Posting your kids’ picture or achievements on social media

Many people from grandparents on down to kids too young to legally have an account are on social media these days. Some parents are even setting up pages for their newborns even though use restrictions of sites such of Facebook require users to be at least 13 years old.

And many of those using Facebook and other sites post with little regard everything about their life. Even as employers began scrutinizing social media as part of their hiring practice, people continue to post just about every incident or thought in their head.

And without a second thought, many of us post images of our kids at the zoo, celebrating their birthday, on their first day of school or even when they are having a tantrum. But few of us take the time to think about whether we SHOULD post about our child. It is after all their life and now that picture/post is out there for everyone to see/read. And remember the Internet if forever. Those pictures aren’t going away.

I know my own son has sometimes asked about whether I am going to post a picture I just took on Facebook. (Even at 11, he has his own Facebook account which only family members can access. He got it in order to play a game on his iPad. My daughter (age 8) often asks for an account, but we have not set one up for her.)

I recently read a blog post on the NY Times about a blogger who decided that she would stop writing about her children. She admitted to sharing intimate details of their lives on her blog, in chat rooms and on Facebook.

And while I get her point and do think parents in general need to rethink what they share about their kids’ lives on social media, I won’t be stopping posting about my kids for several reasons.

The first is I have very strict privacy settings on my social media account. Only family and friends can see my posts.

The second reason is that I am very careful about what I post both on my blog and my personal Facebook account. I don’t post pictures of my kids naked or of them in their underwear. I don’t post when they are having a bad day or when they have gotten in trouble. In fact, I would say only a third of the posts currently on my page from the past month are about the kids. And they are not doing anything out of the ordinary – riding bikes, learning archery and attending the first day of school.

As for my posts on this blog, well, I post about my kids and topics that come up based on what is happening in their lives. However, I decided in the beginning that I would never post their actual names. I have given each of them a “new” name for this blog. No friends later in life or employers are going to find this site when they are looking for information on my kids. I have even done Google searches on their real names and nothing comes up. (But searching their alias do bring up images.)

Now I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. But I do caution all parents to take the time to think before they post. Think about your child’s feelings when you post about their latest exploits and embarrassing photos. It is just your life you are affecting after all, it is also your child’s. And let those thoughts be what guide you.


My kids are happiest wearing just underwear

My kids think nothing of coming home and stripping down to their underwear. With temps in the 90s and 100s during summer time, it makes sense to wear as little as possible. And it seemed fine when they were toddlers to run around in diapers or just their underwear. But now they are 5 and 8, and they still like to strip down upon entering the house.

Lexie at age 3 - doing crafts in just her underwear.

Lexie at age 3 – doing crafts in just her underwear.

We have always been sticklers for them at least to wear underwear. And they are dressed when going outside (though the backyard doesn’t count) and when we have guests over (though we don’t count family as guests). But my husband would much prefer the kids stayed dressed when they are at home or for Jase to at least wear shorts or pants.

I really see no problem with them running around in their underwear while they are at their own home. But I do wish Lexie would show a little less of her body when they have friends over. It is one thing to change in front of the girls in her room but quite another for Jase’s friends to see her running around with just her underwear on.

I assume as she grows up, she will become more aware of her body and want to cover up. I don’t want her to be ashamed of her body. But some of these little boys are not quite used to seeing a five-year-old running around with only her underwear on. At some point (and I am not sure when that is), her body needs to become private and not just to Jase’s friends but to Jase and everyone else.

I would figure by age 7 or 8, kids would begin to cover up, but Jase has no sense of modesty. He is fine walking around in his underwear. He doesn’t mind peeing with the bathroom door open. He doesn’t mind any of us seeing him in the shower or tub.

Parents in the buff

Of course, this discussion on modesty wouldn’t be complete without looking the other side of the issue – when parents should cover up in front of their kids. It isn’t like my husband and I routinely walk around naked. But the kids do have a habit of coming into our bathroom and sometimes my husband or I might walk into the bedroom (or even another room) in just our underwear. (Yep, any nudity on my husband and my part is in the bedroom or bathroom. We aren’t prancing around the house in the buff or even in our underwear.)

