Truth Behind Social Media And Parenting

Our society has never before been so digitally connected, with every picture of our most endearing moments uploaded.

Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, social media has taken modern culture by storm.

The frenzy has slipped inconspicuously into parenting as well, where every milestone is captured on a digital device and shared with the world.

It is phenomenal that we can watch through Facebook the habits of a mother and her child in India or England, while also simultaneously staying connected with our mother-in-law two towns over.

Having quick and convenient access to friends and family, wherever they are, is a nice perk that was once thought to be impossible.

However, has life viewed through the lens of our phones been truly beneficial? Does knowing every child’s milestone improve your life at all?

These are questions that are starting to be asked now that we have an entire generation being documented on social media from birth and onward.

As Mackenzie Dawson, writing for Parents, points out, “This is the first generation to be born into the like-happy world of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

As parents, we toil over so many things in our child’s life, are they safe walking to school, are they eating a healthy diet, are they learning at a good pace, and the list goes on.

This worrisome nature begins when our children are infants and seems to never stop, we just adapt our topics of stress.

Part of this comes into play because this generation of parents is so informed. Between internet access, regular wellness checks, blogs, and social media, we have a plethora of data to evaluate.

Evaluation can quickly turn to criticism, judgement, and worry if we are not careful. Comparing ourselves, and our children, to others is an easy trap to fall into.

Hello Bee shares how the cycle of comparison creeps into our parenting fears:

When they’re babies, we watch for who’s smiling first, who’s cooing and babbling, who’s rolling over and walking, and when. As they get older, comparisons turn to who’s saying more words and how they speak, to who’s potty trained at what age marker, who gives up their baby items faster, and then as they get closer to school, who knows their letters, who’s writing, who’s reading, and so on.”

Sometimes, seeing developmental milestones in other children can be encouraging. Looking at areas where you can increase your attention, or areas that you can ease up.

It’s not like you want to avoid having expectations for your child. After all, that is a way that we show how much we care as parents, by seeing our children’s potential.

Having those expectations based on competition with other children is detrimental for your child, and your relationship with them.

Instead your goals for your child should be based on their strengths, and innate interests. Helping them to find where they can excel in life with the most happiness.

One of the most compared areas of childhood development is language. Parent are quick to post about how their kids are geniuses when they strung a full sentence together at 1.

All the other anxiety-stricken parents who have a mumbling two- year-old are thinking that their kids may have a bleak future.

Every child develops at a different pace, that’s why there are averages when it comes to developmental milestones; its not an exact science.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says when it comes to speech development “There is a range of what is normal, and it can vary a lot.”

Browsing social media and blogs for parenting advice when needed, or to get support, makes the internet a great tool, but don’t let it induce fear.

Stressing over whether your child should have been done nursing by now, or if they should dress themselves is of no importance in the scheme of things.

I guarantee you that your child won’t be nursing or asking you to put on their pj’s when they are fifteen.

Susan Newman Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today reported:

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There needs to be a limit on parental anxieties so they don’t dominate and parents are able to give children the opportunities and freedoms to explore, be responsible and grow independent.”

Sharing your exciting moments with the people you care about on social media websites is great.

Just don’t let those special and intimate moments be decreased by the comparison of another mother’s post that chronicled the same achievement months before.

Each child is special and unique. We should all be celebrating in the innocence and joy that they bring to our lives, no matter in what time frame.

Hone in on your child’s strengths, efforts, interests, and amusements. Relic in the times they make you laugh, and know they have their own path they have to follow.

Please let us know in the comments section if you have had a realization of how you compare yourself to parents on social media.