Parenting and Double Standards on Social Media

Social media is an awesome thing. It gives us connections to worlds and communities we’d never have met otherwise. We learn. We travel. We save money, grow our vocabulary, experience cultures and develop lifelong relationships. It’s an amazing thing and I can’t imagine taking a hiatus – I simply would miss out on too much.

That said, there are some bad things that come along with every little thought, action and emotion being played out or shared with the world at large. Unless you pick and choose your friends, fans or followers very carefully, you probably know what I mean. You can look at your Facebook wall right now and find at least one person driving you crazy with attention-seeking “Having a bad day” posts designed to lure you into conversation right when you’re dealing with your own problem and another oversharing about her doctor’s appointment. If you have teens on your page, it’s a whole different world, including my personal favorite “Answer each question about me. Go!” (Then when they only get a couple of responses or a few aren’t what they’d hoped for, all hell breaks loose. I have teens. Trust me on this.)

I’ve shared before that I have strong feelings for social media to be used for good. It has SO much potential and has improved our lives in a lot of ways.

There’s also no denying that it has caused problems.

Bullying of teens online has been implicated in suicide. Fights have been instigated, both of the verbal kind and physical. Relationships have ended. Families have been divided. In the least, feelings are hurt. How can we work harder to avoid this?

The list is endless, as the methods vary as much as the people involved. Do you have a pet peeve about social media that you would love to change?

I’ll share one of mine. I personally dislike statuses and blog pieces where people are chastising another for their parenting choices. Status updates where a parent blasts people for homeschooling or not vaccinating or public schooling or vaccinating. (To each their own, people!) Blogs where a parent puts their own child on a pedestal while denigrating others’ kids for being different. (Recent blog that comes to mind? Not a direct quote, but something akin to “My sons can be on a beach in a bathing suit with no shirt, but keep your daughters clothed and don’t let my sons see them! Teach your girls so my sons don’t have to be accountable for what they look at and so I can teach them to judge people by what they wear.”)

I could be cruising along through a good blog reading session, then I come across a hypocritical, double-standard post about how perfect someone’s kids are and how the rest are problems, and I’m totally turned off. On Facebook, I’ve blocked more than one bully pulpit pastor chastising the general parenting community for letting their kids read Harry Potter or piercing their baby’s ears. R-e-s-p-e-c-t, not finger pointing.

finger pointing

In other, infamous words that aren’t mine: “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Differences make the world go round. I love my child as they are, perfectly imperfect. I am as proud of them as you are of yours and it’s not my place to discipline your child, comment on your child or blame them for something. That’s your job and I expect you to let me do mine. I can’t be the only one out there who wonders why it’s so easy to critique someone else’s child while wearing blinders on your own child’s faults.

Recently, a friend of mine was telling me a story. (Bear with me while I get all mom, girly and gossipy-sounding.)  It’s all third-party, but the gist is that her son was invited to go to his friend’s brother’s birthday party. (Following me? Lol) Problem was, his friend didn’t have permission to invite anyone, and the friend’s mom was unhappy that she had to explain to the three kids he’d invited that they couldn’t really come. Instead of having her son be responsible for his actions, the mom called my friend and told her, making an uber-big deal out of it; in short, she said “Your son doesn’t need to be at the party for my older son, they aren’t even the same age. How silly that he wants to come!” When my friend reminded her that her younger son had invited him, she made excuses for it and said that my friend’s son should have known better. At the end of the conversation, my friend felt very awkward, very sorry for her son to have been blamed for something that wasn’t his fault, and a relationship was ruined. In fact, two were – her son’s relationship with his friend was tainted and her own relationship with the mother was as well, and trust was broken because they both realized that at the slightest provocation, her son would be thrown under the bus. Instead of just moving on and acknowledging that we don’t need to make a big deal out of everything, it morphed.

Then it got mentioned on social media. The other mom shared that she was amazed that people expected the birthday party to be a babysat event, and that the cost of feeding everyone else was straining her budget. More feelings were hurt, and it was all totally avoidable.

But it’s really two problems, right? One is being oblivious to the fact that it’s not okay to treat other peoples’ kids less than your own, and the other is sharing something on Facebook that could be about people who are reading it.

Maybe people get too comfortable. They think they’re close enough to you to say something negative about your kid, or they think they’ve known you long enough or been in your child’s life for so many years that it’s okay for them to be honest. Still though, it doesn’t take the sting away, particularly if their own child was involved yet the whole blame is being placed on someone else.

