Saturday, April 24, 2010

The objectification of children on blogs...

Was reading a friend's blog this morning about the difficulty of posting about older children on blogs.

I find it increasingly difficult to blog about my children as they become older and when I stop to thing about it, I realise, for me it's about the objectification of children. Quite often I read blog posts by proud parents going on and on and on about how clever their child is. I've even read blog by people who don't believe in praising children, which are one long praise of a child's advanced and eccentric ways.

Parents, almost universally, though I do know a few exceptions, have a deep seeded need to share with others how amazing and wonderous their children are to them.

It's a commonly held belief that through the eyes of a child, a grown (and often jaded) adult can see the world anew, I know I've experienced this first hand.

So, wanting to post about one's children is completely understandable and my own blog is bursting at the seams with such posts - more so a couple of years ago than these days, but never the less...

In the past couple of years though, I'm found it difficult. Partly because I don't want to be perceived as entering into the "my child is more advanced than other children in this or that way" competition that I sense happens a lot (and yes, I'm aware that I may be the only person feeling that other people's kids are pushed as overachievers and I probably just have low self-esteem and therefore am projecting my own competitiveness, but just incase that isn't the case, I'm putting it out there, ok)...

The other issue I have, personally, is that I've been evermore aware of the fact that in the future my children will access these posts about themselves and if they're anything like me - and let's face it, that's not a completely ludicrous idea) they probably won't appreciate my analysis of their behaviours, or my spewing forth any frustrations I've had with them, or even my "cute" stories of things they've done I thought were too cute and funny for words, but they're likely to deem simply embarrassing.

Simply saying, "Last Saturday we went to the park and the boys had fun watching the miniature boats on the lake", well, in my humble opinion, is a pretty boring read - EVEN for family and very close friends...

I really enjoy analysing my children's behaviours, figuring out there whys and wherefores of their behaviours. I pretty much do this with everyone, by the way - yes, even YOU! I think this is what feeds the writer in me. So, when I write about my children, I find it too easy to start trying to decifer them.

My analysis might be spot on - I consider myself very perceptive about human nature - but that's not the point. The point is, one day my children will have free access to the net (they don't have it yet), and one day they WILL google their name, or look up my old blogs, or find a post on my facebook page and they WILL reject at least most, if not all, of my analysis of them.

They're human being, with a strong sense of self, and self-preservation. They are private people (even the exhibitionist among them), and when I analyse them, I objectify them. I turn them in objects, of my possession, which I feel I have a right over.

I would NEVER, NEVER, write a blog about a friend, in which I said, "Yes, so she was so lovely when she picked up that puppy, and she held the puppy so carefully, just like a baby, and I think she'll be a GREAT mother one day because she obviously has strong empathy for living beings"... Not because it's isn't true or it isn't a positive thing to say, but because I would have chosen to analyse her and give her a rating out of 10 (not literally, but I hope you see what I mean here) for empathy... She might then go on to worry what ELSE I'd written about her, or rated her in elsewhere on my blog...

It's hard.

Our children are not our possessions, they are their own people, they have thoughts and feelings independant of us LONG before they can express them in a way that is meaningful to us (from before birth)...

I've taken many liberties with my children through this blog over the years, and it's only now that I'm beginning to realise they might not appreciate my efforts to immortalise their wonderousness (to me)... I'm sure I will slip up in future (probably many times), but I do find myself feeling somewhat restricted in what I feel comfortable sharing about any one of my children these days - even the toddler... As things stand at this point in time, they're still begging me to blog this and that about them, but that is likely to change, and certainly their preference will probably be to perfunctory recordings of their drawings, sporting achievements, and so on, not analysis of their motivations, emotions and thoughts...

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Yup. I'm not comfortable with them seeing themselves through my eyes. I have tended to post stuff about the kids in times of stress (as well as in good), and I just don't think they need to know how I felt that particular day.

My mum once told me she loved me but didn't like me and I've never forgotten it. I would hate them to read something and have it stick with them in a negative way.

Teenagers and the failing parent...