, ,


These children belong to me, but I do not own them.

This is a post I’ve been writing off and on for quite some time. Every time I see a parent post a video of her doped up kid after a dental appointment or a Facebook post attempting to shame a kid into good behavior, I cringe.  One of the primary responsibilities of a parent is to protect her children, not expose them. (Another primary responsibility is to correct them when needed, but unless it absolutely can’t be avoided, that should be in private.)

I understand why some people think of public shaming as discipline, even if I don’t agree with. A kid’s foolishness can have long lasting consequences. In our desire to keep them from hurting themselves, we hope a little shock therapy and public shaming will get through their thick skulls because we’ve talked ourselves blue and dammit why won’t you listen to reason. I get it. But what’s the cost of a (perhaps temporary) behavioral change when compared to the damage to the relationship and the broken trust and respect?

There’s also the idea that since kids shame and embarrass us in front of others, we should return the favor. Because you’re the adult, that’s why.

But even more worrying than the shame/discipline is the tendency to use the private and even intimate moments of kids as fodder for entertainment: for Facebook likes, retweets, and viral videos that can be monetized. That seems to me to be very clearly exploitative. My children belong to me, but I don’t own them. Likewise, I belong to them. We belong to each other, but we don’t own one another. I don’t own my spouse or my parents. I don’t own any human being. (Theological aside: As a Christian, I don’t own myself, either, a fact I find very comforting. “You are not your own, for you bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:10b-20a)

What I do have (part) ownership of is a relationship. The belonging is in the relationship, they are my sons and daughters, but they are their own persons — or God’s. But because of that special relationship, I have a unique insight into their lives and a window into their intimate moments. That position comes with a responsibility to be respectful. When I expose their intimate moments, I’m hurting that relationship as well as my child. I’m saying that their privacy and dignity isn’t as important as my momentary popularity with strangers. There’s another verse in Corinthians about “those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty.”  (1 Corinthians 12:23) The same principle applies to our relationships: the more vulnerable and intimate the moments shared, the more honor and respect we should have. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean upload it to YouTube.

Once a man has the here are the findings tadalafil online pharmacy basics of good site architecture and is familiar with fundamental SEO techniques. Surveys state that around 75% of males suffer from this problem throughout the world. 100mg tablets of viagra When nicotine travels through the blood stream it impairs the body to pharma-bi.com order viagra without prescription trap the blood flow to the penis. It ensures mental and viagra sans prescription physical health. So what do I think is okay? Where’s the line and what’s the rule? Honestly, I don’t have a hard, fast line. I tend to err on the side of caution, so you won’t read a bunch of kid moments here, and I use nicknames with them. (Yes, I do write about my family sometimes. So obviously my line isn’t “never.”) I think the key is that moments when our kids are vulnerable should be kept private. When they’ve done something profoundly stupid and when they are not mentally competent are pretty obvious times when it’s time to put down the camera and be a parent.

But I also cringe when parents post intimate moments. A couple of examples (that I’m not going to link to, Google if you must): The first is when a young man — maybe 11 or 12 — learns that his mom is pregnant. He’s reading a letter on camera, and is so overjoyed he begins crying. Another video shows a similarly aged boy bursting into tears — not of joy — when he finds out his new sibling is going to be yet another girl.

Both of these moments — one beautiful, one disappointing — are extremely private. Both of these young men are at particularly vulnerable times in their lives when cruel and foolish kids will use their tears as a weapon against them. But even if they are surrounded by wonderful, understanding, empathetic junior high students (BWAHAHAHA!), those moments are private. Those reactions are personal. They aren’t owned by the parent behind the camera any more than the kid is owned by him. What right have we to take that moment and blast it out for the world to see?

Does that mean I don’t think parents should never post anything about their kids? Obviously, no. But what about things like “Reasons my son is crying”?  Honestly, I don’t know. I think that’s probably mostly okay. And a lot of that depends on the kid. I have a child who that sort of attention would crush, and one who would get a kick out of it. I love when parents share moments like Ella singing Elvis and the girl with much wisdom. I think ultimately the line between voyeuristic exploitation and sharing from a heart of goodwill and respect is probably a lot clearer than we think — if we give it any thought at all.

What do you think? What’s off limits to post of another person — especially a kid?


3 responses to “Belonging”

  1. Jose Avatar

    I grapple with this too. How much of what I share is too much? I can’t imagine demeaning them though.
    We are raising them to love one another and to treat each other with respect. Me posting a pic of one of them falling off a skateboard is none of those things even if it isn’t a very serious injury!

    The thing is, it’s like a family argument. YOU can disagree with your sibling, but a stranger can’t use that same insult. They aren’t part of the family! So in that same vein, posting when someone is “down” is like letting the internet speak ill of a loved one. The internet just doesn’t have that right!

    1. April Avatar

      Yeah, for some reason things we would never say or do in a public space–say a park or a mall–we’re fine with doing on the internet. It’s like a baby playing peek-a-boo: She can’t see you so you can’t see her.

  2. […] Some of my other thoughts of a similar nature. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Clean Notebook is a captivating Full Site Editing (FSE) theme that beautifully captures the essence of simplicity and minimalism.

Main Pages
Useful Links

Copyright © Clean Notebook, 2023. All rights reserved.