Maybe people are unsure about the situation so they post it, hoping to get reinforcements. They didn’t get the response from you that they’d hoped for (in that phone conversation, the face-to-face lunch date or meeting in the Starbucks line) so they are double-checking amongst their social community to get that pat on the back, the “you’re right!” that some people seem to need so much.

Why we need to be right so often, that’s a topic for another day and someone else’s blog. I prefer to be happy over being right….

Other times, we just forget. I’m sure I’ve shared something on Facebook that in one way or another offended someone because it somehow related to them. I don’t think any of us are immune, but we can do better.

From now on, if my child is blamed for something your child was involved in, I may just point out your child’s involvement, and you may not like it. If your daughter shared a secret with mine, don’t get mad at mine for being the listening ear; blame your daughter for talking. If your son gives mine some cookies at lunch and you didn’t like it, blame yours for sharing (albeit usually an admirable trait), not mine for accepting. Save your indignation for your own child’s behaviors while I talk with my daughter about how glad I am that she keeps friends’ confidences  and my son about eating his own lunch instead of someone else’s. However, I won’t do ANY of it on social media.

It’s really simple. No matter how much we love our child(ren), others love theirs You are as proud of your own children as we are of ours. We aren’t going to say “oh my gosh, you’re right, your child IS better than mine.” It’s just not going to happen.

Now maybe I’m coming off bitter..not my intent, but I’m coming to this perspective as the mom of a  child with special needs. I see him get shuffed off repeatedly because years ago, he used the word “crap” in public..or he had a meltdown in Target when he was four because the lights hurt his ears..or he hid under a table at a birthday party when he was five and didn’t participate. Truly, these things happened and I still hear them as excuses as to why he’s left out of an invite – but he’s 12 now.  Ahhh, I digress.

Let’s all try to do a couple of things, together: if we can’t be kind to others’ kids, let’s be quiet, in the written word or verbal form. If we aren’t sure if what we’re saying about others’ kids, let’s not say it, even if it is to get feedback. You can’t take it back once it’s out there. And maybe the driving cause behind it: let’s realize we all love our kids to the moon and back, so it’s going to raise hackles when you say something even slightly negative about our kid yet yours are off-limits. If you open the door, expect something in return. There is no such thing as a perfect child so instead, unless there’s danger involved, let’s respect each other and show kindness, especially in the public arena where words come back to haunt you.

How does that relate to social media overall? Kids emulate adults. We are their role models. If they have good examples to follow, maybe we’ll see less bullying, less fighting, less sharing of bad photos or rumors. If kids feel invincible or as though they have no responsibility for their behavior, they’re going to push the limits, and you’ll see more bad behavior on social media, not less. If mom blames everyone else, they’re not going to have better self-esteem; they’re going to have an inflated sense of entitlement which can hurt them later in life. I try to teach my children kindness, and that their behavior affects others, that it’s not all about them. I want them to give second chances and include the underdog or the excluded kid, to be the friend that they don’t have. I want them to be responsible for their behavior, so I watch what they do online and offline. I may not see what they’re doing while at school, but by reading their social media involvement daily, I can at least have input on that. It’s not perfect, but it’s an attempt.

The internet’s all about resources, support, education and entertainment. As the world speeds closer and closer to more computer usage and less personal interaction, we have chances to make those interactions more positive. There’s a reason that people take a hiatus from the internet, and it’s not just that they’re finding they’re addicted to being online or that they always have a phone in their hand; some people leave because they’re emotionally burned out. It’s enough to keep our face-to-face relationships on an even keel and give them enough devotion that sometimes it’s simply too much to do it online, too. (Have you ever found yourself taking a break from Facebook? I know I have!)

What’s your social media peeve? Maybe it’s bloggers who share their personal feelings, just like my post! I learn so much from reading others’ perspectives, even if sometimes it hits a nerve and makes me think. (Maybe my friend’s friend is reading??)

Stay safe out there!

Similar Posts


    1. So true! I am thinking of holding classes, seriously..I know a lot of people want to know more about social etiquette and ask me a lot of questions, so I may just do it! Thanks for posting!

  1. I have a couple of pet peeves and agree that social sites can be used for good. I use them to keep up on what’s happening in my friends’ and family’s lives and hopefully to encourage others. It really bugs me when I find out important things on facebook (like my son was engaged and then broke up online for all to see), or that people vent online and say some terribly awful things to others. People need to grow up. I have a personal blog that I explore such things as this – partly because it’s therapy for me and partly because sometimes people just need to hear the voice of reason.

