Thoughts on Parenting for Show
If you haven’t read it already, this commentary on the public humiliation of children that has become so prevalent in the social media age of parenting is well worth reading and absorbing.
Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying. Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren’t as tough as we pretend we are. (Read the whole thing here.)
In addition to what is so eloquently said there, I think it’s important to examine why so many parents feel the need to “parent publicly”.
Is it to “prove ourselves”? To save face? To feel validated? To make a statement to others? None of these puts our real focus on showing up in our children’s lives (both for their struggles and their wins).
Interestingly, many parents I know will recoil at the public humiliation talked about above but don’t see the ways they themselves “parent publicly” in regards to the “good stuff”, not examining what drives their motivation to invite the whole world into their private lives and celebrations (anything from bragging to posting photos of a child’s personal life).
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all of it is inherently bad. Just that we need to question it in order to parent with intention and mindfulness (and our full presence).
My questions to myself for several years have been “Why am I sharing this? Does this honor my son? Does this hold sacred our own relationship? Or is this done for my own ego’s satisfaction?”
You might have noticed that I don’t share a lot about my parenting anymore. Because the challenges deserve to be honored privately, and the beautiful moments deserve to be treated with sacredness. Unless I have his permission to share, and I know my sharing is not being done from my own ego – which let’s face it, isn’t often – I simply don’t share it.
Because parenting is a RELATIONSHIP, not a show to put on for others.