Despite A Few Struggles, I Love Being A Young Mom

Becoming pregnant at 21 was not part of the timeline I had planned out for myself: go to college, establish a successful career, get married, then have kids. This timeline is a pretty basic structure that most people in the United States are expected to follow. However, in reality, people’s lives follow all sorts of different paths that deviate from the chronological norm that has been laid out for us. For me, having a baby came shortly after the first item on my timeline: college.

I found out I was pregnant on the day I flew home to New York City after visiting a friend in West Virginia. My period had always been somewhat erratic, so I wasn’t too surprised when it didn’t come like clockwork that month. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to know. I dashed over to the drugstore after dropping my luggage off at home. The morning sun streamed in through the bathroom window, and I was so impatient that I took the test without turning on the light. The plus sign showed up immediately, and I thought it must be some sort of visual trick. I turned on the light, and the plus sign remained. My friends and family reacted with shock, as I expected.

Jhon David/Unsplash

In some parts of the U.S., and it many parts of the world, becoming pregnant at 21 is a totally unremarkable occurrence. In New York, though, I was a statistical outlier, with the average age of a first-time mom being 31, according to the New York Times. All parents share many common experiences, regardless of age: we wipe up poop so much that it ceases to be gross, we lose sleep, our hearts melt when our child smiles at us for the first time. But young motherhood comes with its own unique set of benefits and challenges. Below are some of the best parts about being a young mom that I’ve experienced so far.

1. Getting to Grow Together

I am often asked if I miss having the carefree attitude of my childless friends or if I feel like I won’t get to form my own identity. Of course, I’m not carefree! I care so much about this little human. Instead of feeling like I’m missing out, I feel like I’m getting to experience the joy of being a mom that much sooner. I still have a lot to learn about myself and my aspirations, but for me, I am perfectly content with the fact that staying out late at bars won’t be how I “find myself.” I am so happy I get to learn about the world alongside my son.

Instead of feeling like I’m missing out, I feel like I’m getting to experience the joy of being a mom that much sooner.

2. Having More Energy

Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest hurdles people talk about when it comes to having a new baby. And while being young certainly doesn’t make you immune to that, based on what I’ve heard from other moms, it does give you a little boost. I found that even when my son was waking me up every two hours or less during his first few months, I was still surprisingly functional during the day (although I was still exhausted, of course).

3. Giving Him My Full Attention

I want to preface this with the fact that moms of any age can give their kids their whole heart! However, I have seen moms with successful careers being pulled in all different directions, pressured to work overtime, juggle their jobs and care for their brand new baby all while still recovering from childbirth. Even for moms who don’t work outside the home, it can be a very difficult identity shift because they already have an established lifestyle without kids that they’re accustomed to.

Asheesh/Reshot

I don’t feel pressure to combine the old me with the new me because entering adulthood and parenthood at almost the same time means my life is still highly flexible and adaptable.

While the good outweighs the bad a million times over, being a young mom also presents its own unique set of challenges, which I’ve listed out below.

1. Being Broke! 

The flip side of the third benefit above is that my family is still finding our footing financially. Living paycheck to paycheck is stressful, and less job experience means lower pay.

2. Meeting Other Moms

Meeting other moms has required a very conscious effort on my part. I don’t just happen to have other friends having babies, and before I got pregnant knew almost no one with a young child. After many months of actively seeking out mom friends, I have been able to find a really good network, but it wasn’t easy. A lot of the mommy-meetups and classes I attended in my son’s early weeks were full of parents I couldn’t relate to. One woman asked how old I was and when I told her, she replied, “Wow, you’re a baby with a baby!” Unsurprisingly, some of them were pretty judgmental.

Kyle Nieber/Unsplash

3. Feeling Isolated in my Postpartum Body

After my son’s birth, I felt really alone in my experience postpartum. My body was so foreign to me that it took months before I truly recognized myself in the mirror. Extra skin, engorged breasts, and a crotch that hurt to sit down on weren’t exactly struggles that my friends could relate to. Not all older moms have friends with kids, but the chances are higher that you have more people who can commiserate with you on the foreign state that is one’s postpartum body.

