. I am blessed to have them in my life and I send them all my love on this special day, June 18, their wedding anniversary.

wedding anniversary

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Helicoptering

Congratulations to all the parents whose children have graduated from high school. Your darling sons and daughters are happily morphing from high school student to college freshman.  Commencement is over, yearbooks have been signed (they do still do that, right?) and the quest for a summer job is underway.

You, dear parent, have cried, exulted, worried and philosophized.  But now that your son or daughter is positioned for the next four years, I am here to tell you that it is time to plan for your future.

Consider this: no more “Back to School” nights, sitting uncomfortably in those student desk/chairs while trying to look interested in the expectations or recriminations of long suffering high school teachers. No more PTA meetings, bake sales, soccer tournaments, Halloween parades, choir recitals or  high school musicals.

What are you going to do with all this extra time?

Of course you have your 9-5 job, your gardening club, grocery shopping, fantasy football and all the other mundane tasks that we pack into our days. But be honest now. Is there a part of you that secretly yearns for the carpool line? Will you have to resist driving by the baseball field to catch a few innings? Are you still humming the tunes from last spring’s high school musical?

Good news: your prayers have been answered. These days, the gates of college are open not just to incoming freshmen, but their aging boomer parents as well.

Responding to the outcry of parents who want to retain their position in their offspring’s day-to-day lives, many institutions of higher education have adopted a full scale of parent programming and opportunities for involvement, giving you a way to extend the active parenting years a bit further. Do you have fond memories of serving on a school committee? There’s room for you. Miss volunteering at school events? Just sign up and the job is yours.

And whether your child reacts with glee or despair, you don’t have to cut the apron strings. Not yet.

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