Children, Friends

To friend (verb) or not?

I follow the wonderful That MidLife MaMa Donna on Facebook and she’s ace. In particular, one of her posts caught my eye recently.

WordPress seems to trim the text there, here’s what Donna said:

Find your daughter’s teacher on social media and friend her.

This is the advice I received last night.

Immediately I said No just no.

Look at 5 years old the Jr. CEO talks a mile a minute without taking a breath. I’m sure inside of a week her kindergarten teacher will know my life history plus things she did not want to know AT ALL.

LIKE HER MAMA SLEEPS WITH 2 fans on and the AC because she is old and in menopause.

Look for those of you who want to do that it is your business but I’m not that invested in my daughters teacher like that. I just want to know if she is a great educator and teaching and treating all of the students equally.

Now come close so I can say this

I will not be that parent who sits in judgement of that teacher and her private life, pictures or post. I encourage you to do the same unless they invite you on their social media page & journey. It’s called boundaries.

Full stop

I am with Donna all the way!

Teachers are people too

For goodness sake, teachers are people too, they aren’t like the tooth fairy where their lives begin and end in the classroom. They have private lives and a right for those lives to be private, not intruded on or stalked by the parents of the children they teach. Their school-based relationships are with the children, not their parents. I don’t care what the teachers do in their time off and I don’t need to be showing them what we do away from school either. If they hear about our activities, they should hear our children’s voices, their versions uninfluenced by Facebook posts or Instagram pictures.

I know loads of parents in both the boys’ classes who are friends with school staff while those people are teaching their children and I just find it a bit odd.

I mean, why?

Do they think that being social media “friends” will create a personal connection with the teacher and that will garner special treatment for their kids? Do they think that a few likes and comments, or attempts to establish common ground, will make the teacher give their child extra attention, or less strict limits on behaviour, or more rewards? I seriously hope not because that is just insanely selfish and inconsiderate of the needs of the whole class, not disrespectful to the teachers’ professionalism.

Or maybe they miss their kids during the day so keenly that they want to feel connected to the adults caring for them during school time? I can kind of understand that, but cut the apron strings folks. Your kids are going to grow up, they need and you need to learn to be apart. We should trust the children to be with other people and we should trust our education system to be putting responsible, caring, nurturing adults in charge of our kids – without their parents needing to vet them personally or blur the boundaries of personal and professional roles.

Too many weak connections

I find the idea of having a social media connection with every person you meet or know in the slightest a bit weird. After 15 years in the same company, I’m not Facebook friends with everyone – just the people who have evolved from colleagues to friends. That’s what LinkedIn is for. I don’t follow the kids’ swimming teacher on Insta. I don’t track every TikTok from the mums in their classes (well I don’t have TikTok so that would be hard anyway).

I mean, who has the energy for making sure you like everything everyone does? Or, the emotional strength to cope when all those acquaintances don’t appreciate your content? Or the confidence in our parenting to not compare ourselves with everyone else and not come off as a failure.

Nope, not me. I don’t need those people to know what I’m doing, I don’t need their approval, and they don’t need mine.

Maybe that part of the social media pressure we all feel? Maybe we’re “friends” with too many acquaintances. The group of people that we know everything about, or see every manicured success for, is simply too big. Maybe if we cut down our social communities to just our real (IRL, yeah?) friends, we’d all be much happier, healthier and more adjusted to what is real life and what’s just window dressing. When we see those posts from acquaintances, we miss the context that we have for real friends, so we believe that what seems perfect is real. With our real friends, we know what else is going on with them so we know the difference.

Hmm, this post turned into a bit of a stream of consciousness brain dump. I think I’ll stop there and ask…..

What do you think?

I’m genuinely interested. Am I being unreasonable and judgmental (it’s perfectly possible)? Would you or have you made social media connections with staff at your children’s school? If so, can I ask why? I’m just interested to understand.

Love from Smell xxx

10 thoughts on “To friend (verb) or not?”

  1. Loved this post, especially since I worked as a teacher for over a decade. I hid my socials from my students and their parents. If I spoke to them, it was about their child’s education and discuss what went well and less good. That’s what the relationship needs to be about. “Cut the apron”, was a good expression. Our roles as adults is to make sure children can become independent adults. It’s a bit of a paradox, because the more love you give and the better job you do, the more you cut them loose.

    As with the social media connections, I agree. Each platform has it’s purpose. That’s what we must use them for.

    Liked by 1 person

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