…or, Why Parents Should Block Their Kids on Facebook.
There are all manner of rites of passage that we go through in our lives. Events that we tend to hold in common with the rest of humanity. Our first car, weddings, the births of our children, dealing with a toddler in the grocery store for the first time when that toddler has seen a brightly colored shiny thing and you said “No.”, or watching your kid walk into the kindergarten classroom for the first time without you. Stuff like that. Stuff that ties you to the larger community of people on the planet and makes you feel like you are a part of something larger than yourself. Sure, some of these things are cultural or generational, but more of them are universal. We still hold the big ones in common.
The one I am experiencing right now is the one called, “Oh God, My Now Emergent Adult Child Is Out On Her Own And Posting Scary Pictures and/or Updates On Facebook.”
Now, I know, I know. This is normal. I am experiencing the same thing that other mothers experience. I am one with the mothers of frat boys and sorority girls, young people off at college and living in dorms, or out on their own for the first time. It is a universally painful experience that goes something like this:
Look at the Facebook update.
Take a deep breath.
Restrain yourself from posting a concerned comment (I fail at this step a lot.)
Restrain yourself from posting a witty comment (I fail at this one too, though I think the young adult in question would say the comments are more “horrifying” than “witty.”)
Restrain yourself, period.
Sit on your hands.
Take another deep breath.
Turn off the computer.
Turn the computer back on, look at the photos again, restrain yourself more (FAIL), and then pray very hard that your parents (the grandparents) are not checking Facebook today (invariably doomed to fail) OR think to yourself, in horror, “Oh sweet creeping Zombie Jesus in the berry bushes, I can NOT KNOW THAT.” (but now you do and you can’t poke holes in your skull to let the bad spirits out) OR both.
Reassure yourself that you survived your early twenties and that doubtless, your offspring will survive too and that this might all one day be a Valuable Learning Experience.
Reassure yourself more.
Make a cup of tea.
Take a Xanax.
Being the parent of a young adult is really difficult. You can’t make their choices for them. It was easier for our parents I think, because mostly they just had to speculate about what we were doing. We weren’t putting up evidence on the internet. There wasn’t an internet. Sure, we never wrote, we never called (except to ask for money), but was that such a bad thing?
I’m beginning to think, not so much.
There is such a thing as too much information. Especially when it comes to emerging adulthood.
I think I am going to go with the theory, “What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us.” and for the sake of my sanity, I might just block my young adult’s Facebook for a few years.
Because there is not enough tea in China and probably my doctor is eventually going to stop giving me Xanax.
Your mileage may vary. Lalalalalalalalala…..