As my kids have gotten older, they’ve made multiple requests that I refrain from posting photos or stories about them on social media. I try to honor this as much as possible. But I will admit that I feel conflicted. After all, social media is one of the prime ways I connect with fellow parents, friends, and extended family.
Rachel Annunziato, Ph.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Fordham University, counsels parents like me to abide by our children’s requests. However, she recommends beginning a conversation with your teenager so you can understand more specifically how they feel. And perhaps to learn if there are any nuances to their objections.
It may be that your teenager would like the courtesy of being asked before each and every posting. Or maybe they just want to set some rules about what you can (and can’t) post. You can ask, for example, if it’s generally okay for you to post a family picture from a recent trip or to write about an awesome accomplishment, suggests Annunziato.
“If you reach an impasse, then I do think it’s important to respect your teen’s wishes, especially once you have a better sense of their reasoning,” says Annunziato.
If your teenager wants a flat-out ban, it’s natural that you might feel disappointed. You may be concerned about the sense of community you’ll lose when you are no longer able to share certain aspects of your parenting life. But perhaps you can think of this as an opportunity to find other ways to connect with friends and family, proposes Annunziato.
“I also recommend reframing,” Annunziato says. “Yes, there are many who use social media as a forum to share their children. But I think about my online friends, and at least the same amount do not (or do so very sparingly).”