"She's not allowed on Facebook until we say so."
This was said to me by another mom about her daughter, back when our girls were
in middle school together. It was delivered as sort of a scolding, really,
because I'd just made the grave mistake of letting on that I'd let my kid have an
account, and now I was getting the "You're kind of a crappy mom" lecture.
I didn't "Like" anything she said, and afterwards
I wanted to "Poke" her eyes out and made a mental note to never "Friend" this windbag.
When I got home I mentioned the conversation to my
daughter about her classmate, and for a minute I thought she was going to pass
out, she was laughing so hard. "Oh, Sara has a Facebook account alright—she's
had it longer than most of us. And she spends a lot of time telling us to 'make
sure my mom never finds out.'"
Moral of the story: Don't act morally superior and smug about your kid not having a Facebook account.
The real moral of the story: Like it or not, your kids have secrets they will never tell you, no matter how great your relationship is. Here are some things your kids may never give you the skinny on, but don't take it personally; it's part of being a parent to these growing, mysterious beings.
We're all familiar with that one-word answer,
"Fine," when we've asked so earnestly how their school day went. We want every
single gory detail, but school is a time for your kid to have some experiences
away from you and to become more autonomous, so they might not want to tell you
they cried during circle time or cussed during their history presentation. Think
about it. Do you want to tell people exactly what you did during the day? *hiding
Cheetos and cat videos*
Case in point: the middle school mom who lectured
me but was clueless about her own daughter. Right now, your kids are probably
on social media platforms you haven't even heard of and might not even be able
to pronounce. Trying to stop it is like trying to put your finger in every
single hole in the damn dam, so the best you can do is teach them to be smart and
vigilant, and most importantly, don't talk to strangers whose profile pictures
are of them in their underwear playing video games. Also, don't be hurt if they
block you from reading some of their posts. I believe my daughter when she
says, "Mom, it's for your own good."
3. What their friends are doing
There really is a certain pact amongst kids that
they won't expose or rat out their friends. My daughter probably wouldn't have
told me about her "Facebook-forbidden" classmate if I hadn't relayed my encounter
with her moralizing mom, and she begged me afterwards not to blow her cover. Do
make it clear, though, that they have to absolutely spill the beans if any of
their friends are in danger or harming themselves or others.
4. Who they are crushing on / dating / hooking up with
Enjoy your second-grader telling you how he's in love with the girl he sits next to for fingerpainting, because as they get older the details get far and few between.
Enjoy your second-grader telling you how he's in
love with the girl he sits next to for fingerpainting, because as they get older the
details get far and few between. They may spill a few names, but unless they're
in a relationship you'll only get just enough detail to assure you that they're
not going to the movies with a serial killer. As for hooking-up, that is
information that we hope and pray they keep to themselves.
Obviously I'm talking about teenagers here, because unless
your kid is 8 and the party report consists of "We had cake and then did 'POW' to the piñata," there is no way on earth your kid will tell you what went
on at the party they just went to. The alternative is to lock them in their
room until they're 30, so you should practice not letting your imagination run
wild. You know, try not to think they're smack dab in the middle of this:
They're probably not. But then again, we may never know.