One thing I know for sure about motherhood is that nothing can prepare you for it: not your age, not babysitting experience, not even having younger siblings (I have two who are half my age).

Ultimately, I wouldn’t change the timing for the world. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my son giggle during peek-a-boo or watching his face light up when I read him a story at bedtime. My absolute favorite part about being a young mom is that I don’t have to wait for that feeling.

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What My Mother Always Knew About Me

Last night I was at a nearby park with my three children, when my parents stopped by to drop off a forgotten item and spend some time with the grandkids. As my dad watched me tending to one of my savages, he looked at my mom with a chuckle and jokingly said, “It’s just amazing, who would have ever thought Kristen would be a role model someday?” My mom’s face immediately fell as she looked at my dad, then instantly made eye contact with me and replied, “I always knew.”

Two important things to take into account while reading this story:

Number 1. My dad’s words were never meant as an insult or to purposefully hurt me (which they did not). He was merely back-handedly complimenting me by throwing a little shade — which is our typical form of communication as we are constant ball-busters with one another.

And Number 2. He was kinda right. I was a selfish asshole all through my teens and into my early twenties. I can guarantee if you asked anyone I went to school with they would not have pictured me as a stay-at-home-mom to 3 children by the time I was 28 (clearly depicted by me being voted “Class Partier” in our senior year).

Courtesy of Kristen Heelon

But my mom — well, my mom always knew the fabric that my soul was truly woven with. She believed in me steadfast and tenfold. And even all these years after finally starting to come into my own, she needed to make sure that I knew what she had known all along. She never wanted me to question or doubt, to wonder or second guess.

In early adolescence, my mom was always very intuitive of my feelings and needs. Growing up in the ’90s, I was the student in elementary school who had a permanent cot in the nurse’s office; always complaining of a stomach or headache — this was before the times of children being diagnosed and treated for anxiety. And without fail every single time my mom received that phone call from Mrs. Beverly (our school nurse — turned family friend) she would rush to the school to bring me home — no questions asked.

Courtesy of Kristen Heelon

She took the time to settle my nerves with a cozy blanket, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale with the bubbles stirred out — and my favorite Disney movie no matter what she had previously had going on. And still, to this day the memories of curling up on the couch listening to “The Circle of Life” with her soft feet pattering in the background have always been when I felt the most at home. Through elementary and into junior and high school, her support for me never faltered, even while my attitude worsened and my decision making skills plummeted to all time lows.

She stuck by me through every move I made. She patiently taught me how to drive a stick shift, held countless cold compresses to my head during my endless migraine episodes, held me tight after the death of my childhood friend, and wiped my tears as I stumbled through the uncertainty of teenage pregnancy.

Courtesy of Kristen Heelon

And now more than ever, as I navigate motherhood and finding my true self at this stage of life, her wisdom and knowledge are the small tokens I frequently seek after. Her advice resonates deep and is never taken for granted. Even when we disagree, I take her opinion more seriously than any other and mull it over, finding different sides to topics that I had previously never seen before, and more often than not I end up in agreement with what she has said, because I know that she is always looking out for my best interests above all else.

There’s something different about the love that comes from a mother, which doesn’t take away from a father’s love — they are just completely different entities. A mother’s love is a million little pieces of hope and memories, of desires and prayers, of wishes and dreams for her child. Whether that child be 3 or 30, those little pieces never go away. They just build upon each other — they form, they grow, and they tighten an already unbreakable bond until sometimes, all the mother can see in her child is herself.

