** post-edit note: I don’t know who will come back to this post but I’m kicking myself I didn’t ask for what other readers would regret. Such an interesting question. If you’re late here and you want to share some regrets so the rest of us can learn from them, please share away!
Someone asked this question the other day and it was a good one so I thought I’d share:
Hi, Shawni! I have come to love your family from afar and have appreciated your blog posts over the past few years. I admire your positivity and thank you for all the fun ideas and encouragement!
My oldest child is 16 and the one question I’ve asked many of my friends with kids older than mine is: “What regrets do you have with your child/family?”
Several of my friends had kids graduate this year and I wanted to learn from them so I can maximize these final years before my kids begin to leave the nest.
One friend simply said her regret was, “the phone.” Another said she regretted letting sports rule their lives so much and that as parents we need to maintain control and not let coaches and programs dictate our kids’ lives so much.
One thing my husband and I regret is letting our 16-year-old use social media this past school year (Snapchat and Instagram). But thankfully, we had this regret with time to make some changes and so we are backtracking and eliminating these apps (which is a very hard thing to do, but that’s okay). We feel it’s absolutely worth the struggle.
Are there any regrets you’d be willing to share with us? I find this question so impactful and helpful in so many ways as I raise my own 5 children. I love to learn from the moms ahead of me.
Here is my answer:
One regret is that I had this desire for my kids to do the same things I did growing up. They worked so well for me and I just knew the same things would work for my kids. Ha!
But I really can’t say that is a “regret” because we have all learned so much from the process. We are here to guide our kids, that’s what parenthood is, and all we have to base it on is our own experiences. If I had a horrible childhood I would be working diligently to do it all differently. But I’ve loved watching my kids take their own paths and figure out things on their own, some the same as how I pictured, and others different, and it’s so cool as a parent to be able to watch this.
But my biggest “real” regret would be social media. Hands down. It’s a tricky one because Dave and I have tried to find the balance between understanding that an entire social life is based upon social media for this generation. I’m so glad we stuck it out and made Claire wait until her senior year for snapchat, but now I wish I could take it away (well, not now that she’s in college, but I sure hope she can find that balance!). There are all kinds of studies that show how teenager self-esteem plummeted when social media was introduced.
Super interesting right?
I applaud you for being willing to take on the struggle of backtracking and finding the right balance for your 16-year-old in your family.
Everyone will find a different balance, but I think we need to think long and hard about social media!
**added thoughts after my “answer:”
Dave and I just listened to such a great segment about the effects of social media that my brother sent us and I wanted to share:
I think, when we think about social media for our kids, we must think about our own social media as well. If I have to keep reining my kids in, I better be a good example!
I love some quotes from this book I read for a “social media mom intervention” we put together a while back (link below for more about that evening, but here are some of my favorites):
May we rein in social media enough to create good patterns and real relationships, and maybe our kids will too.