Thursday, May 7, 2015

Our Children Are Not Perfect (except on Facebook)...and Neither Are My Characters

My oldest turned 18 yesterday! He is basically an adult and it blows my mind that he is this old. Didn't I just drop him off for preschool and hope he didn't cry the whole time? By the time child #3 went, she was begging to go to school and I was happy to take her so she'd be more stimulated and with a group of kids her own age.

I have three teenagers and love all of them. They are all my favorites, they are all good students, two play musical instruments and they aren't assholes (which was my main role as a parent...raise a kid to not be an asshole) but they aren't perfect. So, why do people in their status messages on Facebook make their children seem faultless and saintlike? Are they afraid people will judge them? Are they trying to prove something to someone else who may be in their FB circle?

My kids argue. One son is in Mock Trial and will argue until you give in, so I have learned to pick my battles with him, when to be quiet and when to tell him *enough* he crossed the line. He loves to leave his wet towels on the floor, he curses even after a lecture about it being a lazy language. Brushing teeth? What is that? Another son doesn't see the mess in his room, doesn't think a brush is needed for his hair and has the tendency to be OCD about the time. It's not "almost 2pm, it's 1:58." My daughter can find the loophole in just about anything and should be a lawyer. She arranges her bookshelves 'just so' and will tell me to ask her to do something directly (not to say "it'd be nice if you walked the dog") but when I do I get excuses as to why she always does it so can't one of her brother's walk the dog? Also, is it a genetic trait that the boys don't think to change their sheets?

Why do we paint our children as perfect? Part of me thinks it is because they will be able to see your post on FB (or a friend's mom will tell someone and it'll get back to said child) and we don't want to ruin their self esteem. Guess what? They know the things I listed above! We talk about it, argue about it and I nag about it on a daily basis. I'm not perfect either and they let me know that; we are only human.

I want my characters in my books to be perfect as they are kind of like my children. Yet, I give them each a fault that carries through the book. It may be insecurity, a messy room, foul language...something that whomever may read the book, when it comes out, can identify with themselves or for someone else.

Any thoughts on why people portray their children, or even their lives, as perfect on Facebook? (I have had two friends cancel their FB accounts because they felt bad about their own lives. They were getting jealous others had more money and were bragging about their latest expensive trip or purchase. )

9 comments :

  1. Of course, my kids were absolute angels when they were growing up. Then again, now I think about it they did have their moments. Actually they were little horrors! You have to love then though don't you. After all I doubt you or I were perfect!
    Keith's Ramblings

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    1. Thanks for the reply! Some stories on FB (or even Twitter) are entertaining but after awhile the 'perfect child' stories get old and you have to wonder what else is going on in peoples lives! Thanks for the comment!

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  2. My FB stream is definitely different than yours! There are success stories, but also photos of children having epic meltdowns, wrecking furniture, and saying embarrassing things. We also tend to share some of the dumbass things that adults do as well. Maybe it's because the friends/family I "friend" on FB are carefully chosen - I gravitate toward people who are able to laugh at themselves, each other, and the world in general. :)

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    1. Yes, I guess it is! I do have some dirty laundry being aired if there are divorces going on and I end up blocking or unfriending them on FB. Or, I have the friend that may post a story about their child they think is funny but others, including myself, think that maybe that child has an issue she can't see...so it does get pretty personal in my FB feed!
      Thanks for the reply!

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  3. As a parent, I find my kids a great source for blogging material, but I should stop and look at things from their point of view. Blogging isn't like writing in a diary or talking to friends on the phone. It's public, out there for the whole world to see and possibly for a long, long time by their peers and maybe, someday, potential employers. So even if some parents just post the good stuff to make themselves feel better, that might be a good thing for the kids. Who wants the world to know how we act in the privacy of our homes. I sure wouldn't.

    Now that I've stepped down from that soapbox, I should probably go look at my old posts. I'm sure I'm guilty of typing up some less-than-wonderful aspects of my darlings. Sorry kids.

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    1. I have had the exact same thought about this not being like a diary. I didn't think about how it'll be out there for employers as second hand info. I know they'll look for a future employees FB/Twitter etc account. Thanks for the response!

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  4. Hi, here from the BBC blogfest. I have a teenager in the house too. I don't post personal stuff on FB, just not comfortable using such a public forum, don't talk my kid up or down on it, use it more as a resource to reconnect with old friends.

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    1. I see people do that and totally understand. Once in awhile I'll do a mom brag moment, just like I would face to face with a friend. Thanks for the reply!

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  5. "Life is what happens between the snapshots".. .
    We are so busy focusing on the happy shiny moments we forget there are t dark sad moments and it gives our kids a false idea of what life is about. I have a Conduct Disorder child who is in care and I know those dark moments happen between the snapshots... but people want to preserve their image and only posting positive on Facebook is the ideal way to do that...

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