My mom taught me my whole entire life how to be the mother I am today. By watching her selflessness and receiving all of her love every single day of my life, she molded me into the mother I have become, and yesterday at 30 years old she taught me another important lesson. She taught me to always make sure your children know that you believe in them –and that you always have. When they are failing school, sneaking out to parties, experimenting with drugs, or getting pregnant at 19, never stop believing in their potential — so someday that child can proudly say, “My mom always knew.”

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I Don’t Have FOMO — I Have JOMO, And This Is Why

I’d say I like going out as much as the next gal, but I’d be lying. The truth is, the older I get, the more I dislike social functions.

I think a lot of it has to do with all the hassles that go along with getting ready to go out, like transportation, organizing child care, and putting on real pants. Needless to say, as an introvert with the ability to pass for an extrovert (ambivert), I tend to confuse my social circle. Yes, I want to see the world, have interesting conversations, and even attend the occasional concert, but that doesn’t mean I’m always comfortable doing so.

The first hour of an event energizes and excites me, maybe a little longer if dancing is involved. But after that, I’d much rather be home. I feel drained and long for my bed.

While many of my peers are battling FOMO (fear of missing out)and experience anxiety about the next party coming and going without an invite, I’m like meh. If anything, I have JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) and celebrate the fact that lacking a personal Facebook page makes it easy for others to forget to invite me to stuff.

Along with JOMO, here are a few other things I’ve learned about myself as I embrace life as an ambivert.

Groups can have benefits.

I don’t like groups of five or more. But all groups aren’t created equal. I recently discovered that I can use them to my advantage. For instance, I enjoy staying in and having intimate groups of 2-3 at my house. It’s small enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed, but large enough to keep the conversation flowing. Of course, the real benefit to small groups is almost all of the pressure to talk is lifted. I can be as silent or as involved as I like. *Insert evil laughter*    

I’m not really missing anything.

The world is full of events and people. I hate that we act like every event is a once in a lifetime experience. It’s okay if you don’t attend the waterpark with Kourtney and the crew. It’s summertime! You can bet your bottom dollar there will be at least ten more events in the next few weeks.

I’ve taken this knowledge and used it to ignore comments like, “You never go anywhere!” Nah, I go a ton of places, I just don’t need to go everywhere. Have you ever gone somewhere with someone who didn’t really want to go? All the nagging, foot-dragging, and complaining? That’s me. And no amount of peer pressure will make it not suck for all involved.

Good friends understand.

I occasionally suffer from social anxiety. It isn’t consistent and certain situations are more likely to provoke those feelings than others. My friends know this about me and they understand. I pride myself on hanging out with a band of misfits and we all have our own stuff going on. They understand that it’s nothing for me to give a speaking presentation in the day but then I’ve used all my social energy for the week.

Don’t let peer pressure cause to head into social situations that will make you uncomfortable. The people who care for you will get it.

I’ve noticed that being more selective about how I spend my time has made the occasions I do spend with others more sacred. My friends and I seldom connect without leaving with a feeling of being mutually inspired, and I value that. Having meaningful interactions is about quality, not quantity.

There’s nothing wrong with skipping social events and preferring small intimate groups. It’s okay if you have JOMO. In fact, your life might be better for it.

The post I Don’t Have FOMO — I Have JOMO, And This Is Why appeared first on Scary Mommy.

I’m In The Sweet Spot Of Parenting, And I Don’t Want It To End

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a writing colleague and we got to talking about our children. I mentioned something about my kids cleaning their own bathroom, and that I loved how independent they’ve gotten even though in a lot of ways they still feel little to me. “Ah, yeah,” she said knowingly. “You’re in the sweet spot.”

The sweet spot, she told me, is the enchanted period of a child’s growing up when they are past needing you to wipe their asses and tie their shoes and pack their lunches, but haven’t yet become so independent that they’ve decided they don’t need you at all. Sandwiched between diaper bags and poopy blowouts and unfathomable exhaustion on one side and attitude and sneaking around and pulling away on the other, the sweet spot is the golden age of parenthood.

