My daughter came to me last night and asked to talk. We walked upstairs, shut my door, turned on a television for white noise, and sat on my bed. She was nervous. Uncomfortable.
The hair on the back of my neck started to tingle.
She asked me how to let a boy know she isn’t interested in him “like that.” After seeing social media posts he made, she decided she isn’t interested in him and doesn’t want to be associated—particularly as a girlfriend—with him.
I asked how she felt, what she was worried about, and what she felt the best thing to do or say was. I asked her the hard questions about social and peer pressure. I listened as she thoughtfully listed her reasons, irrationally argued with herself. I gave her a hug as she shed a few tears. Together, we formulated a plan that included waiting a few hours and revisiting this topic and making sure she was okay with her decisions.
On the outside, I was a supportive, rational parent. But on the inside, I WAS ELATED. My kid saw something she didn’t like on social media, decided for herself that it wasn’t okay, and acted on her decision. She didn’t blow off the posts she saw. My girl was appalled and saddened. She understands social media is there forever. Even though she’s still a child, she made a very grown-up, rational decision.
Every generation of parents faces new frontiers, new challenges. We got the amazing and horrible internet, social media, and smart-phone era. As we navigate the changing environment of living with the internet and instant access to information, let’s keep in mind the importance of teaching our kids the fundamentals of being a good and decent human. Teaching them to stand up for what they believe in, to have compassion, and treat others as they want to be treated.
Let’s teach them to be amazing humans and lead by example.