Back when, I thought that Amanda must be the only kid getting into sh*t like she was. But I think I am wrong in that thinking. When you sleuth around on the internet, you find so much ‘horrible’ stuff that you do wonder about the way young kids are thinking these days. Yes certainly we worry both about the boys and girls but in different ways. The boys ask girls for pictures. The girls send the pictures. Then it gets sent to one, then two, then four, then …. (trust me, it multiplies fast). And it leaves the digital footprint. I often think sometimes kids learn the ‘effects’ too late after the fact. Maybe the time to learn is fright before they get their devices. It would be a good thing for parents to learn what the cyberworld is all about out there. We focus on bullying. That is the big umbrella. We have to look at all the raindrops under that umbrella – cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, mental health, etc. They are all important. They all take time to learn and read about. I know that as working parents, we are all busy. I do truly know that, I am one of them. But it’s like when we were pregnant as a couple expecting our kids. We took the time to read the ‘I am expecting books’. And the ‘what to do if my baby …’ books. We watched videos. We read up on the internet on websites on babies. As our children grow older and more into the e-tech phase of life, we still have to read and learn. Except the subject matter has changed. The subject matter has even gotten scarier. We so want to say to ourselves – it won’t happen at my house. It isn’t going to happen here. My kids are too smart for that. They know better. They talk to me. Or they don’t talk.
As me and many other parents who have either lost their child or who have had to worry about their child for various reasons, we didn’t think it would happen to us either. I have met and talked to so many moms/dads/kids who have gone through traumatizing and life changing events.
During the first month of blogging, I think I wrote about communication. How parents and kids need to talk. I also talked about that in a radio interview back in December. The more I have talked to other parents and kids out there in both my community and the virtual world, the more I feel that is important that kids find someone to talk to that they can trust. Parents need to learn to listen. They also need to learn how to talk with their kids. Many kids are saying that their parents always talk at them, not with them. As parents, we easily fall into that trap. It isn’t our fault. It was probably modelled to us by our parents.
Use ice cream. Use car rides. Use a walk to the park. Embrace the unconditional family time. I didn’t realize how important it was until last spring when Amanda came back to live with me. As I said before, I will value and treasure all the wonderful moments we had together from March 2012 onwards. If she had survived her emotional distresses, we would have been mother/daughter BFF’s + all her friends. :)
I have to go. I have to finish my words for the 1200 students I am speaking in front of on Thursday morning. Valentine’s Day. Pink Day. Pre- pink shirt day.
Hugz … xoxo …. Carol
P.S. What a great response to Bell’s Let’s Talk Day. So many text messages, tweets, etc. And all for mental health initiatives, programs and resources. So wonderful!!!