My sister gave birth to her third child a couple of years ago after an extended gap. There are nine years between her second and third kid. That little boy is the most precious angel to ever grace the surface of the earth, but he’s still a baby, and babies are a shit ton of work. My sister had to regress her lifestyle back to scheduling her days around naps, always having extra diapers and a snack everywhere she goes, and planning vacation sleeping arrangements around a baby who goes to bed four hours earlier than the rest of the family. And someone always has to wake up early, because babies wake up freaking early.

I have friends on the other side of the sweet spot too, friends whose kids are firmly entrenched in their teenage years. My blood pressure rises when they relay their stories of explicit social media exchanges, drugs and alcohol and sneaking around, anxiety over grades and getting into college. I still have total control over what my kids see on the Internet, whether their homework gets done, who they talk too, where they go and for how long and what time they come home… How am I going to relinquish this control?

Seriously, I’m asking. How do you do it?? I think the teen years might actually kill me.

My kids are right in the beautiful, comparatively calm middle of these two extremes. They are capable of impressive levels of critical thinking, and yet still assume I know way more than they do. Just today my son and I had a conversation about terminal velocity. He had no idea he went over my head with his talk of how atmosphere and gravity limits the maximum speed of a falling object. He still thinks I know everything, and far be it for me to correct him just yet.

My 8-year-old daughter is independent, preparing her own breakfast, cleaning her own room, riding her bike by herself to the neighbor’s house down the street. But she still needs me to do a few small things, like brush her hair in the morning before school or read that special picture book just because. When she cries, I am still the first person she runs to. I love that she still needs me like this. She is still my baby, but minus the work of an actual baby.

It’s the same with my 12-year-old. He’s gotten to where he can cook with a fair amount of confidence (and without catching the house on fire), and when he does chores, it’s a genuine help. He cleans the bathroom as thoroughly as I do and even mows the lawn. And yet he still often climbs into my lap for a snuggle. He still likes me to lie beside him at bedtime while he reads his book. He’s not a baby anymore, but he still likes hanging out with me.

Here in the sweet spot, we get to stay out late but can still keep tabs on our kids. I no longer dread the nuclear meltdown that will happen at 8:01 because my baby is not in bed at exactly the appointed time. This past New Year’s Eve we stayed at a friends’ party until 3:00 a.m. My daughter crashed on the couch with a few other kids around 1:00, and my son stayed up partying with the other big kids until 3:00.

And yet my kids aren’t old enough to go out by themselves and get into trouble. I cannot imagine the fear and frustration of waiting up for a kid who is breaking curfew. What if they’re not responding to texts? What if they’re hurt? Or worse? How do parents get through this stage??

I’m going to cherish every moment of this sweet spot. The teenage years are fast approaching, and based on the stories my friends tell, I’ve got a serious roller coaster ride ahead of me. For now though, I’ll put on my blinders and enjoy what time I have left with these sweet babies who, thank goodness, aren’t actual babies.

The post I’m In The Sweet Spot Of Parenting, And I Don’t Want It To End appeared first on Scary Mommy.

7 Things Parents Worry About When Having Another Baby

As a mom of one, I think about what it’ll be like the day our family expands. Along with those thoughts, come plenty of positives, like my son will have a sibling and hopefully his first friend. But, it isn’t all heart emojis and rainbows. Sometimes those thoughts are fears about whether or not my family is capable of adjusting to the demands of having two children.

I began asking those around me how they felt when their family was considering expanding. I was comforted knowing that my fears were not only shared by other parents, but also very normal. Mothers and fathers everywhere wonder what it’s going to be like becoming a parent of more than one and a lot of times those wonders can be scary.

Here are a few of the most common thoughts and fears attached to adding to the family:

1. Do I have enough love?

I love the hell out of my son. But I’m not a naturally affectionate person. When my son was born, I was worried I wouldn’t ever connect with him emotionally. Now that my life literally revolves around him, I can’t imagine having room to love another.

