Parenting: Why I won’t shame my son online

Yesterday my over-tired 4 year old spent most of the afternoon screaming and crying. He was in a foul mood and was really hard to be around. Together my husband and I spent the long hours until bedtime tagteaming him. Trying to gently entertain him, soothe him and keep him happy. He was hard work, and we felt every second of those six hellish tantrummy hours we endured before he went to bed.

But you know what. I didn’t bitch about him to a soul. I didn’t go on Twitter and call him a dick and do the old #freetoagoodhome hashtag. There was no *sad face* Facebook status update and I didn’t Instagram him mid-meltdown. I didn’t shame him online because I have so much respect for this little human being I carried around, birthed and have lovingly nurtured up to this point.

We all use social media to vent. I know this because I vent all over it. Sometimes it feels like it would help to post a little ranty status update about the little person who loves you unconditionally and relies on you for 100% of their care and attention. I get it. I couldn’t tell you if I’ve ever publicly been a bit nasty about my own child, I might’ve been, but it seems quite unlike me. I’m not in the shame business.

Parenting is bloody hard. Bloody hard. You’re knackered. All. The. Time. You lack the freedom you had pre-children, you can’t do what you want, when you want. Money is tight, there is rainbow covered crap all over your once tastefully decorated house and you have to take a personal interest in the bowel movements of another human. It is hard and it is gross. I get it.

I won’t shame my son online.

We’ve all seen those “reasons my son is crying” memes. The ones where it says “he’s crying because I wouldn’t let him lick fire” and stuff like that. There was a counter meme which struck a chord with me. My son is crying because he’s tried. He’s crying because he’s confused by what’s going on. My son is crying because he has no frame of reference for this new experience he’s having and is clearly terrified of. Yes. Nailed it.

My child is not being difficult just to piss me off, or stop me watching my favourite TV programme. He is crying and being difficult because for him life is all new, confusing, difficult, stressful, whatever. My son doesn’t need me losing my temper with him for this. He doesn’t need me to shame him online. He needs me to understand that having a tantrum, for most of the time at the very least, is evidence of the gap between his existing skills, experience and knowledge and what is happening to him right here, right now.

What he doesn’t need is to look back when he’s old enough, scroll through my tweets or Facebook posts and see for himself how hateful I was towards him. Parenting isn’t easy, I don’t think I ever gloss over it. When I started blogging it was in a way an online diary which we could look back on as a family, or when I’m gone, warty bits and all.

It goes back to the old saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Be real, be honest, be truthful, but don’t be a dick. After all, this child you’re bitching about now will be picking out your retirement home soon enough. Parenting is hard, but the actual child rearing bit is comparatively short and they’ll be off to uni before you know it. It’s hard, but temporary. So be nice.

Parenting: Why I won't shame my son online

I love that boys face, and I’ve grown to love all the rainbow coloured crap that moved in when he did.

You can read more of my posts about parenting here.

8 responses to “Parenting: Why I won’t shame my son online

  1. I love you Jane. You are the nicest, most sensible person I could ever hope to meet. I despise those sort of posts and I hope to goodness mine have been damned rare or non-existent. Sure kids are bloody hard work, but I wouldn’t appreciate someone sharing every mistake or faux pas I make all over the Internet, even worse if they’re saying how awful I am at the time xx

    • Thank you so much Jenny, you’re really too kind 🙂 now there’s an awful thought, someone following me around and blogging all the times I messed up, shouted, stamped my feet, cried for no reason, didn’t go to sleep straight away (ok so maybe I do that about myself sometimes, but that’s my choice). Children are a gift, you might want to look for the receipt sometimes, but you only have them and hold them for such a short amount of time. It’s not that hard to be nice xx

  2. well now what a refreshing post to read. i was beginning to think i was weird for not dwelling or oversharing about tough parenting days. i believe children are a complete blessing who should be celebrated, not laughed at. i’m so glad we are on the same page x

    • Aw thank you. You’re right, B is a joy and a blessing, he’s no angel, but he may well read the things I write later on and I don’t want him to think I was always moaning about him. In fact I rarely moan about him to anyone, and I suspect you’re the same with Z x

  3. The Uncheshire wife

    This is so true, respect your kids even when they drive you mad.

  4. I totally agree, I cringe every time I see one of those posts and I never bother to read them, I’ve seen put awful statuses up about their little ones, we all feel it sometimes but it passes, brilliant post Jane.

    • Thanks Angela, like you I’ve read some truly awful status updates, me might’ve all felt that way, but I’d never say something that nasty to his face, so I’d never tweet it to a few thousand strangers. Thanks for commenting 🙂

Hey! Hey! What've you got to say? I love your comments.....

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