Monday, January 31, 2011

We didn't teach these values!

Yesterday on FB my teen posted one of those 'all about me' questionnaires. He did put a big disclaimer at the top warning us about the language and such. Yes...he talked/cursed like a teen, but that is is to be expected so I just overlooked it. What I did not overlook was some of the racist opinions he expressed. It does seem like they might have been done jokingly (he built himself up as superior), I didn't take them as so. I had a discussion with him about how I was disappointed because we did not raise him to be hateful to certain groups of people like that. He got defensive immediately about me not allowing him to have an opinion. I told him that having an opinion is fine but spewing hatred like that is not OK. He needs to keep his opinions to himself. After the tense discussion he went and hid his FB wall from us. I reminded him that we require him to be an open book with us on FB and that we need to see what he is posting. He has posted some crap on there that could get him in trouble before and I had him remove immediately. At that time he said it was all a joke and that his friends thought it was funny, but when I asked how he'd feel if the same thing was said about his sister...he got the point and removed it.

This all really got me thinking. Where did my son come up with these opinions if we didn't teach them to him? Are these really his opinions or is he just trying to get a rise out of people? Is it OK for me to ask him to remove things he posts? I have very little tolerance for hatred (I know that is like me hating hatred...) and I will not stand by and let it be OK. Sure, my son is still a minor but when he turns 18 soon is it going to be OK? Is he going to land himself in hot water over some tough guy talk online? While I cannot stop my son from saying things, I hope that he listens to my concerns and thinks before he speaks/posts. Maybe I am too concerned with what my kids are up to, but I feel it's my job to guide and protect them. I hope to keep the avenues of communication open and to be there when they need me. I'm going to stand tough and stand up against hatred and bullying!!

Diana is a crafty creative Midwestern work from home mama of 3. She enjoys playing with PhotoShop Elements, sewing & crafting, creating fun for family & friends, camping, and reading. She is the owner & operator of Custom Blog Designs.

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  1. I am so sorry to hear that he posted those things! I am sorry I do not have any advice since my oldest is only 11. But while I understand that is his opinion, I am sure I would be disappointed as well. I also would be irritated to see he had been cussing as well. I get really irritated when I hear teenagers cussing...actually anyone for that matter.

    This is a tough situation & had I been it, I am sure I would be clueless as well. I absolutely want my kids to form their own opinions & share them. But in this case, it is definitely a fine line to be walking.

    Praying you are able to find a solution soon!

  2. Good for you! I have noticed some things on my daughter's facebook page at times too. She's 15 (16 next month), and I know she is totally acting tough with her talk, but I still don't like it sometimes.

    We, too, require her to have us as Facebook friends, though I suspect at sometime she'll take her Dad off because he tends to annoy her on there.

    I think you were right to have a talk with your son. I think a lot of it is just playing around, but sometimes they just need a reminder that there are people that may be hurt by what they say or write.

  3. You did the right thing! When it comes to things being written, even if they are in a joking fashion, people won't always see them as that, since writing is much different then face to face, not that spewing hate face to face is ok. If you hadn't sat down with him and explained the situation he'd probably never know, at least until someone read, it, was offended, and let him know. At least he has someone to set him straight and help him out. Really, so many teens today have no idea of the effect their on-line "life" has on their reality, it could cost jobs, friends, almost anything, and kids really need to understand that.

  4. Umm, you're absolutely not being oversensitive! If there's such a thing as FB when Aidan is a teenager, I will certainly require him to be an open book to his dad and I. Like you said, it's not about nitpicking language and stuff that's normal for a teenager. It's about keeping their buns out of hot water and teaching them things they need to learn. Aren't those are two biggest jobs as parents, anyway? :) Good job, Momma!!

  5. It's important to practice being careful online now before a really bad experience happens. Could it affect admission to college or a job? Would someone else be so offended that he/she would retaliate in physical harm or something?

  6. I think you are being a good mother. Kids, even myself at times, say things they regret later. I have several friends on FB who are just out of high school, and have asked them to remove things that might get them in hot water in the future. I am not their parent, but a former teacher, so my requests have to be worded perfectly to keep them from arching their back, but it seems they saw reason and they removed the posts. You have done the right thing, though he probably won't thank you.

  7. Sorry to hear that your son did this. I think you are doing all the right things for this situation. After he turns 18 I don't think there is a whole lot you can do. You can voice your concerns to him and your opinion but i don't think you can force him to change his Facebook page. I would be just as upset if it were my son.

    My 34 year old brother has some stuff on his Facebook page that my parents do not like, but there isn't anything they can do about it.

    Good luck!

  8. I am coming here from a comment that you left on applebottom.

    I am a parent to an 18 year old son. He still lives at home while he is going to college. My rule that was pplied to the internet while he was in junior high and high school is that I had access to all of his email and facebook accounts and could check them at any time. I did not check them often but he knew that I could. I am also a *friend* on FB. Our kids have no idea what repercussion can come from something posted on the net. I am a probation officer--I know that there are awful people on the net.

    LOL live in this house where I pay all the bills...I make the rules.

    I think bad things can be taught but I also believe that they are copied from tv, movies, internet, peers...the list goes on and on.

    I think you did the right thing to talk to him about it. I am sorry that he wrote such things and that he got upset when you enforced the rules. ~grins~ but you ARE the parent and not the friend. You were able to point out to him how he would feel if it was written about his sister. Then he took it down. I think you taught him a good life lesson.

    I have tried to raise my kids to be their own people and not cookie cutter cutouts. But they are still expected to be tolerant and respectful.

    One parent to another...~stands and applaudes you~


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