Parenting is: Clearly defining inside and outside
Do your kids know the difference between inside and outside?
Does that sound like a trick question?
Everyone knows this difference don’t they?
We started Parenting Power back in 2002. It was a world without smart phones, iPads, and other devices. Facebook was founded in 2004. Yes, we had internet, computers and TV. As a culture, we really hadn’t become as exposed to people’s outsides: their pretty pictures and fancy events. The closest parents came to posting about their kids’ marks were the “My kid’s an A student” bumper stickers. If we wanted to see how friends spent their vacations, we went over to their homes and looked at photo albums.
Here in 2015, there is so much time spent watching people’s outsides: snapchats, instagrams, tweets, posts, etc.
Outsides are fine as long as we don’t get them confused with insides. That’s when things get tricky.
Last week we read Dallas Brown’s suggestion:Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.
The self that we present, especially on social media, is not the real deal. Although sometimes it can feel like everyone else in the world is getting promotions, taking fabulous trips, and meeting the Dalai Lama—all with perfect hair—it’s simply not the case.
Our social media selves are a highly curated version of reality, and oftentimes, it’s only the beautiful, shiny parts that get shared. Everyone has their share of challenges, letdowns, and sadness. Everyone. No one escapes living in this world without getting his or her knees scraped up a bit. The next time you compare yourself to the perfect depictions of life portrayed on social media, take a deep breath and remember that things are not always as they seem.
This message reminded us to be conscious of the differences between the outside views that people show the world and the inside selves that are more personal; they are the insides of each of us and also the insides of our homes and families.
Be aware of the actions and the behaviours being taught to children when parents post/share intimate family ‘inside’ details and pictures of their kids with the ‘outside’ world. Does your behaviour correspond with your values? Do your kids want these images and details “out there?” Are the contents of the posts really true?
We also need to be cognizant of bringing the outside into our private homes. In her book, Alone Together, MIT Professor, Sherry Turkle, shares many stories of kids feeling upstaged by their parents’ devices. One boy said,
“I hate it when my dad pretends to sit and watch a movie with me while he is really texting with someone else.”
If we want our kids to feel heard and to know the difference between private, personal information versus public content that is appropriate and safe to share, we need to be sure that WE are clear on the differences between outsides and insides and confident in how our own family (adults and children) draws those boundaries.
Click here and listen to Sherry Turkle talk with Anna Maria Tremonte on a recent episode of CBC’s The Currrent. Smart phones hurt our face-to-face relationships.