Words of Caution

I’m a mom of an autistic boy. I don’t blog about him much, because his story is his to tell and mine is mine to tell. I sometimes blog about my family of origin. They are adults. They can largely defend themselves. They can refute what I say or disagree. They do not need my permission and supervision to use the internet. They do not rely on me for food or shelter. And, with the exception of my grandmother, I don’t use anyone’s real name.

When we blog about our children there are a few things we need to remember. First is that the internet is a forever kind of deal. Once you have published a photo or story of your child on the internet, it’s there. If you linked that story or picture with their name, that association exists and can be found someday by a prospective employer or romantic partner or landlord or enemy. It’s out there.

Some day your child(ren) may very well read your blog, especially if substantial portions of it are about them. The words you use about your children are words they might read. Bear that in mind.

Remember that childhood is transformative and none of us come out of our teen years or childhood years quite the same as we entered them. Try not to make dire predictions in your darkest moments. If you must, use a personal offline journal to get your feelings out and reflect on them before or instead of blogging.

When your child is exasperating you, take a moment to remember something amazing about them and post that story online. It will calm you down and help you focus on your child’s strengths and positive qualities, which in turn may help you communicate and problem solve with your child to address the cause of the exasperation.

How we talk about our children doesn’t only shape how the world views them; it shapes how our children see themselves. It’s important for them to overhear us bragging about them to our friends and peers. It lifts them up when we speak about their milestones and achievements, even when they may not seem like milestones to another child or another family. When our children know we think highly of them, they have more confidence to face challenges, resist peer temptation, and maintain healthy personal boundaries.

So blog about your children, but take care. Think about which words you want to commit to posterity and publish for the world, and which ones you will keep in a private journal of your own. Remember the power of search engines, and the potential long-term implications of what you say. Respect your children as individuals with their own side of each story to tell.