  2. I enioyed reading this! Yes, why do we bash each other when we all want what is best for our children?!

    My social media pet peeve is when people tell embarrassing stories about their children and over posting kid’s pics. I strive to protect my children’s privacy online. I do not use their names on social media except for my personal page and NEVER post pictures online where you can see their face.

    1. I’m with you! Out of all of my blog, you’ll find very little about my kids. I figure I have the choice to blog but they don’t have the choice to be left out, so I have to take responsibility and act accordingly by not involving them beyond what is safe or right. Online safety is SO important! Thanks for posting!

  3. My peeve is something that may just keep me out of trouble sometimes. I type epic status updates on Facebook about what I think about the government, good and bad. I delete the entire thing and just end up posting something random. It makes me feel that I got something major off my chest.

    1. That’s a great idea! If only more people would do that! They’d save themselves from being in trouble and save us from having to see it! 😉 Thanks for posting!

  4. I agree with you completely. People seem to think that they can say or do whatever on social media, and that other’s are not supposed to be hurt or bothered by it. I have seen more than a few heated debates about political views, religious views, and other personal views. I think because people aren’t saying it to the other’s face, they feel like they can say whatever they want. It would be different if the two were actually in the same room together.

    1. That’s exactly it! “It’s not like I’m saying it to their face.”

      Dude, words are words, be it written or vocal. Same thing!!

      Thanks for posting! 🙂

  5. I know exactly what you are saying! I usually just delete negative people from my friends lists. Too much of that in my everyday real world life. I really dont need it in cyber space!

    1. I’m with you, I’ve deleted more than one person from my page! If they bring me down repeatedly or make Facebook non-fun, for non-important things (to be clear), after a while, it’s time, you know? Like you say, everyday life is stressful enough, we don’t need to invite it into our home! Thanks for posting!

  6. I definitely agree with you! Social media can be such an awesome way to stay in touch with friends and family that live clear across the country. I find that I hide those negative nellies from my home feed. The other downside besides what you mentioned is the feeling of inadequacy that some people can feel because everyone is always posting the best of their lives making it seem like the picture perfect family.

    1. Negative nellies — good term! I have to admit, I hide a few of them too! I don’t need to feel chastised by someone or have someone stalk me on a professional page to negate something I’ve said, so I block a couple even! Gotta have that feeling of enjoyment and security or it’s not worth any of it! Thanks for posting!

  7. Social media is wonderful! I love meeting new people with common interests, staying in touch with family and friends. The one thing that I hate the most is those people that seem to always be complaining about something.

    1. I tell my kids — you get five minutes to complete, then we get a moratorium. Facebook ought to have a rule like that, too! 😉 Thanks for posting!

  8. Yes parenting is hard enough without people judging one another. Modeling good attitudes are definitely copied by our kids, and unfortunately bad attitudes are modeled as well.

    1. So true! Another one I don’t like is “I’m at the gym.” Awesome, I just went to the store, but no one needs to know!

      Thanks for posting!

  9. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding my social media peeve. Why do people think that it’s okay to lie and do mean spirited things on the internet? In the story you outlined, the real loser is her child– because his relationships–everyday relationships have been negatively impacted.

    What a sad story. I think you need to post some cupcake photos to un-depress me!

    1. I totally need to do cupcakes!! No clients tonight (or this weekend, in fact, I blocked it out due to a couple of other events) but I do have apple-pumpkin bread in the oven, batch #2. Want some??

  10. You’re right social media definitely has its good points, but can also do a lot of harm. It’s so easy to judge when we really don’t know someone’s intentions at all or what they might be going through. I try my best not to judge things I see on social media and just try to ignore the things I disagree with and move on.

  11. My pet peeve is similar. The same really. Just people who act as though they’re better than everyone else. Who want to stand on a soap box and preach and that is all. Don’t point out the speck in someone else’s eye unless you acknowledge the plank in your own. I think social media is a tool that can be used for good. To encourage others. Whether we choose to use it that way is up to us.

    1. Yes, we all have responsibility for our use, and I agree, encouraging actions are better than chastising. (I have a friend who constantly posts things like “Parents, you need to xxx” or “Come on, people, you shouldn’t xx..” Ugh, I had to block! I want to enjoy FB, not be yelled at.) Thanks for posting!

    1. Becky, I know what you mean — sometimes it’s just too hard to ignore! I’m lucky, I’ve not really had but one nasty comment here on my blog and on FB, I’ve ended up blocking a few. Thanks for posting!

  12. Good post with lots to think about. I don’t really like Facebook. I don’t post much on it. I do stop by and read it every day. I guess I like to see what everyone is doing and up to. Lately I see a lot of drama too.