It has never bothered me that Jase sees me this way. But I know the time is coming – and soon I would guess – that he needs to not see me without my clothes on. So far he has not mentioned anything about my body and he and his sister still take baths together.

I just don’t want either of them to think that there is something wrong with the naked body. The kids don’t see us on the toilet (we do lock the door just in case) but there is no lock on the actual bathroom door so it is harder to keep that area off limits if we chose to go that route.

From reading other blogs on this topic, it seems that most adults figure out when to start covering up when they begin to feel awkward about it. But once I step over that line and start covering up (or my husband begins covering up) we can’t go back. It has to be an all-or-nothing type thing.

So I don’t know exactly at what age we will start covering up or insisting that they wear clothes when at home or if we even really need to worry about it. Until then, I will just let them be happy playing video games in their underwear.

Why do parents believe they don’t have to follow the rules?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about one of my pet peeves – parents who don’t supervise their kids while playing at the park. (Just because they are 5 or 7 doesn’t mean they know how to play nicely with others.)

This week I wanted to address one of my other pet peeves – parents who don’t follow the rules or don’t make their kids follow them.

My son had a field trip to the zoo at the end of March. The instruction sheet that came home to chaperones said not to buy the kids in your group anything and not to let any of the kids buy treats or toys. A similar note that purchasing food and merchandise was not allowed went home to all parents. Of course one mom immediately upon hearing this said, “Well why not? What if I want something?” My first thought was “Seriously?”

And of course while at the zoo, my son did see one of his friends with his mom, and he was eating ice cream. My son knew the rule and asked why ‘Brian’ had ice cream. I explained to him that ‘Brian’s’ mom wasn’t following the rules. (Not to mention she separated her son from his partner – another no-no. All kids were supposed to stay with their partner. I just hope another adult was part of their group.)

I don’t know if Brian’s mother actually was purposively ignoring the rules. She may have forgotten or perhaps she didn’t read them.  But honestly, it just seems that many parents think the rules don’t apply to them or to their kids. And by ignoring the rules, they are telling their kids that the rules don’t matter. Children learn by modeling others. If they observe us disregarding a rule, they will likely believe that all rules are negotiable. And that isn’t something that I want to teach my children. Rules are there for a reason, and they need to abide by them whether they agree with them or not.

rule breakerAt my daughter’s preschool during performances, they always tell you not to block the aisles and that if you want to video the performance to do it from the back. Yep, you guessed it. There are always parents kneeling in the aisle with their cameras or those who hold up their phone or iPad to record the proceedings. Never mind that those of us behind you can no longer see.

Another instance that comes to mind has not happened to me but to a friend I met on the WebMD community boards. Her child is severely allergic to peanuts. Her school is not a peanut-free school. (Neither is my child’s school.) The teacher and school set up provisions for her child’s class to be peanut-free. And there was at least one parent who complained about it. Her child would only eat peanut butter for lunch. How dare they tell her he couldn’t have that? No, it is more like how dare she endanger another child by thinking of sending in peanut butter that could actually kill another child?

You also see people lying about the age of their child to get them in at a lower price or even free. I recall reading on the DisBoards (Boards set up for people to talk about and plan their trips to Walt Disney World) about people sticking kids who are clearly over 3 into strollers and declaring them under that age, so they don’t have to pay for them. I would never consider doing that and even on my daughter’s first birthday told someone she was one and had to pay for her admission to a play area where she would have been free just the day before.  And of course, many parents disregard the ages for certain play areas. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have seen older kids in a toddler area or under 5 area.

Now I am not saying I am perfect and follow every rule. I use to sneak snacks into the movies when the kids were younger. At the time they didn’t drink soda and they would not eat anything offered from the movie snack bar but candy. Now they eat popcorn and always want me to buy it along with a soda. I do, however, keep sneaking in some candy (can’t justify paying that price).  Of course as a child I remember my mom sneaking in food and drinks to the movies too so I guess it is true – we model what we see.