Emotions are such a wonderful thing. After all, we get to feel an array of emotions on a daily basis. From the time we wake up, Mabe we are happy to see another day, maybe we are not wanting to get out of bed, maybe we feel utter joy at what the day will bring or fear and dread of what lies ahead. Emotions can make us great, or they can get the best of us and make us feel like shit.
Now, mix emotions with teenage hormones and angst. You have my household. It’s not just Emma, it’s my 13-year-old too. She is coming into hormones, in middle school, trying to find out who she is on a daily basis. Then mix in an almost 20-year-old who is going to college, working at a Dermatology office and planning her wedding for 2020, and you have my household. It is a roller coaster of emotions daily. Since my divorce, all of these emotions have been heightened. Most of the time my girls struggle with where to put all of these emotions. In one day, from Emma alone, I have had crying, anger, laughing, happiness, extreme sadness, yelling, and more happiness. At this point, I don’t know some days if I am coming or going, so I can’t imagine what my teenagers are going through.
Prior to our viral video, my house was the same as it is now. There was always something going on, the only thing that changed is that my outburst towards finding a man in my daughters closet was put out for the world to see. Something that I wanted to do was get my daughter, and her friends, (who had told me they would not make bad decisions or encourage her to make bad decisions again to my face) and the person I found in her closets attention. A video that was sent to 50 people is now making its second lap around the world. There are memes, lock screens, songs with my face to them, and who knows what else. The only attention it got was that of the people who either thought my parenting was great or who wanted to criticize me about everything. It also taught me that in a moments time your life can change on a dime all because of social media. In my home, a great lesson was learned. Emotions with 3 teenage girls at the same time, can be tricky, but teaching them something that I have preached their entire phone loving lives is that anything you put on social media can and will be used against you, so make sure you are mindful of that.
They had to learn the lesson from their mama the hard way. Their mama also had had to learn the lesson that she wasn’t practicing what she preached in that fit of anger that day, and I owed them an apology. Since their phones were given to them, even with the two who have moved out, I have had to preach about the safety of social media. They don’t like what they hear, but it’s true. Send a nude and it ends up in the wrong hands, and your whole school has seen you nude. Send a dick pic and it ends up in the hands of an underage girl whose parents don’t take that lightly, and you have a felony. It’s really simple, yet day in and day out on their “finstas” (fake instagrams) I see things that I wish I could unsee. That is our teenage society today.
This brings me back to emotions. I can not tell you how many times I have read on my children’s friends “finsta” captions that are cries for help talking about how they want to end their lives. Their have even been times when I have read my own child’s “finsta” caption and said what are you implying here? Are you implying that without this boy you don’t want to live? I wonder if parents truly know what their children are saying on sites like these? In three posts you can tell a lot about a person. One will be a teenage girl, scantily clad in her bathroom mirror taking a selfie. The second picture will show her a little more sad, maybe because she didn’t get enough likes on the first picture, who knows? And by the third picture, she is telling everyone goodbye and that this will be her last post. This is the sad reality of social media in teenagers lives. It’s become an online diary of their deepest, darkest thoughts, and there is very little regard to what it can do to their self-esteem, to their self-confidence, and to their self-worth.
As parents, we all shudder when we talk about parenting teenagers. It is one of the hardest times in all of our lives, it’s true. However, parenting teenagers in today’s social media society offer a new set of challenges and a new set of emotions. It is our duty not to breach their privacy necessarily, but to check up on their social media sites to know what is going on with our children. Emma’s counselor has told her that she has to grant her mother access to all social media accounts. This is for her safety. I don’t need her password, but I do need to follow her “finsta” to ensure that what she is saying is safe.
Even still, in the case of the man in her closet. They both created a “finsta” together where they could talk and I wouldn’t know, enter the “burner” phone. This is why people like this person are harmful to our children, because about the time you make progress from one thing, someone enters their life, and you start over at square one again. No, we can’t protect them from it all, and no we can’t smother them, but we can do our dead level best to teach them right from wrong and teach them to keep their emotions in check. On those days, that we fail, because we didn’t practice what we preached, it’s important to remember too to be kinder to ourselves, and that it was okay for our children see us fail. We are after all human, and failure is a part of growth. I still try to forgive myself daily, and be kinder to myself because if not my emotions would get the best of me.