In the day and age of social media, things like blogs, web pages, Pinterest and Facebook are all peppered with things you should or should not do to raise a child. To spank or not to spank, homeschool, public or private school, are you a creative lunch maker or just a boring sandwich pusher, do you teach them things or let them figure things out on their own, and I could go on and on!
I admit, when I have an issue with my child, I first go to family and friends for advice. But, if I don’t find an answer that seems to fit my situation, I know I can turn to the world wide web. There are many professional child psychologists, pediatricians, nannies, childcare workers and moms that provide sound and calming solutions. It amazes me the wisdom you can glean from these sites. However, when articles pop-up on Pinterest urging you to read it or someone rants on a Facebook post about how they saw a mom doing or not doing something, this barges in on me like a neon sign and tends to irk me more than entice me. Why? Because advice for children is not one-size-fits-all. What my child needs to curb a certain behavior may not work for your child and vice-versa. The fact that a lot of these posts insinuate you are a bad parent if you AREN’T practicing their latest finding is downright maddening.
There is pressure for our kids to be the best soccer player, the smartest student in school, the highest jumper, the most advanced in technology and the healthiest of eaters. I miss the days when it was okay for kids to try out a sport and see if they liked it before signing their summer away to be on the team. There is pressure from every angle, even from ourselves, to raise a kid that will overachieve as opposed to just succeed in this world.
Just don’t read the articles!
If only it were easy NOT to notice the articles. However, because these articles pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, or as a header on a website you are shopping on, it is difficult to ignore the taunts. “What IF I’m doing something wrong?” If you suffer from anxiety or depression these articles can deepen your feelings of inadequacy and make you question everything you are doing or not doing for your child. The internet can be a great tool, a way to connect people with the latest information, but it can also be a dangerous web luring you in to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I think it is okay if you want to post what has worked for your child, but it would be great if you didn’t claim this to be the fix of all fixes and look down your nose to people who don’t share your ideals. I’m grateful that you had the luck to find that magic ticket in your family’s life, I might just try it on my child as well. But if it doesn’t work, or if I find that it isn’t in his best interest, then I will file your idea in my “things that didn’t work” file and move on. Don’t judge, don’t talk behind my back, don’t push your convictions on my family and give people a break for choosing their own path.
I do my best each day to try to be secure in who I am, what I’m doing and embracing the love and comfort of my family. If the internet is going to keep throwing out pop-up shaming and unsolicited advice, what I may have to re-think is the amount of time I spend on social media.