I am not a naive parent!

social media for kids, internet safety, online safety, parenting

Picture: Sinfonia, user of goSupermodel

“Dear watAgame, my youngest daughter was accused of using bad language on Momio – but she doesn’t even know those kind of words!”

Have you ever heard someone say: “Parents are so naive” – and then agreed thinking you are not that kind of parent? Keeping your head cool and being rational might be very easy as long as your kid is behaving well. But what happens when your kid is not tricked into doing something, not falsely accused and not too young to understand, but actually the one being a bad bully? Will you then be as calm as you thought you would be? Even if this does not concern your teenage son, but actually your sweet little girl who is still playing with her dolls?

Or will you, as so many parents before you, search for answers that do not make your child the guilty one? Because she did tell you, several times, that she DID NOT do it and she even cried when you accused her of lying? Maybe your kid acted out because her best friends made her do it? Maybe the internet itself made her do it since there are no boundaries and she was just testing what would happen if she said a swear word? Or maybe she actually did not do it and someone “hacked” into her account?

History repeats itself over and over again. Being a parent is part of repeating the history of being a parent. Thinking that your kid is too young to understand this and that is a part of that story. Because even though you yourself were using bad words at the age of 10, you are very certain that your own 10 year old does not do the same, right? Humans always play different roles in different environments, so even if you think you know your kid 100 % (I mean, you were there when the little being was just an infant) as fast as your kid is in another social environment she will change and play a different role. In that role she is able to do (bad or good) things she will never do in front of you. That is also, even though it can be a scary thought, unavoidable.

Talking about unavoidable facts. Being a human being includes making mistakes and behaving badly. Unavoidably. And no, your kid acting out does not make you a bad parent. But it is a perfect time to be reasonable and calm and take action. So, instead of saying: “She doesn’t even know these kinds of words! She is being falsely accused!” – maybe approach it a little bit more like this: “I did not know she knew those kind of words, I am shocked but I will talk to her about it. I will try to understand and remember how I also acted out and how I did not always behave well when I was a kid. I will have a serious talk with her if she actually did this and after that is done, we will move on and I will not hold this against her.”

About the author:

Martine Østrem, Momio

Martine Østrem worked as a Norwegian Community Manager at Momio from 2013 to 2016. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies and a Master’s Degree in Educational Anthropology. Martine is interested in online communities, minority studies and safety.