Why I Won’t Write Embarrassing Things About My Daughter on the Internet

Since I became a mom, I’ve had a firm “no embarrassing stories about my daughter on the internet” rule.

I’ve never written embarrassing moments in potty learning, tantrums, or other tidbits my daughter may one day find embarrassing to read on the internet.

And here’s why.

why I won't share

It’s disrespectful.

Could you imagine if, years from now, you were suffering incontinence and had an accident – and your child’s first response was to send out a tweet or write a Facebook status bemoaning the incident?

Or, if every time your partner and you had a disagreement, or he thought you were being unreasonable, he quoted your “ridiculous tantrum” word for word on social media?

While our children may not be aware of our transgressions on their trust now, there will come a day when they and their friends have their own social media accounts.

Not only is it possible that your child will feel hurt and mortified at having their vulnerable moments documented for the world to see, there is also the possibility that cyber bullying could occur.

I want my daughter to confide and trust in me. I am building that trust now.

I listen when she tells me long drawn-out retellings of her doll’s day.

I ask her questions about how she feels and thinks about things she experiences.

I always acknowledge when she tells the truth, and give appropriate consequences when she confesses to having done something she shouldn’t have — making sure she knows that I am proud of her for telling the truth and facing her consequence.

Using her learning moments to gain a few laughs, or even to evoke sympathy and commissery from fellow parents isn’t worth sacrificing that line of communication and trust.

I have a couple of friends who I can send a quick text message to if we’re encountering an especially trying moment and I really need some support, and maybe even laugh about the absurdity of some of the more trying moments. But these are friends who truly love my daughter and will be respectful with these stories. Maybe even that is slightly inappropriate, and I should be writing these stories down in a journal, or in future letters to give to my daughter.

Because not everything should be shared.

When my daughter starts sharing “the big stuff” with me, I don’t want my first inclination to be to share that information with someone else. I want her to trust me to be the guardian of her secrets, and for her to feel confident opening up her heart to me and knowing that I will protect it.

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For more Montessori-inspired parenting posts, check out Montessori Approaches to Sleep and 6 Tips for Raising Internally Motivated Kids.

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28 Comments

  1. I wholeheartedly agree! I don’t think this is said often enough. What we think is cute or frustrating now can one day show up to haunt the people we love the most. Before posting we should all put our words, thoughts and ideas through a filter of sorts. Sifting out the sharp edges leaving only the encouraging bits. Realistically life will not always be encouraging but we need to strive to find the blessing within it all. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Celi! I think often if we stop to sort out the encouraging bits, life would be so much sweeter! What a great analogy you can draw from that!

  2. I totally agree with this! I try really hard not to post pictures, stories or comments that could someday embarrass my children. Aside from a few bath time pictures from their babyhood, I really don’t add pictures unless they are positive. They do plenty of crazy things, but I don’t HAVE TO share EVERYTHING just because I can. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I absolutely agree with this. These are the same reasons (among others) I have chosen not to put pictures of my kids’ faces on my blog. The blog is public, not just friends and family of my choosing and my kids are not old enough to choose whether or not they consent to that. If I would’t want my picture floating around the internet for anyone to see without my knowledge, why would I expect my kids to be okay with that. They deserve the same privacy and respect I would give to other adults when it comes to their images and content of their lives. Thank you for sharing your point of view, it really makes a lot of sense to me.

    1. Nicole, those are such good points! I’ve had definite “heart moments” seeing my daughter’s picture stolen already. I think it’s good to remember that we can connect with our readers on our owns without giving them a real knowledge of our children.

  4. I agree. I try and be mindful of what I post. I’m sure that there is something that I think is minor that my kids will think was bigger deal later, but there are some very big things that I avoid. My husband suggested I write about my son’s surgery and while that’s a great idea, it might be something that he doesn’t want the world to know all the details of later.

    1. It’s so hard to know sometimes… I won’t write about our struggles until my daughter is old enough to give consent, but even then, she has every right to change her mind so I try to just focus on the neutral territory 😉

  5. I agree wholeheartedly. I am a mom and a wife, but mostly write about other things. I don’t want to hurt anyone that I love. Good choices. And working to find other things to write about makes us work harder. In the end we will all benefit!

    1. Right? I sometimes think that as a writer I take the easy way out just writing about my experiences with my family, though it’s wonderful to be in practice. I can’t wait to have a real practice again 🙂

  6. What an insightful post today. Especially in this day and age we need to guard against cyber “stuff” that is never gone but floats around forever. My daughter is in her 30’s and I still don’t write much about her. Thanks for the reminder today !!

  7. Honestly I try to highlight only the positive. My kids are older but, I do have a 13 year old at home. At 13 they have enough to deal with without adding to internet.

  8. Super post. It always comes down to trust and respect. Sadly many people don’t have respect for their children because they think “they’re just kids.” It is so wrong-minded to think that way. I will be sharing this.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Sheila. It’s unfortunate but true – and how we treat children in turn dictates how they will treat others.
      I often think children show that they are more worthy of our trust and respect than we are of theirs!

  9. I completely agree. That’s absolutely the problem with the internet. No matter how young our children are, some stories are still theirs to tell if and when they choose to do so. We all made crazy mistakes as we got into middle and high school – but we were lucky enough not to make them in a world where they were not immediately posted on multiple social media sites. Thank goodness for small favors 🙂 Thank you for writing this!

  10. My parents were not perfect by bar, but they taught me one significant thing that I practice as a parent: to never repeat negatives about your children in public. They always harped on our good sides and it was such good mind control! We would sit straighter and exhibit all the good qualities they were relaying so proudly to their friends and acquaintances. My mother especially was always optimistic in her views on life, trying to discard the clouds, holding on to the sunshine. Those are the memories we want to remember. Someone else commented on treating our children as people who deserve our respect and trust – that’s what love is all about right? Thanks for your post. In the world of social media mania – I totally agree.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Isn’t it beautiful how if we focus on the positive, we see more of it and children are encouraged to exhibit those qualities more?

  11. As the mom of 3, a parent educator and a blogger, I am so with you. My kids are in the tween and teen years. I make sure I check with them before I post anything that includes. them. I don’t show their faces in photos and I don’t use their names on my blog. But just as importantly, I don’t post about subjects that might embarrass them (whether I think it’s embarrassing or not). Thanks for sharing at the This Is How We Roll Link Party on Organized 31.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Susan. I think that extra bit — whether you think it’s embarrassing or not — is so key. My daughter has auditory processing issues and some of the ways we deal with that seem just “strategic” for me, but writing about them might come back to embarrass her or make her feel weird. It’s a hard balance to be sure.

  12. So good and true! I have been more aware of this and trying to be extra cautious. Thanks for sharing at Tues Talk!

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