These days it’s common to see parents on social media chastising or embarrassing their children for something they have done that the parent does not approve of. I try to never say never, but I would never do that to my children. When I was a child my mom would often say “what happens in this house stays in this house.” I didn’t quite understand it at the time but oh how I understand now. The internet is filled with people who have opinions about everything you say or do, people who have no regard for other’s feelings and will regurgitate any ignorant thought that enters their mind without a second thought. Do you really want to expose your child to that, because they are, well, a child?
I came across one video recently that stands out in my mind. It was a video of a mother who apparently found her daughter somewhere she was not supposed to be. The girl was outside with a group of other kids when the mom pulled up. Mom got out of the car and began to yell at the girl for being there. Not only did she yell at this child in front of the other kids but she was calling her a bitch and using all kinds of profanity, mom was in her face like she was going to punch her. So mom tells the child to get in the car and apparently did not like the way she opened the door, so again she got in her face and started cursing at her and daring her to do something. It wasn’t like a mother and daughter, it was like a grown woman trying to fight a random child in the streets.
So as I am watching I notice the mother is really angry, she is on 150, and she’s telling her daughter to control the look on her face and her attitude and I’m thinking to myself, “how can you expect a child to do something you have never taught them?” From the outside looking in, it was like looking at a two sided mirror, unfortunately, I feel like this child is going to grow up to be everything her mother expects her to be which is not much. Children will rise to your expectations, whether good or bad. They may go through different stages and extended routes to get there, but eventually, they will get there.
Sometimes I feel this generation of parents only know anger. We don’t feel like a child deserves respect or communication. We have a “do as I say not as I do” philosophy. That’s not healthy and it’s not effective. So all we show them is fear-based domination and then we expect them to be able to manage all kinds of emotions with no direction or training.
We have to come to a place as parents where we understand that we have to teach our children how to react, respect, and be responsible for their feelings and choices. We can’t be emotionally reckless and unavailable and expect them to magically learn how to deal with situations they have never experienced. We can’t expect them to never do anything wrong, think of all the things you did behind your parent’s back as a child/teenager. They are going to mess up, and they have to know it’s ok to come to us when they do so we can help them make it better rather than them making it worse trying to hide it, whatever it is.
As far as shaming on social media, I feel that is the most irresponsible, narcissistic thing you can do as a parent. What good does that do your child? Nothing comes from that except maybe you going viral and having 15 minutes of fame. Is it really worth your child’s emotional health? Is your child going to be better for it? Probably not. Some of us were not at all prepared to become parents but it’s time to look at the man in the mirror. If you want to raise an exceptional human, you first need to be an exceptional human.