Raising kids is hard work, but how do you do it when everything you hear about on the news and on social media is nothing but terror, hate and crime? I get it, these things have been around forever, but it feels like we are in a day and age where we hear about it more frequently. How do you parent in these crazy times?
Every day you hear about the terrorist attacks, crazy people driving trucks into crowds of people, men with bombs stuck to their bodies running into crowded areas and men shooting up clubs, movie theaters and neighborhoods. How do we avoid these things acts of violence in our children’s lives?
When I was serving a mission for the LDS church, 9/11 happened. I remember nothing of it because we weren’t allowed to watch the news, read the paper or even pick up a magazine. Yes, I wasn’t completely oblivious to it because there was no avoiding it (and I was in Fresno, CA), but I didn’t see the details of the attack that everyone else saw.
Fast forward to 2010, I am in a media class and we read and talked about how the media showed images of people jumping from the towers. Then we were asked what our feelings and thoughts of the events? I raised my hand and said, “Nothing, because to me the attacks never happened. Yeah I have been there and seen the empty places of where the building were, but I never saw all these images when this happened.” The class was completely shocked.
Is this what we do with our kids though? Do we completely withdraw them from media and what the news is showing us, or do we allow that in their lives to show them how crazy the world is around them?
Growing up, social media wasn’t a thing. You had pen pals instead of Facebook friends. We actually went outside to play games with friends. We weren’t following our phones because Pokemon GO says there is a Pokemon close by, and you’ve got to catch them all. Is this what I have to look forward to with my own kids?
Before having kids I would say all the time that I am never going to let technology babysit my child. But then you have a kid, you need to distract them so you can get things done and suddenly they own their own iPad air and know how to work it better than you do.
You pull up social media now and all you see are acts of violence, shootings with cops, revenging girlfriends with shovels and riots breaking out everywhere, including Walmart. It’s stuff like this that makes me want to delete my Facebook, but why?
Parents Parenting Parents
As a new parent, I understand that I don’t know everything about parenting. In fact I think it’s safe to say I really know nothing about it. I just learn as I go, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to jump all over me and tell me what an awful job I am doing.
So many times I will see a parent posting a picture of something and suddenly the world goes nuts. Let me give you a couple examples.
Gorilla mom. It was an unfortunate situation, protecting a child or saving an animal. If it were me in that mother’s shoes I would have hoped they did the same to save my child. We can’t place blame or point fingers because we weren’t there. Don’t you think this mom has punished herself enough?
Then to get attacked by complete strangers on social media, digging a deeper wound than she already had. I think we all will have a gorilla mom experience at least once in our lifetime, hopefully not with an actual gorilla but something will happen that causes others to judge us unfairly. I only hope I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
Not the Picture I’m talking about.
Do you follow Rachel Parcell? She is a fashion blogger located here in Utah and has a gigantic following. Well, every year her family takes a trip to Lake Powell and she posted a picture of her family on their jet ski, baby included. Instagram went nuts! You’re an unfit mother! You should be ashamed of yourself for putting your baby in danger! The comments went on forever.
Rachel jumped on Snapchat where she told people the truth about what was happening. Her husband was driving the jet ski, it was barely moving and they took a quick photo of their entire family on the jet ski together. They would never put their young child in danger. Social media’s reactive comments of how awful of a mother she was didn’t help the situation.
Recently, Victoria Beckham posted a picture of herself kissing her daughter Harper on the lips. Innocent, sweat and motherly, but suddenly the sh## hits the fan because Victoria is kissing her daughter. The hashtag #loveislove goes viral and everyone goes into a complete rage about how she shouldn’t be kissing her daughter on the mouth.
First of all, what’s wrong with kissing your child on the lips? It’s innocent and you are showing them your love and affection for them. If that’s not parenting I don’t know what is, but apparently the world goes nuts and has to share their opinion about it.
Let’s just parent our kids, and if we see something that maybe we don’t think is right or we have an opinion about, I am sure there are other ways that we can let these parents know our thoughts without being offensive.
Nothing is Going to Change
Like I said before, these things have been around forever, but that doesn’t mean that I have to let them affect me and my family. I don’t need to raise kids that are completely oblivious of the world and what’s going on, but I do need to be a teacher.
As parents, we don’t need to let social media and the news teach our kids, we can do that ourselves. I may not know everything, but I learn as I go and I hope that as I can teach my kids about what is happening that I can learn along with them.
The other day my son heard someone say, “Speak of the devil!” Suddenly my son was asking, “Who’s the devil?” This could have been a time to say, “The man that drove through a crowd in Nice” or “The crazy man shooting up a club in Orlando,” but we kept it simple, “He’s a bad guy.”
Children absorb so much and I hope my kids don’t absorb all the awfulness in the world today. It’s a scary time to raise a family, but it’s not impossible. Together we can share good and bring each other up rather than tearing people down. Be an encourager and not a discourager because life discouraging enough we don’t need another person putting us down for something they don’t really know anything about.