It’s a right of passage in this day and age. The kid turns 13 and all of a sudden, they are officially “legal” to have access to most social media accounts. Three weeks from today, Jamie turns 13. He came home sick from school yesterday so we were chatting and he said “wow, just 3 weeks and I’ll be 13″. I was all, “Yeah, I know, I can’t believe it either, I’m pretty sure you were born just like a week ago”.
I was on Facebook and was posting in a private group about something to do with him. He never minds this stuff. Both of my kids read over my shoulder from time to time. I guess I’m a different kind of parent in that we don’t really police their language and as long as they are, overall, polite and good kids, what they say to their friends in games and over text messages, I tend to let go. I kind of think my job is more to police for safety than content. I will call them out now and then if there’s something that is completely out of the realm of acceptable, but they know the line pretty well. I try my best to give them space and they try their best to be the best kids that they can be.
I remember I was posting one of those “yeah, my kids are driving me crazy and I want to move into a hotel for a week” posts on my timeline one day and the kids saw it, laughed, and offered to help me pack. That’s kind of the relationship we’ve fallen into. We try to not take things too seriously and it’s not unusual for us to all make a little fun of each other. Heck, earlier this week, I organized a nerf gun ambush on the middle school kids that walk together home on our block. Us parents hid and got them while Cassie videotaped it. The kids all took it in stride and Jamie thought I was pretty awesome. I’ll post more about that later, but it’s just kind of how we run things around here. I dunno. I want to be their friend, but I also want them to respect me for who I am and my feelings as much as it goes in the other direction. We’re working on that. I think my mom taught me that. We had a lot of fun as kids with her, and she was always willing to listen without judgement. I guess I strive to be my mom, in that way. (Shut up, Mom, you can stop grinning now, yeah you did a good job, I admit it, print this out and frame it, woman!)
Anyway… so we were talking about his turning 13. He is excited about several things, but he’s one of the first of his friends to turn 13 so one of the first that can “officially” have a Facebook page – I know, I’m mean. I make them wait until they are “legal”. I told him I wanted to talk to him about Facebook. His response was immediately, “I know mom, it’s like everything else, you get to have my password, don’t friend people I don’t know, don’t click on links that look weird, don’t have a public profile…… etc”
I laughed. I mean, it’s weird right? Our kids have grown up with the internet. They don’t really know life without it and Tom and I have spent a good deal of time teaching them about etiquette and internet safety. They probably know the entire speech by now.
I told that no, what I actually wanted to talk about is what I post. I wanted to be sure that if I was talking about him or complaining or talking about ADD or something, if he would feel weird (I made sure to tell him I wouldn’t tag him in stuff like that). He said that, no, he has ADD and he’s okay with people knowing, it’s not like it’s a big deal. I asked him about what if I was complaining about the kids making me crazy or something and he, typically, said that he didn’t care, but added that I wasn’t allowed to get upset if he posts that his mom is driving him crazy. LOL
We came up with some ground rules about respect and no arguing on our walls on Facebook and no tagging in photos without permission (although he pretty much doesn’t care “I’m a little weird, mom, in case you didn’t notice, I don’t care if someone sees me in a tutu afterall!”
He has a point… it’s interesting. I’ve watched other parents and kids interact on Facebook. I guess the key is to keep talking and realize that it’s JUST Facebook. I tend to overshare sometimes on there, I’m told. And that’s okay. Life isn’t always roses. My kids aren’t always perfect. My husband does drive me crazy sometimes. So, yeah, I post about the grumpy stuff as well as the happy stuff… let’s just hope he does the same
It definitely wasn’t the conversation I was expecting to have. I was expecting him to say “no, don’t talk about me or to me or even pretend to know who I am”. LOL. It will be interesting for me to see how much he uses it though. I know Facebook seems to be losing market share to the teenagers because us adults are on there a good bit. He knows, though… no matter where he goes… I’ll find it. *maniacal laughter*