April 23, 2014 by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND
I’ve been inconsiderate.
My daughter sometimes protests when I say, “Oh! I have to share that on Facebook!” It’s not every time, for sure, but there have been occasions when she’s asked (actually, demanded) that I not share something on a public forum. When she’s there to rein me in, I back off. But what about those times when I’ve told a story that she’s not aware of?
Last night I was looking at some of my old posts on this site, and I found myself tilting the screen so she wouldn’t see one of the titles. Red flag. Warning bells. Oh my gosh. What have I done??
I’d like to think that I always put my children’s interest first. That I’d never do anything to compromise their integrity or their trust. But I DID write about something that would embarrass her if she knew about it. I did it for (what I thought was) a good reason. But the reason can never be better than supporting my child, whatever other good may come of sharing that information. It wasn’t my story to share. (In case you’re looking, the post in question has been taken down.)
I’m big into sharing. I’ll tell you pretty much anything you want to know about me. I’ll even post it on the Internet for the world to see. It’s my way of processing. And I’m prepared to live with whatever consequences go along with that kind of reckless abandon sharing. (Suffice it to say that people can be unkind at times, but the positives of being uber open outweigh the negatives for me.)
When our children are younger, we talk freely with our friends and relatives about them–the color of their stool (OK, I’m a doctor, so that’s not that crazy), how well they’re sleeping, their troubles at school. At what point is this information not for just anyone to hear?
I’d argue that at no time is it OK to share our children’s stories without their permission. Just as I’d never disrespect a friend this way, neither is it alright for me to do it to the people who mean the most to me in the world.
OK. Lesson learned. Onward.