I’ve been told that love multiplies instead of divides with each child but that doesn’t stop me from being nervous.

2. Can I manage it?

Being a mom of one is already exhausting. That can make it challenging to image life with two or more.

“Two biggest fears about having another, honestly, were safety and whether or not we were gonna screw up the second one because the first had such problems. My oldest son’s issues are so extreme and so were his behaviors that I was worried if we could keep everyone, including a new baby, safe. And then add the worry that his issues were so big and overwhelming that we feared we wouldn’t be able to meet the needs of our second,” says Noelle, mom of two.

3. Does this mean the end of my dreams?

When Alex found out her second pregnancy resulted in twins, there was a lot to consider. She went from being the mother of a seven-year-old who was mostly self-sufficient to caring for two newborns. Naturally, she wondered what ways such a huge change to her family would impact her education and career goals.

“What would happen to my education and career because both are on pause at the moment,” she said. “How would I be able to go to school and manage multiples? I’m still trying to figure out the formula to this day.”

4. Can we afford it?

Money is probably the number one concern parents report at the possibility of starting a family. Does that concern stay around or intensify with each child? I have no idea. But it sure wouldn’t surprise me. Money isn’t the only thing parents wonder if they have enough of. The smallest thought of a new baby makes me wonder how I could budget my time well enough for two children.

“My biggest concern was: would we be able to afford it/manage it? Especially because we had already decided that I wouldn’t work for the first year,” said Alex.

5. Will my first child miss out?

Stacy found out she was pregnant with her second child before her son was a year old. Like many parents of kids very close in age, it can be challenging to figure out the best way to deal with two toddlers. You might find yourself wondering if you did your first child a disservice by having another child so soon.

“I was pretty worried about whether or not I was not giving my eldest the attention he needed,” said the mom of two. “Truthfully, even now there are times I still feel like he missed out on getting to be babied since I had to focus on my daughter as a newborn. It didn’t make it any easier that my husband was deployed and wouldn’t return until our daughter was two months old. I really didn’t know if I could handle two babies alone for that long.”

6. Will they get along? 

It’s also really common for a new baby to make you question compatibility. With so much discussion around sibling rivalry, it’s not surprising that many folks wonder if the children will get along.

Sure, nine times out of ten, my son is not the one picking fights on the playground. But being around older kids, he says the phrase “mine” from time to time. Would those behaviors come out in his relationship with a sibling? I don’t know.

7. What will everyone else think?

There is a ton of scrutiny around women’s reproductive choices. It’s also normal to wonder if your community will judge you for getting pregnant again — particularly if you are a young parent or were pregnant not that long ago. But ultimately, it’s not about them, it’s about you and your family.

A new baby brings new dynamics no matter how many children you’ve had. And when you find yourself up at night worrying about adding another child to the chaos that is parenting, just remind yourself that things may not be easy, but they will usually work themselves out in the end.

Science Says: Your Pregnancy Can Predict the Future

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we obviously all have economics on the brain…

Wait, that isn’t what you think of when you hear the word “mom”? Weird.

Because it looks like motherhood is one of the best indicators of a healthy or lagging economy—here’s why.

When people are largely happy, they get a little frisky. And life decisions like making babies and taking stock market risks are among they ways that energy gets used. So, we generally see a swell in conception at the same time we see the stock market inflate…which is great, but as the past has shown us, can also mean the opposite.

The last three major economic downturns in the U.S. were closely preceded by fewer pregnancies. You would think that people would put off conceiving once a market lull began, but it’s actually the lack of conception (among a few other factors, obviously) that predicts the recession.

Lesson learned: Mother’s Day is a day for getting busy and becoming more economically productive. Two birds with one stone, just how us moms like it.

 

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The post Science Says: Your Pregnancy Can Predict the Future appeared first on TodaysMama.

Science Says: Your Pregnancy Can Predict the Future

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we obviously all have economics on the brain…

Wait, that isn’t what you think of when you hear the word “mom”? Weird.

