We ‘Mommed Up’ Facebook and Spoiled the Fun

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By now most have heard the news that teens have abandoned their Facebook pages quicker than they flee when someone yells, “Their parents are home!” at a backyard party.

But where have they gone?  Did they suddenly pick up bat and ball, take to the great outdoors, or have a renewed interest in their academic studies?

No, of course not.   Don’t be ridiculous.  They’ve simply moved to other social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.

Now before you get too worried about the size of Mark Zuckerberg’s retirement account, fear not – teens haven’t deleted their Facebook accounts.  Instead, according to experts, teens now treat their Facebook page as a chore, something you do every week or two like clean your room, make your bed, or finish your chemistry homework.

One wonders what motivated teens to migrate, and why now when Facebook stock is finally rising and the company is so close to its goal of worldwide domination.

Analysts believe that teens left because of MUMPS like me: Massively Uncool, Middle-aged Parents.  It seems we took to Facebook like preschoolers take to Pixie sticks, cyclists take to HGH, or sorority girls take to bourbon.  We “Mommed” it all up, and ruined it for everyone.

Image 2We posted mundane pictures of our kids sleeping, we tagged shots of them as naked babies on Throwback Thursday, and we bragged about their drama awards, school dance dates, and soccer trophies with the most distant members of our families.  What’s worse, we even made Grandma join.

But why did we do it?  Is it because we, as parents, just naturally suck?

No!  It’s because the experts told us to.  They said we needed to stay connected and monitor our teens on social media.  These experts scared us into thinking that if we didn’t t keep track of our child’s every move then we’d lose them to creepy forty-five year-old “Catfishers” who would lure them to the nearest Greyhound bus station, or our kids would post pictures of themselves in revealing bathing suits, or even worse – announce to the world that our family has gone away to Maui on vacation.

Our motivations were pure.  We were protecting our kids.  But then, something happened:  we got hooked.  We became Facebook addicts ourselves, and we ruined it, just like we parents ruin everything by getting over-involved.

Of this, I’m guiltier than most.

My daughter showed an interest in fashion so what did I do?  I signed her up for sewing, fashion sketching, and fashion design.  I even enrolled her in this over-the-top college course where they did a professional runway show, complete with petulant, coffee-spilling, barfing models.  Then, you guessed it; she lost all interest in fashion.

I did the same thing with ballet, art, and softball.  It’s a very predictable cycle: she shows a little interest, I become over-involved, and then voila, her interest wanes.

Image 1I’m not alone.  We are a generation of parents who helicopter, interfere, and micromanage.  At my daughter’s high school, the membership of the choral parent support group practically outnumber the chorus, there are more athletic boosters than qualified athletes, and the number of volunteers at the elementary school Jogathan often exceeds the runners.

It was so different when we grew up.  Other than Open House night, my parents never set foot on my school’s campus.  My husband’s parents only rarely attended his baseball games, and when I went out with my friends for the evening – now brace yourselves – my parents had no idea where I had gone.

Even though we Americans pride ourselves on our ingenuity and independent spirit, our generation seems hell bent on creating a generation of overly dependent, submissive drones.

Well I, for one, am going to do my best to stop.  I’m going to step back and let my kids do their own thing for a change.  I’m gonna try to let their interests grow on their own, or fizzle as they may.  I’ll remove the tracking device from their necks, drop the Smart Limits from their cell phones, and I’ll stop showing up at every single event at their schools.

And who knows, I might even log on to Facebook and “Un-Friend” them as well.

**Follow Kristen Hansen Brakeman on her new Instagram account by clicking here!

12 Comments

Filed under blogs, kids, mothering, parenting, Uncategorized, websites

12 responses to “We ‘Mommed Up’ Facebook and Spoiled the Fun

  1. I blogged about my parent’s involvement in my college process (see link below). In a nutshell, it was zilch. And college is more important than elementary school walkathons although you’d never know it today! Great post.

    http://runningawayfrom49.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/another-great-thing-about-the-1980s/

  2. hahah that was funny…yeah I also spend more time on twitter than on facebook…I guess everybody now knows why

  3. Funny! As a MUMP I can attest to the fact that my kid has moved away from Facebook because of me–and my mother-in-law.

  4. dishofdailylife

    My kids barely use Facebook, and my daughter actually gave me what you said as the reason they were all getting off. However, I never even looked at her statuses or either of my other kids. I only post sports pictures once in a while and I don’t post every honor roll or award they get. (I’d get reamed out by the kids if I did.) The kids find that annoying and embarrassing, but parents continue to do it. My daughter begged me not to get on Instagram and I am, but it’s not for her, it’s for my blog. And again, I don’t follow her. Yes, I get the whole we have to check up on our kids, but I also trust mine. Will they make a mistake here and there? Yes. I can count on their aunt to tell me (since she’s allowed to follow them). But I don’t want to watch their every move.

    • I agree – the award boasting is too much. Though I’ll admit to posting some post drama show pics and yes, softball pics too. I never tag the kids though. I’ve seen some parents post pics of their teens and tagging them too – mine would kill me!

  5. Very true. Very well written. But I hope my kids don’t read this. I like staying ‘in touch.’

  6. Tim

    Having parents myself I can relate from the other side of the coin. Although I didn’t like it very much in the beginning of having my mum on Facebook I soon didn’t bother anymore. Although I’m a bit older than the kids you’re writing about the thing stays the same.
    Because I always tell my parents everything and my friends are always welcome I see my parents more as some of my best friends than my parents. Now that I’m working literally half a world I’m glad I have my mum (and yes granny too) on FB, so they will be able to see some of my pictures and stories.
    Thanks for sharing your post though, I had a good laugh :)

  7. Facebook is very nearly sort of literally the worst thing ever. And that final tag line is hilarious!

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