    My biggest Pet Peeve is peopl who post comments that are meant to teach someone else a lesson but not mentioning who they are directed to. First, Facebook is not the place to do that. If you can’t confront or discuss directly with the person, than don’t do it at all. And secondly, you leave it wide open for people to falsely think it might be someone it is not.

    1. Pam, I so agree — I don’t go on Facebook so someone can make a passive-aggressive comment about me. Being an adult, speaking up and being honest is the way to go! Thanks for posting!

  13. This is a great post! I completely agree with you on so many points. Recently my sister decided to “ask for an unbiased opinion”, about something that transpiring between us, on facebook. In my opinion you can’t ask your friends to be unbiased. Of course they are going to “side” with you.

    It frustrated me that she wouldn’t come and just talk to me about what had happened instead of trying to make me look like a horrible person, even though I was trying to stand up for my child and not let her take advantage of her anymore, all over facebook. Ok, she didn’t name names, but she did say a few things about me that made it quite obvious which sister she was talking about and since probably about 50% of our friends are mutual and know all of our family they all know it was me. I was tempted to voice my opinion on her post, but I refrained. It’s not worth it to me. I decided to block her posts, so I wouldn’t have to keep seeing all of the comments that kept coming up telling her how horrible I was.

    It sad to me that people use social media to do the work that they should be doing in person.

    1. Oh no 🙁 That’s not cool. Esp a sister, she should be able to come talk to you. If not, don’t go to FB…either handle it properly or get over it, you know? I’m sorry that happened. I’d have blocked her, too, you can only do so much! Thanks for posting!

  14. I try to post only positive, uplifting things to Facebook. I rarely post anything very personal because it is a world stage and I am trying to be careful and considerate. Perhaps we all need to realize that just because social media is out there doesn’t obligate us to use it.

    1. Yes! Much like “just because it fits, doesn’t mean I should wear it.” I know some people are lonely but ack…Facebook isn’t the place to share your every health issue, ‘time of the month’ details or vent the anger at your husband! I hide stuff! 😉 Thanks for posting!

  15. I’m so thankful that social media wasn’t around when I was in high school! It’s a good reminder though that kids emulate adults and we need to set a good example!

  16. My personal pet peeve is when someone is all nice n oh so wonderful on social media then when you get to know them they are so different. Leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

    1. lol, I know! Even after being in the field for over 17 years now, I still surprising things from time to time. (I don’t worry too much about my employer on FB, I keep that stuff separate but on my blog, I’m always careful regardless…) Thanks for posting!

  17. Some people have entirely too much free time honestly! Fortunately for me most of my followers and friends on social media tend to be drama free or at least have enough tact to not post trivial things like that online!

  18. So true. Kids have enough to worry about from peer pressure/problems, they don’t need parents involved, too. And I, too, have been part of a group where people come on and use it to complain or say bad things about other people. It is a private group, so not everyone can read it, but it is still very frustrating to read that kind of thing!

    1. Krista, it’s funny you mentioned private group — I experienced that recently, too! I very rarely visit anymore now, the negative and bashing gets on my nerves. I think the worst thing is when someone sits and bashes on their family members. Over and over and over! Instead of fixing a situation, they portray themselves as not a part of the problem..but you are after that long, you know? Thankfully we can pick and choose what we want to read! Thanks for posting!

  19. For me, I just don’t like all of the Mom bashing that goes on. I see lots of posts about why people hate pinterest or instagram or whatever because it makes them feel inadequate, but I don’t see it that way. I’m never going to be half as crafty as one quarter of the people I engage with online, but I follow them, because I admire them – they’re just really talented. But do I want to be them? Do I feel insignificant? Nah. I’m happy in my own little hermit-y life – and just be the best me that I can be. Dorky? Perhaps, but it’s the truth. 🙂

    1. Yep, I’m with you…mom bashing is so unnecessary! We all need to respect each other and our rights to be different and parent as we see fit. And dorky is a good thing! I wish I was better at crafts, or that I had more of an interest, but everyone has gifts/talents and it doesn’t bother me that I can’t cut a straight line to save my life! 😉 Enjoy, learn, have fun! Thanks for posting!

  20. Maybe it is the generation I belong to, but I prefer to keep most of my private life private. I use social media since becoming a blogger, but it is reluctantly. I know that it is a big part of my grandchildren’s daily lives, but I continue to caution them to be careful what they share. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is so untrue. What come out of my mouth or is typed into blogs or social media sites can never be taken back. We need to be “careful out there.”