Because it looks like motherhood is one of the best indicators of a healthy or lagging economy—here’s why.

When people are largely happy, they get a little frisky. And life decisions like making babies and taking stock market risks are among they ways that energy gets used. So, we generally see a swell in conception at the same time we see the stock market inflate…which is great, but as the past has shown us, can also mean the opposite.

The last three major economic downturns in the U.S. were closely preceded by fewer pregnancies. You would think that people would put off conceiving once a market lull began, but it’s actually the lack of conception (among a few other factors, obviously) that predicts the recession.

Lesson learned: Mother’s Day is a day for getting busy and becoming more economically productive. Two birds with one stone, just how us moms like it.

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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The post Science Says: Your Pregnancy Can Predict the Future appeared first on TodaysMama.

Science Says: Your Pregnancy Can Predict the Future

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we obviously all have economics on the brain…

Wait, that isn’t what you think of when you hear the word “mom”? Weird.

Because it looks like motherhood is one of the best indicators of a healthy or lagging economy—here’s why.

When people are largely happy, they get a little frisky. And life decisions like making babies and taking stock market risks are among they ways that energy gets used. So, we generally see a swell in conception at the same time we see the stock market inflate…which is great, but as the past has shown us, can also mean the opposite.

The last three major economic downturns in the U.S. were closely preceded by fewer pregnancies. You would think that people would put off conceiving once a market lull began, but it’s actually the lack of conception (among a few other factors, obviously) that predicts the recession.

Lesson learned: Mother’s Day is a day for getting busy and becoming more economically productive. Two birds with one stone, just how us moms like it.

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

The Most Accurate Labor Simulation Video I’ve Ever Seen

What Home Birth Really Looks Like {30+ Incredible Pictures!}

10 Awkward & Hilarious Birth Selfies

The post Science Says: Your Pregnancy Can Predict the Future appeared first on TodaysMama.

6 Things Every Mom Needs to Remember

My oldest child is heading to college this fall. That translates in mom talk to, “Friends beware. Spontaneous ugly cries may occur.” It also means I’ve gotten a little bit (okay… a lot bit) sentimental. While meandering down memory lane, I remembered two friends of mine. They were both older – one a grandmother with gray hair and dimples. The other an energetic empty nester. Every visit these ladies slipped in some piece of mothering advice before they left. Their perspective changed my perspective of how to raise my kids and I’m so grateful for it. Guess it’s time to pass that good advice on.

Things to Remember…

 

1. Don’t Stress About Keeping a Clean House.

It’s a phase. You’re not a slob. One day those sticky handprints on the glass are going to make you smile.

happy messy kids

2. Happiness is Not About Stuff.

Name brand clothes, yearly vacations, and presents overflowing under the Christmas tree aren’t necessary. Kids can be happy with a lot less than we think. Never go in debt for a kid’s want. Wanting is a motivating and healthy thing for every child.

 

3. Date Your Spouse.

Find a babysitter you trust and get out of the house! Weekly if you can. One day the kids will be gone and you need to still like your spouse! Dates can be as simple as going on a walk. Strengthening your marriage will strengthen your whole family.

 

4. Date Your Kids.

Your kids need time with you too. Not time with you and the baby. Not time with you and their little sister. Just you. Go grab a one-dollar ice cream cone together. That’s enough! Find ten minutes regularly that’s all for them. Doing this with my kids when they were young made them more willing to talk to me about the tough stuff when they were teens.

kids helping make dinner

 

5. Teach Them How to Help Themselves.

Chores teach hard work. Saving money teaches discipline. Talking face to face with unkind friends teaches bravery. Asking a teacher for help teaches self-reliance. Don’t save your kids when things get hard. Walk beside them and teach them how to save themselves.

