Sunday, January 04, 2009

When your kid won't add you as a friend

Parents get cold shoulder on Facebook

Children just don't understand - at least mine don't. They're not thrilled that Mom is on Facebook. They refuse to add me as their friend.

To add insult to injury, I've learned that Facebook has groups for kids like mine. The names suggest cartels: "For the love of God - don't let parents join Facebook" and "Don't let my parents on Facebook!!!" The first group boasts more than 6,200 members. The second group has nearly 3,300 members and counting. A search reveals even more anti-parent groups. Some have names in Spanish and French. It's depressing.

My kids have no intentions of adding Mom as a friend. I won't embarrass myself by begging or yelling. Nor will I offer bribes.

I am thrilled that my stepdaughter, whom I recently contacted via Facebook, responded with a warm message. This college student even sent me her cell phone number and invited me to call. She doesn't realize how much she made my day.

I'm able to get on her site, look at her photos, and see that she's made more than 600 friends. She's attending college in Washington, DC and is interning for a well-known political organization. I smiled as I looked at photos of my stepdaughter with politicians. She's a sociology and pre-law major. I think she's headed to law school.

Maybe my stepdaughter let me into her Facebook life because she doesn't live with me. Or perhaps she was being polite. The reason really doesn't matter. It's just nice to finally be accepted.

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Ian Lidster said...

Or maybe she has just grown up. It was once stated that our kids will never love us as much as we love them, and we should accept it. Maybe that's true.

I remember when my stepdaughter was about 15 and had nothing to do on a Saturday night -- and was feeling intensely sorry for herself -- we told her we were thinking of seeing a movie, and did she want to come with us.

She hesitated, but finally said: "OK, but I don't want to sit with you." And she didn't. She sat way over on the far side of the theatre. She actually told us it would be mortifying to be seen out on a Saturday with her parents.

Andre said...

Deb, please don't accept this as a strike against your children. I don't them from the next person...and it's probably funny (in the "ha ha" sense) that they won't add you as their "friends" on Facebook. But in many other families, there are usually much larger issues; namely that certain content is trying to be kept hidden by children from their parents.

Social networks are often the haven for kids dangerous liasons.

Deb S. said...

Ian and Andre: Actually, I had fun writing this post. It's been a running joke with my kids - especially my teenaged daughter - about Facebook. I even showed her this post after I wrote it. I showed her the many groups populated by kids who didn't want parents on Facebook. She thought it was funny.

There have been times when my daughter hasn't signed out of her Facebook account when I get on our computer. I seize the opportunity and click through her photos.

It's not what you think. My daughter is always taking photos of herself. She's been chronicling her life in pictures ever since she was old enough to hold a camera. However, my teenager seldom shares the photos with her mother. So I copy them from her Facebook page and save them in my photo files. I've told her that I do this, so there is full disclosure. :-)

Ian: When I read about your stepdaughter and the movies, it brought back memories. I laughed. I had an almost identical experience with my daughter. She, too, indicated that she would be mortified if we sat together. LOL She was about your stepdaughter's age. As a mom, I've learned to have a thick skin about these things.

Ian, I think you're right about my stepdaughter growing up. She's been an old soul for as long as I can remember.

Andre: Perhaps you can tell by now that I'm not taking this Facebook thing personally. My daughter is no newbie to social networking. When she was younger, I spoke to her often about being safe on social networking sites. When she opened up her Facebook account, the site was restricted to high school and college kids, and she only "friended" kids that she knew.

Maybe in five years, my kids will add me, but I'm not holding my breath!