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To share or not to share?

I've never been one of those parents who jumped on the "privacy" bandwagon screaming about how technology is gathering too much personal data about our children or how we should keep photos of them offline until they're old enough to self-post them. (But you'll notice that you see no/few family pics here. We save the sharing for extended family and friends.) You'll also find no reserved social media spots here for my kids. I'm not preserving their future handles as a placeholder for them one day taking over their individual online personalities. That's a bit too "reserve your cemetery spot" creepy for my tastes.

I have, however, noticed a few parents starting to write some thoughtful lines--not usually a full treatment, just an aside that comes up in a different topic--about how the older their kids get the more they hold back in sharing online. For sanity, security, convenience. I don't think it's a "privacy" thing per se. But the more we share as dads, the more we think carefully about what is fair game and what isn't. We've created (private) places to gripe and complain about the things that aren't polite to gripe and complain about publicly. We more carefully craft the message we want to put out into the world. It's not that most of us aren't open books about family squabbles, potty-training, what have you...it's that the older our kids get the more complicated and personal the subject becomes.

We had a moment this morning that was a timeless, difficult parenting dilemma in our house. But I don't feel much like blogging about it. I own it as a father, sure. But as my kids get older, I find that some issues aren't mine to pass on. They don't belong to me--or if I have any claim, I view them much differently and less passionately than the participant. Things that happen when your children are smaller seem more isolated and arms-length. A fight at the playground over a soccer ball rings differently than deeply-probing questions about life and the world at bedtime. Some topics, relationships, and struggles take on a more mystical, meaningful fog. It's one thing to write a review about your Disney vacation. It's another to discuss intimate health problems at length, dealing with loss and grief, financial problems, etc..

I know a few people covering very personal struggles very well right now. And I don't mean how they're doing psychologically or emotionally. I mean simply how well they're doing at educating their audience about what they're going through. I find sometimes that it helps to work it out in a neutral way. Sometimes it doesn't. My point here is that--intentional or not--blogging isn't always as cathartic as you'd think. Sometimes it's more. Only the writer knows for sure. To those of you I've been reading lately who are putting the difficulties and tribulations out there...great work. I hope you realize how amazing it is to connect with your story in that way. But, to those of you who hold back...I totally get that as well.

So I'm doing a little self-censorship today. It'd make a great post. I'm holding this one tight though. At least a small piece of the parenting journey that stays personal. Share or don't share, we should all be supportive of the unseen fight we're in each day as parents.

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  2. I couldn't agree more. I also find myself checking, and re-checking, my drafts to make sure I'm protecting my wife's perspective. When we don't see a parenting situation the same way, I have to be very careful to not blog about it, or to do so in a way that isn't totally glued to my point of view.

    www.raisingreplacements.com

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