 

6. Praise, Hug, Repeat.

Let the little things go. Praise the good more than you correct the bad. I know I would feel awful if someone only pointed out my mistakes while I was learning something new. Our kids are still learning how to be kind human beings. Be gentle, fun teachers. They’re going to turn out great.

love your children

 

 

About the Author

Hey! I’m Jenner –  a mother of four. A Texan. An author. And the wife of a beautifully bald elementary school teacher. I’m a wee bit obsessed with Christmas music and love writing. My writing has appeared in Jack and Jill, Friend, Ensign and Highlights magazines. You can also find it on storybird.com.  Catch me on my blog or follow me on Twitter here: @slushpilestory

 

 

 

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To Spy or Not to Spy: When to Give Kids Privacy

Privacy: what kids want and what parents struggle to give. Tweens and teens especially crave independence and privacy from their parents. If they think their parents are spying on them, they will figure out how to be sneakier and do more stuff behind their parents’ backs. Also, parents who give kids more autonomy and privacy are victimized online less frequently than kids whose parents are more controlling and invasive. So we definitely want to give kids privacy!

But the world is a scary place – what if something bad happens and you aren’t even aware it’s happening? How do you protect them while also giving them the independence and privacy that they deserve and need to become responsible, thriving adults?

How much privacy you give depends on your child’s age and level of responsibility. Start out young, like when they are preteens, with less privacy.

kids privacy rules

So for instance, your 10 year old wants an Instagram account. This is a great opportunity to start getting your child used to what is okay for social media. Let your child know that you will be monitoring her activity and after a weekend of having Instagram, the two of you will review what’s been going on and then create a social media contract. This will give you the chance to see what she does with Instagram and how it could possibly be dangerous or inappropriate – like having a public account and random people liking her photos.

Once you’ve set up those guidelines, continue to monitor her account with your own account. Check out her photos, who is liking them, and what comments people are making. Whenever something weird happens, like maybe there is a comment that you think could be mean, ask her about it.

Then keep the conversation going. Ask her about things you see on Instagram – fun videos she has posted, how to create an Instagram story, has she heard about a recent news story on cyberbullying and why might someone cyberbully someone else? Getting these conversations started early, when you are still monitoring her activity, and she is open to talking with you about these things will make it easier to continue these conversations as she gets older.

Often during these conversations, our own preconceived judgments come out. Maybe you think your child said something mean to someone else. But sometimes, that’s just an adjustment in communication that happens across generations. So instead of accusing her of saying something mean, start the conversation by approaching it from a truly curious perspective. That will help your child feel comfortable talking with you and won’t put her on the defensive every time you talk about social media.

teens privacy guidelines privacy rules

The more your child proves that she is responsible, the less you check in on her – the more privacy you give her. Maybe she can have a SnapChat account. There are still rules that you came up with before in your contract that you continue to develop, but you also give her space to be independent and stop checking to ensure she’s following the rules because she’s already proven how trustworthy she is.

Giving your kids privacy doesn’t mean that you’re not paying attention to their online or in real life lives. You keep that conversation going that you started when they were younger. You ask them about new apps and how they work. You can ask them about their friends. You can ask them about their Instagram account. You can ask about something you heard happening at school and what do they think? Do they ever have trouble with social media? Again, by being truly curious and open to learning from your child, they will feel more comfortable coming to you and telling you what’s going on. Then, when something uncomfortable, risky, or hurtful happens, they will know it is safe to come to you for help. And that is how we keep them safe.

 

About Fireborn Institute

Fireborn Institute is a non-profit that provides parents with practical and easy-to-remember strategies to help their children in school. Through our lectures, podcasts & handouts, we coach parents on topics such as helping with homework or conquering a messy backpack. Our ultimate goal is to help parents help their kids thrive at school.

About Katherine Firestone

Katherine had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD till her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute to give parents ideas on how to help because success at school is enhanced at home. 

She is also the host of The Happy Student, a podcast for parents on promoting happy academic and social lives.  The show provides practical strategies on a variety of topics based on Fireborn’s 4 pillars

 

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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