    1. It’s a fine line between being personal and over-sharing, and it’s frequently crossed! I don’t share up-close pics of my kids, their real names or anything identifiable. I also don’t share things that can be used against me, like you mention. Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. Even if I delete something, there is a record somewhere. Too many kids nowadays don’t realize that! Wise words you have there! Thanks for posting!

  21. I call those people “The Attention Seekers.” We all have our moments, but all of us have at least one or two people who overdo them to the point where we’re all desensitized. It’s a shame, we really could benefit from social media but you have to know where to draw the line. Thanks for posting!

  22. It’s funny, a large portion of stuff that shows on my feed anymore is food-related! (And I like it that way!) I go to the walls of those that don’t show up and I like to see photos of friends and their kids, etc., but at election time, I wanted to block everyone! 😉 Thanks for posting!

  23. Doesn’t it feel good when you block the negative on your wall? Makes it where you can look forward again to being online! (I’ve done it too!) Thanks for posting!

  24. Ooh, I thought I was the only one that did phone checks! Glad to hear I’m not! (Not that it would stop me, but….) I pay for the phone, I get to check the phone to be sure rules aren’t being broken, like texting during school, at night, etc. (Luckily, never had cause out of the four to look for worse.) I also watch the kids’ pages and they know that if someone uses a bad word, it gets removed. Do it again? Blocked. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

  25. I’m guilty of sharing too much. I try to avoid conflict and would never attack or point out others faults. I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion and even though I might not agree with them there is no need to embarrass. Politics, Religion and how you raise your kids are topics I stay far away from. However there is a lot of good too- I get to know what’s a happening in my family’s life without spending hours on the phone (which I dislike), lol! I used to belong to a parent community online and seeing these moms attack each other was just wrong and turned me off on forums.

    I blog a story here and there about my kids- doing good mainly (bragging lol) but mainly for my family to read about them. I did share on my personal page the other day that my kids were in the car comparing arm pit hair. Yes, that’s too much info but my family and friends love that but I would never share that on my blog or twitter LOL! There is a place and time for everything.

    1. LOL, love the arm pit story!! Aren’t kids fun??

      I agree, embarrassing is wrong, and I’m with you, I dislike phonecalls, especially long ones. I’d much rather write something, and I think a blog is a great place to update a family on what’s going on with yours.

      I used to manage a large community of moms and while there was a lot of good stuff there, the nasties came out too frequently…at times, it was discouraging and I always felt it was sad to have to remind adults to act like adults.

      Thanks for posting!

  26. I think we need to have social media etiquette. Maybe that can be a blog post? Well, I agree that social media is a place where too much info is shared. When deciding what to post, ask yourself if this is something worth your credibility and integrity? It’s called wisdom, but do people have it now days? Not so much apparently.

    1. Rosenda, that’d be a great blog piece! (I’m share it with my readers on Twitter for sure!) Wisdom and common sense — both can be hard to find sometimes! Thanks for posting!

  27. My view is this: I can post what I want on my page, as can anyone else. If someone doesn’t like it they can either delete me or hide me from their feed. If someone posts something I don’t like, I don’t go to their status and chastise them for it. I either ignore it, hide them from my status, or if they just annoy me more than I can stand, I will delete them. I have had people go to my status and argue with me and they got promptly deleted. My MIL has been on/off my facebook friends list more times than I can remember. She currently has me blocked and that’s fine because I no desire to add her back. When she was on my facebook, she would find ways to start unnecessary drama with me. But facebook isn’t the reason she doesn’t like me, she’s never liked me LOL.

    1. MIL — those letters stood out in your post like BIG RED LETTERS 😉 I gotcha. You are brave for trying in the first place! (I block and unsub, no need for negativity online, real life brings enough stress!) I’m very vocal about my feelings on a couple of issues related to autism, so I’m sure I’ve been blocked..but that’s okay 🙂

  28. What a wise post! I agree with practically all you said. I tend to be pretty quiet on social media, because it’s just not prudent to share so much.

    1. Thanks! It’s funny, for being professionally involved in social media, my Facebook wall is fairly empty on my personal page. I tend to use IG a lot anymore for photos and talk to a few on FB, but my own status updates have decreased. I also am choosy about who I friend..I don’t want my mailman or the dog groomer knowing stuff they just don’t need to know 😉

  29. I’ve never understood why people post some things on social media that really have no business being there. No one is perfect and I totally agree with you, “Can’t we all just get along!” We all share the same world and life will go a whole lot smoother if we demonstrate kindness to one another.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *